"The only true craft beers imported from Germany come from the tiny Mahr’s brewery in Bamberg," says the Shelton Brothers website. If it's true that it's a bit late to be drinking festbiers, it's also true that this isn't an ordinary festbier.
This offering comes in one of those elaborately capped 500 ml bottles and gives a good pop when opened. It's translucent but very dark brown, the darkest of any Oktoberfest lager, perhaps. So is this a schwarbier? Well, it doesn't have the same level of porter-like roasty coffee or chocolate. That's there in smaller doses. The hops are noticeable, adding an earthiness and slight bitterness. Overall, it's pretty balanced between malt and hops, and finishes fairly dry and crisp. The body is a tad too light I think, and there's fairly active carbonation (thus, the initial loud pop).
At 4.9% ABV, it would be very drinkable but for the price ($4+). No doubt, this would be better in Franconia, and maybe even a little fresher in the bottle a few months ago. As a festbier, it's an interesting change of pace, but no law says you can't drink the tastier and more affordbale Sam Adams Black Lager or a nice dunkel for Oktoberfest. Still, this is good enough that I'll want to try others from the brewery.