3.48/5 rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25
On-draught at Great Lakes' pub at Cleveland airport:
A: spot-on for the style, with an Off-white frothy head of 2 minute retention. Leaves an even ring of lacing as it recedes.
Body is a clear gold of stellar vibrance...has quite a shine to it. Clean, with no sediment or yeast visible.
Ample bubbles indicate high carbonation. Will it come off biting?
Sm: Lovely, and en pointe given the style. Aromatic Munich malts, hints of Graham cracker and lightly toasted golden malts, complementary floral hop character. To style, hop intensity is quite subdued, letting the malts take the spotlight. Yeast attenuation seems perfect; this isn't too sweet by any means.
Aromatic intensity is average. Suggests a balanced traditional Marzen with pleasant nuance. I can't wait to try it.
T & Mf: Though served entirely too cold (airport bar syndrome, but then Great Lakes does run it...), the Munich malts shine, set off by Subtle Graham crackery malts and downplayed floral (and perhaps grassy) hop character.
Texture-wise, it's less impressive. The buying crisp overcarbonation I feared is rampant, severely reducing drinkability - which is a kiss of death in a style of beer intended to be quaffedin bierkrugs by the litre. That said, otherwise it's about right. Smoothness and wetness keep it refreshing. It's got a but too much body for a September sipper, but it's forgivable, and I find it worth it as it supports and emphasizes the flavours.
Getting back to the taste, it's balanced - sure. Not too sweet, not overhopped like so many American stabs at the style. Effective as it is, depth of flavour could be improved.
O: Captures the Munich malt focus of a Marzen quite well, but there's a bit of trouble in the texture. It's not the insanely drinkable festbier many might hope for, but the competency behind this is obvious, and Great Lakes has rightly erred toward tradition. It's not going to edge out offerings from Ayinger et al for a spot on rotation in your fridge, but it's yet another worthwhile lager from one of the great unsung (undersing?) breweries in the states.
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