I have to respect an ale…er, lager factory like Wisconsin’s Capital Brewery. Their persona, their brewery’s understanding of self, is so strong and well-developed. They have no real interest in crazy American beer. They just love German and German-y classics, and that’s what they do, and they do them well.
This is a brewery that has made TWELVE DIFFERENT BOCKS, most of them being brewed again year after year. They’ve also made nine other German-style lagers. In their entire history, they have produced SIX ALES. You’d be hard-pressed to find many other breweries making as many different beers as they are, with such a high percentage all being German lagers. They’re true specialists.
That specialism is one of the reasons I get excited each year when we move into September and October, because that’s when Capital really starts to shine with beers like this.
NOTES: 12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass, which just felt more appropriate than my tulip.
APPEARANCE: Very light copper, like a shiny penny. Minimal head that dissipates right away.
ABV: 5.5%, oktoberfest/marzen lager
AROMA: Light honeyed sweetness, fresh-baked bread, enticing as hell.
TASTE: Doughy, almost like sourdough with a little wildflower honey. Minimal herbal hops. A character I can only describe as “grainy” on the back end that reminds me of the taste of chewing on a kernel of malted barley while brewing. Sweetness and toasted characteristics meet right in the middle.
MOUTHFEEL: Light and with decent carbonation, although no head retention.
DRINKABILITY: Extremely high. This is beer for drinking by the liter, not by the pint.
OVERALL: Of all beers on the “lower flavor” end of the spectrum, marzen and vienna lagers are among my favorites. Despite a superficial resemblance to other styles like say, an amber ale, these beers excite me in ways a boring amber never seems to. The crisp lager character, noble hops and purity of malt flavors are the draw for me. I drink a lot of Oktoberfest brews around this time of year, and although Capital’s is by no means the most strongly flavored of those brews, it’s impeccably balanced and I think it’s ultimately one of the very best. Capital just knows how to do American-made German beer. I give this one 4 hops…I’m unable to deny it that.