The Hop Harvest Oktoberfest by Peak Organic Brewing (Portland, Maine) is a marzen that pours with a dark brown color that has a slight touch of orange. The head of the beer is off-white to yellow with a good finger’s worth of foam. The initial nose yields hints of malt and sweetness, trends that are just part of the complex set of flavors that one will experience when cracking into a bottle. Toasted malts, floral hops, and caramel unite to make something eminently drinkable. A fruitiness can be discerned at points with Hop Harvest, working nicely with a spicier set of flavors that become evident as the beer continues to warm. Rarer but still present are grassy, grainy, and grapefruit elements that ensure that an imbiber will continually be surprised by each subsequent quaff of the Hop Harvest Oktoberfest.
The considerable malt of Hop Harvest is countered nicely with just a bit of bitterness, cutting through the typically-sweeter marzen style. The lower ABV makes this a perfect beer to session with, while the robust flavor profile of the Hop Harvest Oktoberfest marries it nicely to strongly-flavored roasts and steaks. Including a good amount of hop bite means that there is a slightly more delicate side to the Hop Harvest, making this a good pairing with fish and fowl. Hop Harvest is an impressive updating of the marzen format, giving some hope that Oktoberfest beers need not be sugary, malt-dominated affairs.
The Peak Organic Brewing website has a good amount of information about the company’s year-round and seasonal offerings, while their social media accounts do a tremendous job at letting readers know about new product announcements, different Peak-sponsored events, and beer-related news. Keep an eye out for our coverage of the brewery’s Super Fresh, a dry-hopped pilsner.