Samuel Adams Octoberfest Review

A Fine Autumn Beer You Can Rely On

Samuel Adams Octoberfest
wickenden/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

A favorite beer for fall, Oktoberfest is a style that many brewers offer every autumn. Among those is the famous Boston brewery of Samuel Adams, whose Octoberfest is one of the most popular seasonal brews in the United States.

How does Sam Adams Octoberfest stack up against other representatives of this autumnal lager? Is it a good place to begin your exploration of the style? On average, it is a good beer.

Though not quite what you get from the original German Oktoberfests, it's a nice introduction. If anything, it is enough to whet your palate for the more traditional brews.

What to Expect From Sam Adams Octoberfest

The brewer claims that Octoberfest is a 'malt lover's dream' and while that may be a bit of a stretch, it is a nice blend of five malts. Not too sweet, the German Noble hops are designed to add a bitter balance to the beer and it does a nice job of that.

The aroma is floral with malt tones and the color is a light copper. The pour produces a decent head though it does dissipate quickly, which can let a few drinkers down.

It's important to remember that Oktoberfest as a style is designed to have autumnal flavors and be released once a year. This does not mean that it has any of the distinct flavors of fall, such as pumpkin - Sam Adams regularly releases pumpkin ales to cover that.

Instead, Octoberfest is a beer that goes good with falling leaves and dropping temperatures without the 'autumn' stereotypes.

Samuel Adams Octoberfest vs Other Oktoberfest Beers

Despite their humble beginnings, Samuel Adams is a big brewery with many different beers to offer. At times, it seems like they try to cover too many styles and never really get them right.

Arguments can be made about the good and bad of this approach, but it obviously works quite well.

As beer aficionados, we must also remember that Sam Adams is really just an introduction to craft beers and traditional beer styles. This is the brand that gets the average beer-drinking Joe or Jane to seek out new beers because Sam Adams is everywhere, it's reasonably priced, and it's familiar.

Is Sam Adams Octoberfest as good as Spaten, the original Oktoberfest beer? It's doubtful that you will find anyone who says it is. Is Sam Adams Octoberfest a good gateway into this German lager style? Absolutely. 

What this Octoberfest has going for it is that it's approachable. It is gentle enough to appeal to a wide range of drinkers and intriguing enough to make most of them wonder what else the style has to offer: "Oh, I enjoyed Sam Adam's Oktoberfest, maybe I'll try this other one."

Recommended: Yes or No?

Judging Sam Adams Octoberfest on its own as a seasonal beer, it's great. When the temperatures begin to drop and the leaves turn, this is a fantastic beer to have in stock. The flavor is everything we enjoy about fall brews and it's convenient to stop by almost any store and grab a six-pack.

This beer pairs well with food and if you examine it deep enough, you may find some pumpkin, squash, and maple syrup flavors inside. It is a nostalgic beer that's great to share with friends on a cool autumn evening. To put it simply, you cannot go wrong with a bottle of Octoberfest.

About Samuel Adams Octoberfest

  • Seasonal Oktoberfest made with five roasted malts and two hops varieties.
  • Available in the autumn of each year.
  • Brewed by Samuel Adams Brewery, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 4.1-5.3% ABV