CBH Oktoberfest
1 draught pint, $3.75, 5.6% ABV

Purchased at Cambridge House Brew Pub, Granby

I’m intrigued by Oct/Oktoberfest beers. I wonder how much psychology goes into their popularity. As a stand alone beer, most Octobers are simply lagers aged a little longer than usual and often with a bit more character to them. They aren’t beers to have countdown calendars for or parties to celebr— oh wait, that’s actually exactly what Octobers are all about.

Never mind.

But back to my original point; and that is that if Octobers were called Marzens (which is all they are, sort of) and sold year round, would people place such a high value on them? I don’t know. But now that some horrible brewer invented Pumpkin beers (only slightly better than pumpkin coffee), we can study the phenomenom from the get-go.

Of course, limited release anything creates a buzz and makes people seek out the item. We’ve seen this everywhere from KFC Double Downs to McDonalds McRibs to Banksy appearances. It just becomes a “thing.”

So what’s the “thing” about CBH Oktoberfest?

CBH says:

Our traditional marzen lager. This lager’s clean, malty backbone is the perfect way to welcome autumn’s embrace. Prost!

Hm. That doesn’t really sound like a “thing.” For beer geeks (which I am not), maybe. I don’t even know what I’m talking about at this point.

And it’s fine to admit that. I honestly think one of the main reasons CTMQ has been rewarding for me and for readers is because of my ignorance. I’m not from Connecticut, I’m not an art historian or a professional writer or a home brewer. BUT, I like to learn stuff and I like to encourage others to learn. I know my beer “reviews” are somewhat useless, but I hope they are sometimes entertaining to read.

And I know I make mistakes. I have no editor and really no editing process. I encourage corrections and try to make them any time they are warranted. Where am I going with this? Straight to something that has been driving me crazy this week.

There are insipid bloggers everywhere and they’re not going away. One in particular that I’ve developed an unhealthy obsession with – for all the wrong reasons – recently attended a beer festival. Note: this blogger hates beer and has made that very clear over the life of the blog. But hey, the tickets were free and that’s all that matters.

Anyway, said blogger wrote, “The Saison is a Belgian-style farmhouse ale and reminded me of a barleywine. Excellent subtle caramel flavor that impressed me with its complexity!” (Exclamation points are used more often than any other punctuation symbol. Like I said, insipid.)

Here is Vidal Saison with some of his caramel flavor showing.

Fine, a beer newbie made an absolutely ridiculous comparison. It happens and I’m sure I have similarly silly things on CTMQ. But here’s the rub: A commenter pointed out that she must be mistaken and as one who is learning about beer, saisons and barleywines are wholly different beasts. It’s just a fact.

But apparently that doesn’t matter, as the blogger responded, “I’m not gonna change what I tasted based on what a saison “should” taste like.”

The commenter politely explained that something was deeply amiss and explained again that the two styles are hugely divergent. Blogger responded, “I’m not aspiring to be some sort of big food blogger and my blog is my collection of opinions on my experiences. That collection won’t always fit the mold and that’s why it’s great that I have this platform to share my thoughts. If to “be a food blogger” I had to shape my experiences to a mold, that’d suck.”

That’s a lot to absorb, I know. Ignoring the daft “not aspiring to be a food blogger” bit, which is contrary to everything I’ve read there, this makes no sense. Being ignorant and contrarian to facts and reality is not “cute” or original, it’s just silly. My guess is that the saison = caramelly barleywine came from a misheard conversation, some careless plagiarism, or better yet, someone just putting the blogger on. Which would be hilarious.

The CBH Oktoberfest is really quite good. And guess what? It actually DID have a caramel character and I really truly actually honestly for realsie DID taste it. The CBH Oktober is smooth and well balanced and is brewed in the tradition of the style, as the malts came through well ahead of any hops. In fact, it’s one of the best Oktobers I’ve ever had.

So there.

Overall Rating: A
Rating vs. Similar style: A

Beer Advocate’s Reviews of the Oktober
Cambridge House Brew Pub
Back to CTMQ’s Reviews of Cambridge House Brew Pub beers
Back to CTMQ’s Connecticut Beer Page
Back to CT Breweries page

4 responses to “Oktoberfest”

  1. TC says:

    Well done! I want to begin a comment thread full of praise and emojis. You deserve the praise, but I don’t know how to make emojis on a computer (aside from copying and pasting from some insipid blogger’s comments section, but that would be emoji-plagiarizing).

  2. Emily says:

    Love this post. Love everything about it.

  3. LG says:

    Vidal Saison!!!

  4. Cindy says:

    Next time you’re up in this neck of the woods I will give you beer for free if you tell me which food blogger you’re talking about.

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