02 October 2007

Saranac Octoberfest Lager (NY)

To me, there's something compelling about the stories of mid-tier and regional American beer brands: Piels, Hamm's, Schaefer, etc. These unpretentious brewers couldn't keep up with the big boys in our globalized, ad-driven marketplace, but were also ill-suited to meet the needs of the beer connoisseurs. Some went bankrupt, some were bought out, some survived through contract brewing or new products.

Matt Brewing Company, in response to declining sales of both Matt's and Utica Club, boldly gambled its future on Saranac, and won. I don't think anyone considers Saranac a top-drawer craft brewery, but they are decent beers, affordable and available.

Saranac Octoberfest has the same light blue and white diamond theme as found on Victory's sleeve (Google shows me this is the Bavarian flag). The beer pours golden-amber with a nice beige-tinged head. Not a big aroma, but what's there is predictable for the style. The taste, however, caught me by suprise. I didn't get much caramel or toastiness out of it. Instead, it's grainy and fairly bitter, with a pop of citrus and spritz of mineral water. This isn't a bad lager (though not a really good one either), but to me, it just doesn't fit the season.

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