A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to try the Sam Adam's Octoberfest beer and rather enjoyed it. However I was very excited when Houston's own Saint Arnolds released their version this week. I have gone over the style of beer in an earlier post.
The Brewery: Saint Arnold's is located on the north west side of Houston. I love this brewery and have made many a travel up on a Saturday for their tastings. The brewery was started by Brock Wagner and Kevin Bartol on June 8, 1994. This is a small operation of 17 people and having talked to many of the employees including Brock its more of a family and not a business relationship. Brock began as a homebrewer, his day job being a financial analyst in downtown Houston. After realizing he would rather make beer than work in finances he worked with Mr. Bartol to create Saint Arnold's the patron Saint of Beer. Mr. Bartol is no longer involved in Saint Arnold's (nope nothing sinister). All of Saint Arnold's beers are not pasturized creating beers of greater depth, taste and complexity.
The Beer: It pours a nice dark amber with an inch or so of light tan head. The head dissipates into a thin line with ample lacing. On the nose, malt is the highlight, plenty of caramel and roasted flavors with just a hint of floral hoppy bitterness. The mouthfeel is heavy, smooth malty sweetness more of that caramel and roastyness with some underlying toffee flavors coming out. The sweetness is noticeable but not cloying. A bit of bitterness at the end. Nice carbonation in the beer. As the beer warms up it develops a little bit of spicy undertones adding some nice complexity to the beer. Very nice beer, I'd grade it above the Sam Adams version. Here's what the folks at BA had to say.