Oktoberfest – a celebration of the end of summer but really just a recurring celebration of wedding vows between two Royals. That’s right, although this is the largest beer festival in the world and is really held more in the month of September than October (beginning on the 15th of September and lasting till the 1st Sunday in October), the first Oktoberfest was the celebration of the Royal Wedding on 12 October 1810 of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. So in celebration of this wonderful event, the Germans and much of the world, drink immense amounts of beer.
The beer is not just any beer though, it is a special brew known as Oktoberfestbier. These beers are Märzen beers. Such beers are lagers that have around 5.5 to 6% abv and are brewed in March and allowed to ferment slowly during the summer months. Of course – Märzen means March in Germany and they drink this in September and October. Why?. Traditionally in the middle ages it was too hot to brew good tasting beer, so they brewed a beer with added hops in March to supply consumers through the hot summer, The hops is a natural preservative and protected the beer through the summer. Then as explained by the German Beer Institute:
In time, the March beer turned into an October beer. When the summer was over and it was safe to resume brewing again, the brewers needed to empty their kegs to make room for the new brews. That meant that Märzen had to be finished off in a hurry. Throw a little bit of merriment into the mix, and you’ve got an Oktoberfest with a Märzen beer party. Modern Märzen, like Oktoberfestbier, is always well-aged, usually for at least four to eight weeks. It is usually amber in color and has an alcohol content of 5 to 6.2%.
Now Oktoberfest’s have been going on for 182 years but only recently have we had a cigar to pair with the Märzen beer. Quesada Cigars has made their annual Quesada Oktoberfest Cigar for the past 5 years and maybe in a century or so, we will still be talking about this annual cigar. The 2015 varietal is a Dominican Puro that contains the following leaf:
- Wrapper: Dominican Cibao Valley
- Binder: Dominican Republic
- Filler: Dominican Cuban Seed Criollo & Olor Viso & Ligero
The Quesada Oktoberfest is available this year in 6 vitolas:
- 6 x 65 The Uber
- 5 x 52 The Bavarian
- 6 x 52 Das Boot (Belicoso)
- 6 x 49 Kaiser Ludwig (Box Press)
- 4 x 50 Kurtz
- 5 x 43 Krone
Today I am sampling the The Uber that was provided to me by the Quesada Cigar Company at the 2015 IPCPR. It has been aging naked in my humidor since July of this year just begging me to take it out and smoke it. I have seen many photos of other fellow cigar lovers with this cigar but felt it would be only right to enjoy this during the Oktoberfest season. So tonight I pulled out this monster of a cigar and went into the Stogie press lounge to enjoy the experience. I cued up some German Festival music on Google Play and settled down to enjoy the experience. Oh one more thing – beer. I don’t have large amounts of brew in the house these days but I did have some “Not Your Father’s Root Beer” ale in the fridge form a few nights ago. I know, what are you nuts Jimmie? That is nothing like a Märzen beer and it is not even brewed according to the German Purity Law! But wait, you will understand as you read. Besides it is all I had and it worked fine. By the way, maybe we should have a purity law for cigars, only pure natural ingredients no added flavors.
I had to take this photo of my German Beer mugs that I collected while overseas. Yes, the one in the middle is not from Germany, but it is an Oktoberfest mug from Japan. It just so happens that the Japanese and Germans are very good friends and they love to celebrate Oktoberfest around the country on different weekends. I was there one weekend in Japan when it was being celebrated and of course I got the mug for evidence.
So I poured my mug of brew and sat back listening to the Oompah band on the Google Play stream. I was admiring this fine specimen of a cigar, with its dark chocolate brown oily wrapper. There were some noticeable veins on the wrapper but not anything I would be concerned about. As you all know I am not a fan of large ring gauge cigars do to their burn and draw issue but this is worth a shot and I have been impressed with the works that come out of the Quesada factory.
There is a spicy pepper aroma to the wrapper and foot prior to lighting it, and once I do fire it up, I am greeted with an Oompah burst of pepper. The word Oompah even goes well with a cigar, as you pronounce it, you can imagine the smoke rolling around the palate and being exhaled. Any ways, the initial smoke was peppery and spicy to start. The Oktoberfest 2015 has a medium draw that is letting pout a decent amount of smoke but given time I am sure this will ratchet up. These big cigars take some time to get fully ignited. The pepper fades quickly but the spice remains.
Even though this is specifically made to enjoy with Märzen beer, I can imagine saving one for the traditional German Christkindlesmarkt. Like Oktoberfest, the Christkindlesmarkt is another German celebration during the 4 weeks of Advent leading up to Christmas, but instead of mass quantity of beer, they drink Glühwein, a hot mulled wine (with or without a shot of brandy) that has just the right amount of spices to enjoy this cigar with.
As the Quesada Oktoberfest 2015 burns through the first inch, there is a slight wave beginning to develop at the bottom of the slightly flaky white ash. I notice a floral aroma developing off the foot that has a bit of spice mixed into it. Yes this is a spicy cigar and deserves a good beverage to heighten the flavor experience. I take a sip of the “Not Your Father’s Root Beer” and the vanilla and spice in the beverage together with the spices in the cigar delivered a pleasantly lingering chocolate note on the palate.
As the burn continues there is a nut-like flavor that enters the mix. It is not almond or peanut, it is more like hazelnut. Yea that’s it. The early wave is correcting itself and begins to straighten out as the cigar is now fully ignited. Each sip of the Root Beer seems to bring out the tasty Chocolate flavors. I like this paring a lot.
As it burns into the second third, an earthy mineral note arrives. The ash is holding on tight at this point and the smoke production has definitely increased, filling the palate with oodles of tasty flavors. By the middle of the cigar there is a coffee and citrus flavor that takes over and eventually the early hazelnut shifts to more of an almond flavor.
There is also another larger wave in the burn that developed and it required a touch up this time. Eventually the ash broke, as I did the touch up. A touch of leather and cedar come into the mix near the final third and remained through the rest of the experience.
Overall the Quesada Oktoberfest 2015 was a decent cigar, I feel the burn issues detracted a bit from the experience, there were three of them one that did not need a touch up and 2 that did. It had a good flavor transitions and I cannot say enough how well it married itself to the Not My Fathers Root Beer, bringing out delightful chocolate flavors. I have not had the earlier releases of this cigar so I cannot compare this to them. I think I would like to try a smaller ring gauge on this cigar, perhaps, the Das Boot.