ChadPolenz (1802) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - MAY 21, 2010
UPDATED: JUN 16, 2010 Rogue Ales out of Newport, Oregon is one of the most popular American craft breweries as they are known for making extremely robust beers of various styles. However, almost everything they make is an ale and many of them are known for their hop levels, so how would a beer that’s not only a lager but a MALTY lager turn out? Maierfest Lager is Rogue’s version of an Oktoberfest bier and it’s quite possibly the best American brew of the style I’ve ever had.troopie (2322) - Munchen an der Willamette, Oregon, USA - AUG 29, 2010
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
I poured a 22oz bomber into a 1-liter mug. Right away this beer has the appearance of a high-quality lager. It’s not yellow, it’s orange/copper with little effervescence. It generates a large frothy white head which never completely dissipates and leaves some lacing on the glass.
Marzens tend to be rather mild in the nose, and this beer is too. There’s some candy-like sweetness and a general maltiness, but these scents don’t jump out at you. It definitely doesn’t smell like a typical lager, and that’s quite impressive.
According to Rogue’s website, brewmaster John Maier says this beer was brewed in response to a trend of Oktoberfest biers losing their character to the point of being more like a helles than a marzen. While I’ve never been a big fan of Oktoberfest biers (German, American or otherwise), it was so refreshing for me to drink a beer of the style and genuinely feel impressed.
For a lager, this is a hefty brew. It’s only medium-bodied, but it’s got a lot of weight to throw around. The front end is has prominent notes of caramel and toffee sweetness. It’s akin to the flavors some of the higher-end German marzens have, but doesn’t have a crisp body like many American brews of the style. The finish is equally sweet with a confectionary taste leaving a pleasant, but brief, aftertaste.
My only beef with this beer is that it’s a little too mild. I really enjoyed those caramel and toffee notes, but they were entirely too suppressed. I noticed the beer actually seemed to become more mild as I drank on with an ever-so-slight sour aftertaste. I suppose I can give it the benefit of the doubt since beers of the Oktoberfest style aren’t intended to be an explosion of flavor.
Even though the taste is a bit dialed-down compared to other beers from this brewery, I found Maierfest Lager to be extremely drinkable. The mouthfeel is soft, thick, and a tad bit sticky. It goes down extremely smooth, making it a very drinker-friendly beer.
As much I love Rogue’s beers, it’s rare I would describe anything they make as sessionable. And while Maierfest Lager has a rather mild palate, the fact remains it’s still a hefty brew. Rogue never publishes their alcohol content but several beer websites estimate it’s 5.6% ABV (although I think it might be a touch higher). After drinking one bomber of this beer I could feel the weight bearing down on me, although the alcohol itself was easily tolerable. This beer would pair well with brats or other Oktoberfest-type foods, but I doubt many drinkers would want to drink more than one bomber of it at a time (it’s only available in 22oz bombers).
While not the greatest beer in the world, Rogue Maierfest Lager is one of those impressive beers you have to admire for what it does under the conditions. I’ll bet Rogue could actually make this beer even more robust like many of the great beers in their lineup, but I’ll be happy to settle for a beer that’s just plain good and notable.
NOTE: Watch the video version of this review at:
Draught. Poured red-honey gold with thick white head. Much lacing. Maltish aroma with a nice hoppy edge. Full bodied flavour, Malt and honey malt. Hop finish. Well worth a second look paco (576) - Regina, Saskatchewan, CANADA - SEP 4, 2010
Bottle. Sweet yet subtle aroma. Lots of bread like malts and caramel. Taste is similar to aroma. Lots fresh bakery malts, some caramel, some grassy notes, a bit of hops as well to balance this out nicely. Really not overly impressive but a very solid brew that I can enjoy over and over. topherh (1928) - Kearney, Missouri, USA - APR 26, 2011
Pours a slightly hazy golden with a white head. Aroma is sweet bready malt. Flavor is sweet malt, caramel, wet grain, light hoppy bitterness. halfonit (1356) - Fall River, Massachusetts, USA - OCT 30, 2011
On tap at Battleship. Pours a deep golden color. Aroma is of wheat, (typical american marzen faire), malts, and a little orange zest. Flavor is a little sweeter than I was expecting. Has some malts, wheat, yeast, and something sweet that I just can’t put my finger on. Maybe some prunes. Overall this wasn’t too bad of a brew.
Onenote81 (1002) - Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA - APR 30, 2012
Originally reviewed: 11/2/11. A friend brought this over to the house last weekend for our annual pumpkin-carving-beer-tasting party. Split and poured into a mug.
This beer pours a dark amber/orange with a thick bone-white head on top. A fair amount of lace left behind after each sip. The nose is sweet with caramel, pale fruits, and faint floral tones. Good body as the carbonation bulks this up a bit. Moderate chew to it. Sweet caramel malty flavors start things out, but then a refreshing hoppy bite closes it out. I like that interplay with the hops. Nice refreshing Marzen that I will gladly have again. Thanks, Jared! jhumphries69 (1034) - Tyrone, Georgia, USA - SEP 7, 2009
22oz bomber. Pours a deep, brilliant orangey gold with a medium-sized white head. The aroma is sweet and full of bready, toasty munich malts. The flavor follows suit - toasty munich malts with a nice richness and soft toffee malt sweetness. The finish is nice and balanced with spicy hops. The mouthfeel is medium-full in body with a decent level of carbonation. Overall, a very drinkable Oktoberfest beer. dchmela (3062) - Orlando, Florida, USA - SEP 8, 2009
Pours dark gold with a thick white head. Light hopped, big malt aroma. Nice complex malt taste with a light touch of noble hops. redlight (2318) - Orlando, Florida, USA - SEP 14, 2009
22 oz bottle. Honey malts, fresh bread, malty with grassy resiny hops. Pours a golden amber with a thin white head. Very nice marzen, caramel malts, honey, nice mouthfeel, good body for a marzen, nice grassy earthy hop flavors. Not bad at all. TheSponge (342) - Lynnwood, Washington, USA - NOV 8, 2009
22 oz. bottle purchased at Central Market in Mill Creek, WA. Pours a golden orange color with an off-white head. Aroma: Sweet....like caramel and honey. Flavor: Also sweet, with hints of honey and hay....very mild hops.