Being completely immersed in the American craft beer culture I feel I have a pretty wide range of styles that I enjoy on a regular basis. The hours I spend each month pursuing the aisles of various bottle shops I am inundated with an endless sea of over hopped IPAs, barrel-aged stouts and random adjunct filled concoctions, but the one section that I feel doesn’t get the traffic it deserves is the German imports row. Styles like weizenbock, doppelbock and marzen tend to sit on the shelves unjustly collecting dust.1 Many of these styles have been brewed for over 500 years and my local shelves have an abundance excellent classic options as well as newer American takes on the styles.

Westbrook Marzenbier bottle

Today I have one of those newer American takes on the classic marina, or more commonly known as Oktoberfest,  style from Westbrook brewing in Mount Pleasant, S.C. Westbrook has become very well known in the beer nerd circles thanks to releases like Mexican Cake and its Gose and I am excited to try the brewery’s take on the fall style.

The bottle opens with a slight his and the beer pours a beautiful bright copper color with a khaki-colored head. The beer has a very clean bouquet with a sweet caramel like malty sweetness, lightly toasted grains and slight nutty aroma. There is very little noticeable hop character but some of that may be due to the bottle being almost fours months old. It is a very inviting aroma that fits right in line with what I would expect from the style.

A sip of the beer brings flavors that follow the nose pretty closely. A bit sweeter than I would have expected with the caramel like flavors right off the bat. I get some cracker and lightly toasted grains along with a doughy bread character. I also get a noticeable German lager yeast profile that comes with a touch of a spicy phenol that lingers into the finish. The beer is very easy to drink and I could easily see myself putting down a few steins in a sitting. I finished the 22-ounce bomber with ease and found myself wanting more once the bottle was empty.

Westbrook Marzenbier

One thing that caught me a bit off guard about the bottle was that the first two pours were crystal clear while the final 7 or 8 ounces were compete milky yeast that resembled nothing of the first two servings. I would expect some type of yeast sediment in a bottle conditioned beer but this was way more than normal. As a home brewer my immediate thought was that this was a pitchable amount of yeast if I wanted to make a 5 gallon batch of this beer. It was still delicious but just surprisingly murky.

Westbrook Märzenbier
BREWERY: Westbrook Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Mount Pleasant, S.C.
STYLE: Marzen
ABV: 6 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: $5.99
RELEASE DATE: 2011
AVAILABLE IN: 22 oz bottle
BEERS POURED: One
Overall, I really enjoyed Westbrook Märzenbier and I could easily put down multiple bottles the fact that I wanted more after polishing off a 22-ounce bottle by myself is definitely a sign of a good beer. I must admit that marzen is not one of my go to styles but over the years I have had the chance to try many fine examples. While I would not put this on the top tier of the marzens I have encountered I am definitely glad I was able to try it and would recommend picking up a bottle or two to anyone with a fondness for meltier German beers.
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