October 28, 2021

Saving Break

Break Through With Legalicy

On Tap: Manhattan Project Beer Co.’s Oktoberfest.

After Introducing It As A Taproom Special Last Year, The West Dallas Brewery Has Upped Its Märzen-Style Offering’s Production For 2021. Good Thing, Too.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers available in the crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on, and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Let’s find out! Cheers!

This week, I sipped on Oktoberfest from Manhattan Project Beer Co.

Fast Facts about Oktoberfest

Style: Märzen
ABV: 5.5 percent
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): N/A
Color: Amber-orange
Proper Glassware: Willie Becher, Stein
Availability: Draught & Cans

Overview

Hey kids, it’s pumpkin-everything season! And that’s why I’m reviewing a Märzen this week.

These days, pumpkin beer gets treated like Christmas to Märzen’s Thanksgiving, and I think that’s an injustice of the highest order. I’m good with pumpkin beer — hey, who doesn’t like Christmas, right? – but, granted, I’m one who spends the 10 months when I can’t get a Märzen waiting for the season to come around again.

If I could get a good local Märzen year-round, it would more than likely be my go-to style in any season.

This week, I found a treat waiting for me when I started checking the seasonals for this year’s local Märzens. While Manhattan Project Beer Co.’s Oktoberfest isn’t exactly new — they released it last year as a taproom-only brew under the name Van Braun — this is the first year it’s been available in a convenient package form that I could take home.

Take that, pumpkin beer!

Background on Märzen

The Märzen style is a traditional German amber lager that highlights malt flavors, and specifically those of Munich malt. Hop and yeast flavor influences should be minimal. Proper Märzens should be well attenuated and dry to moderately dry. For more information on the history of Märzen, see the Central Track review of Mondlift from Wild Acre Brewing Company.

Appearance

Oktoberfest pours amber-orange with a strong off-white head. Once the chaos of the pour clears, this beer has the brilliant clarity displayed by the finest lagers, showcasing the amazing the colors. While the foam stand is perfect at first, it shows less-than-average persistence and leaves no lacing on the glass to speak of. All in all, though, it’s a visually stunning beverage at the pour.

Aroma

The aroma produced by Oktoberfest is everything you’d expect in this style, and none of what you don’t. It is showcase for German malt, providing a complex fragrance rich with bread, bread crust and light toast. There are faint hints of honey-type herbal notes hitting me that might be German hops, but might also come from the malt.

Flavor

You can really taste the bread and toast in Oktoberfest — and again with some of that subtle honey-style herbal flavor, but none of the honey sweetness. The bitterness is there for balance, but it is a minor player in the show this beer is putting on. There is also no trace of alcohol on the tongue at all — but, then again, it is a little underpowered for the style at only 5.5 percent ABV.

Mouthfeel

Oktoberfest is medium-bodied with medium carbonation, although it has a bit of a bite from the carbonation that detracts somewhat from what should be a smooth, creamy feel. While this beer is all malt, it has a medium-dry taste and finish that is on point.

Overall Impression

While I’ve never had a mediocre beer from Manhattan Project, much less a bad one, I think they really excel at traditional, German lagers. These beers are harder to brew than most folks realize because of the clean and unforgiving nature of the styles. In short, there’s just no where to hide with a beer like this.

Oktoberfest is absolutely no exception to this trend at MPBC, and I love it. It is rich and elegant, and it shows off the very best of the malt world. It has enough bitterness to let you know about it, sure. But, other than that, you wouldn’t know this beer had ever crossed paths with any hops at all.

I do wish the foam stand were more persistent, but that has been a problem with every single Märzen brewed locally that I’ve ever tried. Honestly, it makes me wonder if it’s something about our water in North Texas, as that would be the most common denominator. But even that isn’t the same in any two breweries, and water chemistry is something most brewers adjust anyway.

