If you like Summit and want to try their beers, there is no better place than the Groveland Tap, which has THE distinction of carrying EVERY Summit product! So my friend Carol and I visited the Groveland for a pint of Summit Oktoberfest on September 29th, the eve of the end of Oktober.
At the outset, you have to understand that Marzen or Oktoberfest is probably my favorite kind of beer. This style of beer gets it’s unique flavor from decoction – a special, laborious brewing process that sqeaks every bit of malt sugar out of the barley. The decoction process also creates melonoidins – complex roasted sugars that impart that thick malty taste to your Oktoberfest. Decocted beers takes a long time and a lot of work to produce, so very few brewers use this process, and instead use meloniodin malts instead – and this is the case for Summit’s Oktoberfest.
This is a malty slightly sweet beer that does finish dry, with a clean crisp lager finish. It does have a little malt complexity, but not the full-tilt over-the-top feel of the real thing. I’m very busy doing research all over this town to find the BEST Minnesota Marzen-Oktoberfestbeer, I just hope that this is NOT it.
Don’t get me wrong here, I LOVE a number of Summit beers, especially the Oatmeal stout, Great Northern Porter and the ESB (English Special Bitter). But the Oktoberfest is just not that caliber.