The craft beer revolution continues! Amidst failing global markets, failing stock markets, multi-national conglomerates, and the decimation of the "middle class", craft beer has not only sustained, but actually shown growth, while the corporate monoliths slip, slip, slip...Bravo! Scales are, as always, 1 is awful, 5 is awesome. And a one, and a two, and a here-we-go!
WIDMER BROTHERS - OKTO FESTIVAL ALE (Portland, OR) - 3.5
The dependable Widmer's entry into the Oktoberfest sweepstakes opens with a cloudy amber appearance and attractive spoke-wheel lacing on the glass. Superlative presentation! The aroma is caramel and wheat, and pretty well typical for the style. But the taste, you ask? It's sweet, with the caramel malts up front alongside hints of a nutty, even almost roasty character. Very well-done, and an enjoyable brew.
BOULEVARD BULLY! PORTER (Kansas City, MO) - 4.0
This is a perfectly-executed porter, with a deep black appearance and overwhelming carbonation that leaves some extraordinary retention on the glass. First sniff reveals a nutty, roasty character, with a chocolate or cocoa overtone. Nice! Tastes burnt, with more bittersweet cocoa at the finish that seems to sweeten up as it warms. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this one, and any fans of porters or stouts will be pleased.
SHIPYARD PUMPKINHEAD (Portland, ME) - 2.0
I wanted to like this one, being from Maine and boasting of a spooky-cool Ichabod Crane character on the label. But alas, this clear and golden ale with limited head and no lace proved disappointing. The nose seemed lagery, grainy, and thin...not very pumpkin-like at all. The flavor was also mild and bland, even. Imagine a typical adjunct lager beer with some pumpkin flavoring dropped in, and you have this unimaginative brew. Thanks, but no thanks.
SHOCK TOP PUMPKIN WHEAT (St. Louis, MO) - 1.0
This seasonal macro-posing-as-craft-beer pours a cloudy copper, with an average head and very little lace. Smells of pumpkin, rather than spice. Not bad so far. But the worst is yet to come! The flavor is metallic, with a weird artificial-tasting pumpkin-spice mix. To boot, this one's watery and thin-bodied. There's something missing here. Avoid!