I’m also not a huge fan of the name change. I know it’s a small thing, but — issues aside — I’ve been pretty complimentary of MPBC’s use of theme in all their brews, and especially the brilliant packaging of each. So, to me, dropping the original themed name of Van Braun for something as generic as Oktoberfest stings a little. Throw in the barley stalk can motif that is overused in the industry already, and the whole thing feels like a small betrayal to me.

Märzen’s are something Metroplex breweries seem to just do well, though, and MPBC’s Oktoberfest is absolutely no exception. So, before you reach for that pumpkin beer this weekend, remember that Thanksgiving comes before Christmas, and grab a six-pack of this great lager.

Besides, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy those pumpkin beers in late October and November once the Märzens have disappeared.

Score

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give Manhattan Project Beer Co.’s Oktoberfest an 8.

All photos by Bob Floyd.

Previous On Tap Reviews:

• Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
• Lakewood Brewing’s Salted Caramel Temptress: 10.
• Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
• Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
• Deep Ellum Brewing Company’s Freak Flag: 10.
• Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
• Collective Brewing Project’s Boysenbarrel: 10.
• Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
• Community’s Legion: 10.
• Martin House River Horse: 9.75.
• BrainDead’s Fill in the Blancs: 9.5.
• Oak Highlands’ Freaky Deaky: 9.5.
• 903 Brewers’ Birthday Sasquatch: 9.5.
• TUPPS Brewery’s Full Grown Scallywag: 9.5.
• On Rotation’s Flocculation of Seagulls: 9.5.
• Braindead Brewing’s P-Wing: 9.5.
• Lakewood Brewing Company’s Coconut Temptress: 9.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
• Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
• Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
• Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
• Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
• Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
• Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
• Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
• Collective Brewing Project’s SMaSHY: 9.25
• BrainDead Brewing’s Galactic Federation of Might: 9.25
• On Rotation’s Lingonberry Sahti: 9.25.
• Martin House Brewing Company’s The Morrigan: 9.25.
• On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
• Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
• Lakewood’s Double Chocolate Temptress: 9.
• Braindead Brewing Company’s Dr. Dreipricot: 9.
• Manhattan Project’s Black Matter: 9.
• Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
• Manhattan Project Beer Company’s Necessary Evil: 9.
• Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
• Funky Picnic’s Funny Accent: 9.
• Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
• Division Brewing’s Smokin’ Jack-o’s: 9.
• Community Beer Co.’s Medical Grade Haze: 9.
• Wild Acre’s Mondlift: 9.
• Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
• Outfit Brewing’s Cole: 9.
• Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
• Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
• Bankhead Brewing Co.’s Giggle Water: 9.
• Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
• Manhattan Project’s Wise Monkeys: 9.
• Cedar Creek’s Poblano Paradise: 8.75.
• Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest: 8.75.
• Lakewood Brewing Company IPA: 8.75.
• Small Brewpub’s Black Pepper Pils: 8.5.
• Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
• Community Beer Company’s Passiflora: 8.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
• Community Beer Company’s Wit ‘N Wild: 8.5.
• Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
• Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
• Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
• Peticolas’ Prime Minister: 8.25.
• Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s Winter Warmer: 8.25.
• Noble Rey Brewing’s Barampus: 8.25.
• Martin House’s Possum Kingdom Pilsner: 8.25.
• Community Beer Company’s Brett’s Get It On: 8.25.
• Bankhead Brewing Company’s Aoogah!: 8.25.
• Lakewood’s Peach Artsy Tarsty: 8.25.
• Peticolas Brewing Company’s Clandestine: 8.
• Lakewood Brewing Grand Allowance: 8.
• HopFusion Ale Works’ Hairpin: 8
• Peticolas’ Golden Opportunity: 8
• Three Nations’ Devout (Mexican Chocolate): 8
• Collective Brewing Project’s Cup O’ Sumpin Raspberry Lemonade: 8.
• Texas Ale Project’s Smash Experiment: 8.
• Armadillo Ale Works’ Greenbelt Farmhouse Ale: 8.
• Hop & Sting Brewing Company’s Dixon’s Dunkelweizen: 8.
• Cedar Creek Brewery’s Gone A-Rye: 8.
