Epic Brewing Co – Fest Devious

I don’t know that I’ll ever understand the way in which some aspects of the beer industry function.  This year we had the pleasure of finding pumpkin and Oktoberfests first hitting our selves in August.  Many of us were still scared to leave our house due to extreme heat, but our beers were telling us it was time to get out the winter clothes.  Now, it’s getting to be time for turkey dinner followed by pumpkin pie, but we are getting beers on the shelves that are supposed to be consumed as we settle in for a long winter’s nap.  I’m wondering if the beer industry is taking their cues from department stores.  It certainly feels the same.  You walk in looking for a bathing suit at the end of August, but you find Halloween costumes.  Then you go in looking for Halloween costumes, but you find Santa and his reindeer.  It doesn’t seem to make sense when you’re shopping for clothes, but I’m guessing it may have some small reason in the beer industry. Perhaps it has something to do with allowing people to get a little bottle aging done before the holidays.  Maybe I’m just being nice.  Either way, I’ve already procured three bottles of different Christmas and winter ales; however, I once again have no intention of consuming them until the appropriate season.  For now, I must stick with my fall beers.

My local store has been really kicking up the amount of rare bottles they have been getting in lately, so I would say expect to see some interesting beers coming up on the horizon here.  Regardless, I went to the store to pick up my reserved bottles the other week and, since I have no self-control, I had to look around at the other beers available.  As I’ve said on here before, I have a few different beer companies I look at nearly every time I’m there.  The typical beers I make sure to browse are the ones that are good and fairly inexpensive.  Epic Brewing Co’s brews are just the right price and quality.  While I’ve gotten some beers from them that are a bit on the bigger and more expensive side, I’m quite happy that you can find some inexpensive good beers.

I saw this beer hit the email list the other week and, although I thought about putting it on hold on the spot, I ultimately decided to let it go by without buying it.  A few weeks later I saw it on the shelf for under $5, so I knew I had to buy it.  Epic let their customers know on their site that this is their 5th time through brewing their Marzen.  Stating they got some flavors of caramel, roasted nuts and a tiny bit of pine bark, I was quite excited to get into my second Marzen review of the season.

This one pours out a very nice coppery reddish color.  There is a light tan off white head that develops on top.  Since there isn’t a lot of head development on top, I’m not too surprised to see that there isn’t a whole lot of lacing on the side.  Thankfully you do get plenty of sticky residue on the side of the glass to make up for the lack of lacing.  The beer isn’t too dark, so it seems to have some fairly good clarity to it, and you can’t see any visible carbonation in the glass at all.

The nice sweet malts are certainly prevalent on the nose.  There is some of that bready lager yeast aroma as well.  The site states that they lagered the beer for 21 days and, although I’ve never made my own lager, I’m not shocked you can smell a little yeast output after that long fermenting.  The beer is extremely well-balanced.  There is some light hop aroma with light pine notes.  Accompanying the pine and sweet malts is some fall caramel and light apple aroma as well.  Overall it has a really fresh aroma.

The first sip reveals that sweet malty flavor that is so good in fall.  The malts have some nice caramel and fall hints.  This malty introduction continues throughout most of the beginning portion of the flavor profile.  That bready lager taste comes in right at the middle of beer.  Following the yeast the hops start to really kick up.  The hops don’t come on too strong and piney, but you do get some of that slight pine flavor.  The hops give way to some light apple and sweet caramel.  Finally, the remaining hops help to clean out the fairly big malts for a clean finish.

The mouthfeel is really quite refreshing from start to finish.  I like the slightly bigger use of hops in this one to help balance out what can sometimes be a slightly too malty style of beer.  The carbonation carries on throughout the entire brew, and you get no real big syrup anywhere in the mix.  The big carbonation and hops help keep this malty brew quite fresh.

We’re starting to see Oktoberfests disappear from our shelves, so if you happen to see some still on the shelf, I would certainly pick them up.  This is a great one for under $5, which I think makes it a top-notch beer for sure.  It’s really well-balanced and has some great flavors.  I previously reviewed a beer from Avery that is an Imperial Oktoberfest.  It’s hard to compare the two; however, this makes a really good everyday Marzen where as the Kaiser makes a better special occasion fall beer.  I’d grab one of each.  Oh I did!

Teacher Grade: A

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