Nick of the North

Oktoberfest Beers

Nick Ortloff - Thursday, October 09, 2014
Well, the fall season is finally here, which can only mean one thing: Oktoberfest Beers. Many breweries release their own rendition of this beloved style during the fall months for beer lovers to drink as the leaves start to change color. I took it upon myself to find the best locally made Oktoberfest-style beers and have selected only the best for our readers to enjoy. Bear in mind that the order in which these beers appear do not reflect personal preference, but rather the order which I had them in.

Our first beer comes from the Summit Brewing Company with their Oktoberfest style beer. The aroma starts off with a fairly strong Munich & toffee malt sweetness which is backed up by a nice floral hop profile which rests on the back end of the nose.

The flavor, likewise, starts out very Munich & toffee malt upfront with the floral hops providing that much needed balance on the back end of the palate. As for the aftertaste, it's a mixture of bitter floral hoppiness and toffee sweetness…



Next up on our list comes from our neighbors across the bridge at Thirsty Pagan Brewing located in Superior, Wisconsin with their Oktoberfest. The aroma on this one starts out with some Munich and Toffee malts along with a chocolate-like scent, which gives this a slight roasty scent, along with some mild floral hoppiness which reside on the tail end of the nose. The flavor has some Munich and Caramel maltiness but it's got a distinct roasty quality which makes itself known on the backend of the palate, along with some floral hoppiness. Interestingly enough, the aftertaste is surprisingly dry with no lingering flavors to speak of.



Making our way down south once again, we come across an Oktoberfest beer courtesy of the August Schell Brewing Company. The aroma has Munich & Toffee maltiness although it's more subtle. However the hoppiness is a bit more prevalent here then normal, which gives it a nice balance.

The flavor is fairly identical to the aroma, it's got a nice Munich & toffee maltiness with some relatively strong floral hoppiness with a bitter floral hop aftertaste.



As we work our way back north, we have Surly Brewing's Oktoberfest seasonal aptly named SurlyFest, which I had on tap at 7 West Taphouse. The aroma on this one starts out with a strong citrus hoppiness with some caramel maltiness and subtle rye notes. The flavor is fairly caramel malt forward with some citra hops and a more prevalent but still mild rye profile.



For our final beer, we make our way back up to Duluth for Lake Superior Brewing's Oktoberfest. The aroma on this one is pure toffee & caramel malts with only a slight bit of hoppiness. Much like the nose, the flavor is very malt forward with some caramel and Munich malts with a more prevalent floral hoppiness. It is worth noting that the aftertaste is mainly bitter floral hops. A little side note, this beer won a Gold Medal at the World  Beer Championship!



I hope this post will encourage our readers to try these out. Enjoy the fall seasonals and remember to support your local breweries!

A First-Class Local Beer Rides the Rails.

Nick Ortloff - Sunday, October 05, 2014


In a couple of weeks, The Northland Beer Local-Motive will treat guests to a wonderful dinner along with locally made craft beer. For my first post, I will give a preview of the Blacklist Tripel, one of the featured beers for the Local-Motive event. What makes this beer so unique is that it's a Tripel which is made with Honey, Green Tea and Lemongrass.

The aroma produces a sweet honey scent accented with some lemon zest and sweet tea, all of which are encompassed by a Belgian yeastiness and toffee maltiness.

As for the flavor, has a strong taste of Belgian yeasts, green tea, sweet honey, and toffee malts with a dry floral, yet bitter hoppiness.


The body is a bit on the heavier side but the carbonation is on the lighter side so it's very easy to drink.

After having this, I'm excited to see what the guests at the Local-Motive will think of this beer. Blacklist is a brewery that loves to venture off the beaten path with their styles and I think this beer only exemplifies that. My only hope is that the people who try this out will enjoy this just as much as I do!

Fitger's Wit Wedding White IPA

Nick Ortloff - Friday, October 03, 2014


Every week, I will be highlighting a beer from a brewery that is based in either the Twin Ports or the surrounding area. For my first featured beer, I will be turning my attention to Fitger's Brewhouse with their Wit Wedding White IPA. It is a beer that was originally brewed last year to commemorate the wedding of Tim Nelson, one of the owners of Fitger's. Now they've brought it back again this year for patrons to enjoy.

The aroma has a strong malted wheat & citrus hop scent, which is backed by some resin hops and a slight grassy-earthiness, giving it an almost pilsner-like quality.

The flavor profile, on the flipside, is very citrus hop forward with some mild resin hops. Backing that up is some pilsner-wheat malts, a light berry sweetness and a bitter resin aftertaste.

Palate-wise, it possesses a reasonably heavy body but with some moderate carbonation.

This was only available in growlers at the Brewhouse and not on tap, but I think it's good enough to warrant a growler purchase! I think this is a great White IPA that is sure to please any craft beer drinker.


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