When you think of Narragansett, your mind typically goes to the standard Gansett lager. For years, I was unaware that Gansett even carried a light version of its product. Apparently, I was incorrect in my assumption. According to Naragansett, a bock and porter have been part of their beer family for decades. Their recent reappearance has been a welcome addition to the company lineup and the craft beer scene. Previously, I’d had the opportunity to try their porter and was much impressed.
I was fortunate enough to score two Narragansett Fest Lager Oktoberfest-style beers from Gansett to review for the blog. These are the newest additions to the brewery’s lineup, and I was pretty excited to see what was in the can.
The subdued orange 16 oz. cans come with the the famous Narragansett script scrawled across the front. Directly underneath the script sits the regal image of the bearded King Gambrinus, unofficial patron saint of beer and beer brewing. It is an interesting addition to the Narragansett image.
Gansett gets an automatic plus in my book for making an Oktoberfest tallboy. For lack of a proper stein, I was forced to use a rather tall Pilsner glass to accommodate the whole beer.
Appearance: Pours a clean and clear reddish copper color. Produces quite a bit of head that lingers for a bit and then vanishes.
Smell: A good clean malt aroma with hints of spicy hops.
Taste: Clean, rich malt up front, with maybe just a hint of caramel. The malt yields to spicy and herbal hop bitterness that balances everything out.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, but lighter than it appears – there is something to this beer, but it won’t weigh you down. Smooth up front with a nice crisp finish, owing to a fair bit of carbonation and hop spiciness.
Drinkability: A fairly soft, but not really delicate beer. Flavorful, but not overpowering. At 5.5%, it would indeed make for a good festival beer.
Overall Grade: B This is a good beer and a good representation of the Oktoberfest style.
For a company whose main product, an American Adjunst Lager, gets an unreasonable amount of crap from the craft beer industry, this beer is clear evidence that Narragansett knows how to brew. And there should be little doubt anyhow; their flagship lager is a fantastic beer that can, wait for it, be sold on its own merit. Fest Lager is just another fine example of why you should support this fine local institution.
But you don’t have to take my word for it…
If you are a Narragansett drinker in the mood for something a little different, or a fan of the Oktoberfest style, go pick up a couple of cans of Fest and celebrate autumn.