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Beerguzzler: Occidental Brewing Co.

Occidental has all the bases covered with these three exceptional brews.

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OCCIDENTAL BREWING CO.
  • Occidental Brewing Co.

In a Northwest beer world dominated by IPAs, where most breweries are racing to see who can stuff the most hops into a bottle, Portland, Oregon-based Occidental goes against the grain. It specializes in sessionable German-style lagers and ales. With fall fast approaching, that means the fresh hops are here, and Oktoberfest is just around the corner. Occidental has all the bases covered with these three exceptional brews.

Occidental Edel-Hell Helles Lager, $1.99

As fits the name, this is a bright (aka "helles"), light-lemon colored pour with a thick, persistent, egg-white head. The aromas are a clean mix of fresh-milled grain and floral hops with a touch of honeyed biscuit. The palate is oh so smooth, with light malt, toasted brioche and more hops coming through on the finish. What's not to like?

Occidental Festbier, $2.99

A thin, beige head covers this dark amber pour that features the characteristic Marzen nose marked by dark, toasty wheat bread with touches of toffee and mixed nuts. The flavors are round without being overly rich, leading off with sweet malt that's backed by cherry, toast and just the right, light kiss of hops. It's an excellent example of this classic style.

Occidental Fresh Hop Pilsner, $2.99

An iridescent shade of straw in the glass, it's topped by a thin, white froth. The nose is fairly subtle, with a nice hit of fruity hops and notes of bread and pepper. This one goes down too easily with its opening flavors of slightly sweet, fresh-baked bread and well-integrated, mildly bitter hops. The finish is smooth and dry with a nice bit of fruitiness.

—David Kirkpatrick