Paige Latham Didora
Shiner v. Victory: Oktober-Off
I’ve cracked the Oktoberfests and with the help of two beer-loving friends, I am here to declare the must-try’s of the season!
The first head-to-head of the Oktober-Off is between Shiner and Victory.
Shiner’s Marzen-style Oktoberfest from Texas and Victory’s Festbier represent the lowest and highest scoring of the bunch as judged by the public on Beer Advocate and Rate Beer. As it turns out, they are incredibly different beers, and for that reason, it is quite difficult to compare them.
The Shiner Oktoberfest possesses little in the way of aroma, but what is there showcases sweet malt. The appearance is a medium amber with very little head and mild retention.
The taste is skewed towards the malty end of things with little bitterness for balance except for in the finish. I found it difficult to overcome the metallic taste that was fairly prominent from beginning to end. While it lacked some character, the body, color, and malt character were appropriate.
The exact opposite was true of the Victory Festbier.
The taste is sensational with caramel malt and sweetness kept nicely in check by indistinct bitterness.
I absolutely love this beer and I only have one problem with it — it is in no way “in the tradition of an Oktoberfest”. In fact, we all agreed that it tasted more like an ale with flavors that the guideline explicitly cautions against including prominent caramel. I will be drinking plenty of the stuff, but not under the Oktoberfest heading.
Although I am inclined to call it a draw, I feel compelled to hand it to the better of the beers regardless of style. In that case the winner is the Victory Festbier.