Bready malt wafts to those nose when you pop the top on this seasonal classic. It's followed by a delicious taste that perfectly suits the Marzen style beer. It's refreshingly light but strong. That should be an oxymoron, but it really works. I appreciate the lack of hoppiness (not always, but this time I definitely don't miss the overt bitterness that hops bring).
The Spaten website lists this as the first Oktoberfest beer, and while I've no idea if that's true, but I'm in love with it and would happily enjoy it all year round. However, ignore their website's claim that says this is golden -- it's pure brown. A nice chocolate/caramel brown that definitely hints at the richness and nuances of the flavor it holds.
Bread and yeast are at the forefront, along with a sweet malt. I detect some faint spices and a hint of pepper. I drank it ice cold on an ice cold night, which kept the head to a minimum and pretty much killed the lace. At a warmer temp it reveals more spices, but oddly enough, that's not what I wanted tonight. Tonight, it's time for a cheesy holiday movie and a sweet Marzen.
The guys at Beer Advocate really don't like this, but that's not surprising since they seem to be mostly hops whores over there -- drinking beer for the bitterness of hops as though it's some macho rite of passage to find the most bitter fluid on the planet. I like hops, but I'm not standing on a street corner peddling my taste buds to every bitter brew that comes along. You need to bring me some sweet stuff before I invite you back to my room to stay for the weekend.
My score: 7 out of 10.