Oktoberfest is nigh, so it seems appropriate to have something big and German this week. Beer styles such as marzen, festbier and festbock were designed specifically for Oktoberfest and are basically different ways of describing essentially the same beer: a darker, maltier and boozier variant of the Munich helles lager, designed to get you super wasted while singing songs and eating bratwurst. You see, German engineering is all about efficiency, and these smooth, malty lagers — especially when imbibed from one-litre steins — will get you drunk in a very efficient manner. It’s science!
Persephone and Steel & Oak — two breweries that love their lagers — teamed up to brew this festbock and put their own West Coast spin on the traditional German style. In addition to using B.C. Gambrinus malt, it was aged on toasted Douglas fir chips imparting a slightly woody almost citrus character. Cracker and toffee notes dominate with low hop bitterness and an off-dry finish.
Unlike traditional German festbock, Holzhausen is amber in colour and lighter in malt character. The fine print on the label describes it as a maibock/hellesbock, which seems more accurate.
At 8.0 per cent ABV, Holzhausen stays true to the German tradition of packing a lot of booze into a smooth drinkable lager, so hang on to your lederhosen (or dirndl).
Holzhausen Festbock by Persephone Brewing (collab w/ Steel & Oak)
8.0 per cent ABV • 15 IBU • 650 mL bottles
Appearance: Translucent amber with a sturdy white head.
Aroma: Cracker, grain, caramel.
Flavour: Cracker, toffee, cereal, citrus, toasted barley, low hop bitterness.
Body/Finish: Medium bodied with an off-dry, slightly tannic finish.
Pairs with: Roasted pork hock, salted pretzels, slurred singing and vomit-stained lederhosen (or dirndl).
• The Fall 2019 issue of The Growler is out now! You can find B.C.’s favourite craft beer guide at your local brewery, select private liquor stores, and on newsstands across the province.