BISCUIT AND CARAMEL clamor for attention at the forefront of this Oktoberfest lager and then dissipate rather unevenly into a vaguely lingering finish with a hint of alcohol. It’s hard to tell where the hops fit in, but there is a little earthiness that we can confidently attribute to traditional German cultivars—Big Bay consistently sources noble hops for almost all of their beers. Overall Üfer seems a little stuck between styles, darker than average in color and not tidy in the finish like the lager that it is, but neither robustly flavored.
From a comparative standpoint, its forward girth may at least be useful in demonstrating the variety of US brewers’ Märzen interpretations. For instance, compare it to Goose Island’s (fuller, spicy, and nutty), Left Hand’s (back-loaded, estery, a bit hot), or Great Lakes (balanced, a bit bready, steady-on, and the best of the bunch). And perhaps some will enjoy the gummy (or chewy) mouthfeel, which contrasts with the increasingly light-bodied German varieties. In any event, Üfer is a brand-new release from this still young brewery, so cutting it some slack is only fair. But German stock is strong in Milwaukee, and that slack may not last long.
Served: 12 oz bottle