Eight Degrees are one of my favourite craft breweries these days, and I still consider Howling Gale Ale to be my go-to pint on a night out. It's one of the best things about craft beer; the knowledge that you're enjoying a product of your home county, and not only that, but one that costs less than and far exceeds the quality of one of the international lager brands you'll find occupying most of the country's taps. As such, I was very excited to hear of a new limited edition brew from the Mitchelstown-based brewery in the form of a Märzen style lager. It's called Ochtoberfest, though I can't help but pronounce it Ochtoberfesht. Sure you know yourself.
Eight Degrees Ochtoberfest pours a surprisingly dark amber, with a small off-white head and nice clarity. At first the aroma is of fresh citric and floral hops, with a lovely toast and biscuit malt base underneath. As the beer warms up ever so slightly, the aroma is much more about deep toffee and sweet caramel malts. It smells great, and promises a good lager. This promise is delivered on the first tasting of the beer. Woody toffee malts seem to dominate at the very beginning, but in the middle and finish they take a back seat to the hops that are more herbal than fruity, and provide a light bitterness. The finish is a nice bitter kick, with a golden syrup sweetness lingering in the aftertaste. Wheat is listed among the ingredients, and you can feel it in the full, wholesome body.
I love beers like this, where you really feel like you're tasting the ingredients. Lovely stuff, I'll be picking up a few more bottles of this appropriately Autumnal beer.