• Panther Island’s Road Trip Snacks: 8.
• Community’s Texas Helles: 8.
• On Rotation’s Moar Blackberry: 8.
• Franconia’s Silver Star Bock: 8
• Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s Paleta de Mango: 8.
• Peticolas Brewing Company’s Doctor’s Orders: 8.
• Hop & Sting Brewing Company’s Galactic Haze: 8.
• Lakewood’s Thread Spinner: 8.
• Bishop Cider Co.’s Sour Cherry: 8.
• Texas Ale Project 50 Ft. Jackrabbit: 8.
• Cedar Creek Brewery’s Gone A-Rye: 8.
• Pegasus City Brewing’ Nine Volt: 8.
• Texas Ale Project’s Payne Pils: 8.
• Noble Rey’s Bridesmaid’s Tears: 8.
• Collective Brewing’s Urban Funk House: 8.
• Pegasus City Brewery’s Cannoneer: 8.
• Pegasus City Brewery’s Sixth Floor: 8.
• Lakewood’s All Call: 8.
• Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
• 903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
• Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
• Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
• Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
• Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
• 903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
• 3 Nations’ Switchyard: 8.
• TUPPS’ DDH IPA Series 16: 8.
• Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
• BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
• Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
• Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
• Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
• Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
• New Main Brewing’s Thundersnow: 8.
• Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
• Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
• Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
• Deep Ellum’s Neato Bandito: 8.
• Steam Theory’s Hops Against Humanity: 8
• Revolver’s Bock: 8.
• 903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
• Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
• Division Brewing’s Distant Cousin: 8.
• Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
• Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
• Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
• Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
• Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
• Pegasus City Brewery’s The Woofus: 7.75
• Four Corners Brewing Company Homie Brew: 7.75.
• Community Beer Company’s Snickerdoodle: 7.75.
• Pegasus City Brewery’s High Point: 7.75.
• Cedar Creek’s Grapefruit Haze: 7.75.
• Martin House Brewing’s Big Hoppa: 7.75.
• TUPPS Full Grown Man: 7.75.
• 3 Nations American Wit: 7.75.
• Armadillo Ale Works’ Dapper Apple: 7.75.
• 903 Brewers’ Kilt Switch: 7.5.
• Chimera Dirty Dog: 7.5.
• 3 Nations Brewing Company’s Imperial Milk Stout: 7.5.
• Legal Draft’s Accused Amber Lager: 7.5.
• Grapevine’s Reserve Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse: 7.5.
• Martin House’s Stars Above: 7.5.
• Noble Rey Brewing Company’s Frooty Tang: 7.5.
• Martin House Brewing’s Pretzel Stout: 7.5.
• Grapevine’s Prickly Pear Wheat Ale: 7.5.
• Texas Ale Project’s Good To Go: 7.5.
• Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
• Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
• Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
• On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
• True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
• Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
• Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
• Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
• Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
• Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
• Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
• Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
• Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
• Cedar Creek Brewery Clover Kicker: 7.25.
• Noble Rey Sex In A Canoe: 7.25.
• Legal Draft Beer Company Free & Clear: 7.25.
• Oak Highlands Brewery’s Oktoberfest.: 7.25.
• Noble Rey’s European Vacation: 7
• Unlawful Assembly’s Public Dissent: 7.
• Deep Ellum Rye Pils: 7.
• Union Bear’s Amber Red Ale: 7.
• Turning Point Beer’s Silent Treatment: 7.
• Wild Acre Brewing Company’s Ranch Style: 7.
• 3 Nations Mango SMASH IPA: 7.
• Legal Draft Chief Justice Stout: 7.
• Texas Ale Project’s Pantera Golden Ale: 7.
• Legal Draft’s Black Letter Law: 7.
• Noble Rey Brewing Company’s Mother Night: 7.
• TUPPS Brewery’s Imperial Saison: 7.
• Manhattan Project’s Plutonium-239: 7.
• Panther Island Brewing’s Sweet Fang: 7.
• Backcountry’s Texas IPA: 7.
• Shannon Brewing Co.’s Lucha Libre Mexican Lager: 7.
• Backcountry’s Double IPA: 7.
• Wild Acre Brewing Company’s Billy Jenkins: 7.
• Pegasus City Brewery’s Great Hall Hefe: 7.
• Rahr’s Visionary: 7.
