11 September 2008

Dundee Oktoberfest (NY)

A couple of months ago, The Session topic was anti-seasonal beers. I didn't participate because I don't often drink out of season. Maybe I should have written about that. I try to eat seasonally as well, but the reasons are different. With beer, a local stout in summer is more environmentally friendly and fresher than a German hefewiezen, but I'd still rather drink the latter. Some of this is due to weather, but even then, I could just sit inside turn on the air conditioning. Ultimately, I just like the idea of drinking different styles during different times of year. It's a bit like sports. In early August, I'm sickened at the sight of pre-season football on TV. Once September hits, however, I'm ready to go. So it goes with beer. Dundee Oktoberfest is my first autumn beer of 2008.

JW Dundee's Honey Brown Lager may have saved Genesee Brewing Co. in the 1990s. Now the brewery is named High Falls, the sub-brand has dropped JW and 's, and the bottle label has been smartly redesigned.

The Oktoberfest pours clear copper which the label brings out as a matching orange. "Be full-bodied," the neck label says, but this is quite light. It's also highly fizzy, which gets in the way of the flavor. It's mildly sweet with a slight twangy quality coming through at the end. Not a poor tasting beer, but not satisfying (maybe you have to drink 3 or 4). I kept trying to suck more flavor out of it.

I'd guess the rollout of the new Dundee has bumped sales temporarily. Will it last? I wish them the best, but it's tough now that the really big boys are trying to enter the market as well. Dundee is competing with Saranac, not with Ommegang, so they don't need to be world class in quality. Instead, they need good distribution and marketing.


Chipper Dave said...

I like how some breweries shake things up every once in a while and come out with whole new labeling. In this case, dropping the J.W. from the name and just having Dundee was a smart move. The new packaging is more appealing too I feel. That looks like a good brew. I'll have to look for it.

Buttle said...

"J. W. Dundee" sounds very old-fashioned to me, like a guy with a handle bar moustache who runs the local apothecary. I think the risk is that their popular Honey Brown Lager will be hurt by the re-packaging. But it's not selling as much as it used to, so they're hoping their other beers benefit more than Honey Brown might lose.

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