German Export

Brewery and Country of Origin: Victory Brewing Company of 420 Acorn Lane, Downingtown, PA, 19335, USA

Date Reviewed: 10-22-12

For over 200 years (since 1810), the City of Munich in Bavaria, Germany, has hosted the world's largest party... we mean fair, also known as Oktoberfest. At the beginning of fall each year, over 6.5 million people attend this 16-18 day long festival celebrating more than just Munchner brews, between late September and early October. Originally celebrating the royal wedding between King Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, the festival has evolved into a widely recognized beer and agricultural festival which celebrates the culture and lifestyle of Bavaria. Though the price for a stein of beer has gone up dramatically in recent years, the beer at the festival tents continues to sell in record volumes. In 2010, 7.1 million liters of beer was sold to 6.4 million visitors. As far as the beer itself goes, official Marzen/Oktoberfest beer (of the Lager family) has to be brewed within the city limits of Munich, and must follow the Reinheitsgebot purity law. Typical bavarian music and food (along with other alcoholic beverages other than beer) are available for people to enjoy. The end of harvest beer style has become so popular that it has been replicated in great numbers around the world, most notably in The United States, where the lager is by far the most popular style produced and consumed. Available from August to October, the Festbier by Victory uses German malt and hops, and though you won't find it within thousands of miles of Munich, it does mean that you can enjoy some of the Oktoberfest experience without getting hot cheese soup spilled on you.
Date Sampled: 9-15-12 - At: Lord Hobo, 92 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA
Beer Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest
Alcohol by Volume: 5.60%
Serving Type: Keg, 500ml Mug
Rating: 3.87


The Festbier pours somewhat smooth with very low carbonation action, giving this solid beer a very thin and weak foam head. No lacing occurs on the glass. This is a clear beer with a decent amount of shine and a rich, dark amber color. This beer's color is a result of the traditional use of caramel roasted malt.


As is normal with caramel malt heavy Oktoberfests, this beer gives off a very sweet, fairly prominent caramel and medium roasted malt aroma with very little hoppy character to speak of. The aroma also gives off a bit of nuttiness, as well as some biscuity or bread like notes.


This is a medium light bodied brew with a lower viscosity, a low level of carbonation, and a smoother feel overall. There is a moderate amount of dryness at the finish with very little lingering. This beer is fairly easy to drink with a moderate light weight. There is some definite bitterness in the finish as well.


The flavor is dominated by a rich, roasted sweet malty profile with a well balaced mixture of both sweetness and bitterness through the entirety of the flavor experience. This beer is sweeter at the beginning, emphasizing the use of lighter German malt, mixing with hops in the middle of the tounge, and finishing with a generally hops prominent, short lingering aftertaste.

Our Take

Sadly, for those of you who were looking forward to heading to Bavaria for the festival this year, Oktoberfest is over, which means you'll have to wait until fall 2013. Fear not though, because there is still a short window of opportunity to get your hands on a real American alternative. The Festbier has all of the great malty qualities of the authentic brews without the authentic import price. A rich nutty aroma welcomes the beer drinker to satisfy sensual curiosity with an easily taken substantial gulp of what genuinely is a great attempt at recreating the local Munchner offering. This is a medium weighted beverage which is relatively easy to drink, making it a bit precarious for the over eager drinker, especially when served in large mugs. We're not going to say that this is as good as getting a real Marzen in a German beer tent with kasespatzle and wurst. We don't even know whether this beer abides by the Reinheitsgebot. What we can say though, is that this is a beer which can be looked at like an valuable souvenir. A little piece of local culture often made in some foreign country, made to represent some country or travel experience where it is sold in (manufacturing job outsourcing debates aside). Sure, we can't formally promise you that you'd like this as much as a trip to Munich but at the least, this is a very good beer. We'd recommend you give it a whirl before you go off and spend $3000 on a round trip Lufthansa flight... just for good measure (and we know how the Germans like that attitude).