Fremantle is considered by many to be the birthplace of the modern craft beer movement in Australia as the original home to Matilda Bay (via the Sail and Anchor Pub) and of course of Australia’s most popular craft brewery, Little Creatures. Please note that I have no proof of the popularity of Little Creature so if you are one of those nit pickers don’t make a comment that you think blah blah brewery is more popular, or indeed that Little Creatures ownership means that they are no longer a craft brewery.
Welcome to Tipple’s Oktoberfest celebrations. Oktoberfest has to be the world’s most famous beer related event, followed closely by St Patrick’s day, which I will claim is now about beer and not at all about St Patrick. It seems only right that we should mark this occasion with some sort of festival of our own.
Oh and before you purists out there point out that Oktoberfest has finished I’m well aware of that, but I’m very lazy so I didn’t get myself organised in time. So I shall be running my Oktoberfest in October.
I’ll also be adding an Antipodean flavour to it all. For the next four Wednesdays I’ll be taking one German beer and finding its Australian or New Zealand equivalent and battling them off to see who is going to win. Two nations going head to head, marching into battle, a war to the death if you will. My money is on the ANZACs
First up we are going mainstream.
In the German corner is Oettinger Pils. Oettinger is the biggest selling beer in Germany. It is mass market swill. It’s barely available on tap, and is actually sold in bottleshops and supermarkets. Here are the brewery’s own thoughts on their positioning “Oettinger Beer is cheap. Nobody wants it – ‘It’s dishwater!’ But everybody drinks it. (Our) success proves us right.”
Now the obvious beer to battle this out with is VB, biggest selling beer in Australia. Mass market swill, generally sold for off premise drinking, and rarely found on tap. I refuse to put myself through the indignity of drinking it though so I’ve taken another approach.
I’ve matched it on style – I’ve selected a Pilsener, and I’ve gone as mass market as I’m comfortable with. All the way from Fremantle it’s Little Creatures Pilsener.
So let the battle begin.
Look: They look very similar indeed, both a golden colour and a small wispy head. The Little Creatures is just a shade darker than the Oettinger.
Smell: The Oettinger has a stronger smell, which are standard lager yeast smells, with just a touch of funk. The Little Creatures has a softer smell without the funk.
Taste: The funkiness from the smell is back again in the mid sip in the Oettinger. It has more carbonation than the Little Creatures. The Oettinger is thinner in the body (although neither is a particularly malty beer given the style). The Oettinger is also softer, silkier in the mouth and easier to drink, whilst the Little Creatures is more interesting, with a touch more malts and even a hint of hops in the aftertaste.
Verdict: Neither of these beers are anything to write home about. It has to be a bloody good Pilsener before I’ll rave about it, and whilst these are both okay they are not in the ‘bloody good‘ league. Both are schooner worthy though.
And the Winner is…… The Little Creatures by a whisker. So that’s One-Nil to the ANZACs
Random Oktoberfest Fact: The majority of Oktoberfest is actually in September. The festival runs anywhere from 14 to 16 days and ends on the first Sunday of October. Unless that Sunday falls on the 1st or 2nd of October, in which case it’ll run until the 3rd of October which is German Unity day, think of it as like Australia Day but with beer, sausages, and more short wearing, hang on a sec….
Long Bow Youtube Clip: I mentioned the war once but I think I got away with it….