• Shannon Brewing’s Irish Cream Ale: 7.
• Oak Highlands’ Guava Good: 7.
• TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
• Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
• BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
• Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
• Three Nations Brewing Co.’s Texas Gold Chili Lime: 7.
• Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
• Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
• Trinity Forest Brewing Company’s Blonde Ale: 7.
• BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
• Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
• Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
• Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
• Noble Rey’s Off The Leash: 7.
• Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
• Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
• Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
• Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
• Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
• Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
• Armadillo Ale Works’ Town Squared: 7.
• 903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
• 903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
• Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
• Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
• Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
• Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
• Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
• Shanning Brewing Co.’s Mór IPA: 7.
• Martin House’s River House: 7.
• Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
• Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
• Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
• Texas Ale Project’s Hawaiian Roadrunner: 6.75.
• Whistle Post’s Shoofly Coconut Lime Ale: 6.75.
• Community Brewing Company’s Silly Gose: 6.75
• HopFusion Ale Works’ Feisty Blonde: 6.75
• Martin House’s Queen of the Mist (Prickly Pear): 6.75.
• Armadillo Ale Works Land Yacht IPA: 6.5
• Three Nations Texas Xmas Hazelnut Ale: 6.5.
• Martin House’s The Juice: 6.5.
• Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
• Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
• Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
• 903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
• Four Corners’ Celebración: 6.5.
• Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
• Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s Pumpkin Ale: 6.5.
• Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
• Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
• Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
• Cedar Creek’s Maui Wowie: 6.25.
• On Rotation’s Mexican Barleywine: 6.25.
• Thirsty Bro Brewing Co.’s Sweet Cherry Blonde: 6
• On Rotation’s Darjeeling Tea Session Ale: 6.
• Wild Acre’s Tarantula Hawk: 6.
• Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
• TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
• Martin House’s Melted: Salted Caramel & Waffle Cone Ice Cream Ale: 6.
• Brutal Beerworks’ Mother Heffer: 6.
• Four Bullets’ All In IPA: 6.
• Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
• Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
• Rahr & Sons’ Angry Santa: 6.
• Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
• Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
• Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
• Cobra Brewing Company’s Dawn of the Dank: 6
• Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
• Lakewood’s Troll Toll: 5.5.
• Martin House’s Hell Below: 5.5.
• Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
• Martin House’s Best Maid Sour Pickle Beer: 5.
• TUPPS Brewery’s Imperial Pastry Sour Ale: 5.
• Woodcreek’s Lakeside Cerveza: 5.
• Legal Draft Beer Company’s Smash & Grab IPA: 5.
• Martin House Cuvee Pumpkin Latte: 5.
• Intrinsic’s Crunktoberfest: 5.
• Martin House’s Mind On My Money: 5.
• 903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
• Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
• TUPPS’ Day Off: 4.75.
• 3 Nations’ Lady Luck Horchata Ale: 4.5.
• Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
• Audacity’s Checkered Past: 4.
• Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
• Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
• Bitter Sisters’ Hot Temper: 4.
• Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
• Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
• TUPPS’ Cotton Candy Shandy: 4.
• Good Neighbor Brews’ Slim Sweetness: 3.
• Good Neighbor Brews’ O’Carrol’s Irish Red: 3.
• Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
• Franconia Wheat: 3.
• 903 Brewers’ Mythical Creatures: 2.5.
• Miller Lite: 1.