Intrinsic’s Oktoberfest Beer Is A Little Too Crunk.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery’s‘s Crunktoberfest.

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Fast Facts on Intrinsic’s Crunktoberfest.
Style: Märzen.
ABV: 8.5 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 24.
Color: Deep orange to light copper.
Availability: Limited.

Overview.
If you’ve ventured outside of the 635 loop for suds lately, chances are that you have run across one of our many sprawling and also delicious suburban DFW breweries. Intrinsic Brewing fits in a cool space in downtown Garland in a renovated old building. I like seeing operations like this way more than I like seeing a brewery pop up in some random warehouse. But it is what it is, and let’s not let the cool factor of a place like this get in the way of a bona fide review on its beer. Maybe you have visited Lakewood Brewing, which is also in Garland. Well, Instrinsic’s setup is pretty much nothing like that operation; rather, it has a more gritty, neighborhood-y sorty of vibe — and barbecue, too!

Background on Märzen.
The Märzen style (some people call this Oktoberfest) is a crisp, malt-forward German lager style that’s meant to be enjoyed in multiples. Perceived bitterness on a beer in this style is relatively low, ranging from 18-24 IBUs. OK, so it’s not super-low, but it’s meant to be a restrained sort of bitterness that doesn’t get in the way of the malt situation going on. The alcohol range for the Märzen style is normally from 5.8-6.3 percent ABV. For another take on the Märzen style, check out our review of Oak Highlands Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest. While Crunktoberfest doesn’t exactly fit this style, I’m going to classify it as a Märzen because it seems like this beer’s closest relative. Got it?

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Appearance.
Crunktoberfest pours a deep orange-ish, light copper sort of color, and it’s beautifully clear. Since I’m pouring this beer from a growler that was filled over the weekend, the head dissipates quickly, even after a vigorous pour in to the glass. I was hoping more head would have stuck around. I suspect it’s the growler thing, so we’ll give Intrinsic a pass on the foam situation. I bet the beer would be nice and foamy if I were drinking it on premise, or if I were drinking it out of a non-twist-cap growler.

Aroma.
The main star of the show with Crunktoberfest is its malt. There is a teeny tiny bit of noticeable sweetness, but it’s more of a crusty bread sort of sweetness and not just straight up sugary. This beer smells pretty good — so good that I almost forget about its very-elevated ABV.

Flavor.
The high ABV becomes very apparent in the flavor. I was hoping for a smooth, easy-drinking Märzen style beer with a lower ABV, but what I’m tasting is a big, boozy monster malt bomb. This beer has the alcohol range of a larger Doppelbock, but the appearance of a smaller beer. The bready and crusty flavor is the main focus here, but just behind it is the tongue-numbing and somewhat hot alcohol sensation. As I’m half-way in to my first pour, I can feel my mid-week stresses all fading quickly away. As the beer warms, there is also something of an off-flavor going on here. It’s fusel and sort of harsh on the tongue, in a, “Yo, try my homebrew!” sort of way.

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Mouthfeel.
For as big as this beer is, clocking in with its 8.5 percent ABV, Crunktoberfest has a very nice mouthfeel. Perhaps this beer finished out a little bit too dry? I don’t know. That seems sort of like a good problem with a bigger lager like this. There is very little residual sugar, which makes for a nice clean finish. But I’m left wondering if a little more malt on the finish would help hide some of the bite from the alcohol. Nonetheless, I am drawn to another sip after each previous sip, and this beer is slowly growing on me.

Overall Impression.
While this review hasn’t been overwhelmingly positive, I don’t hate this beer. I feel like what this beer is missing is balance. Most Märzen style (Oktoberfest) beers are more malt-focused and less intense with the alcohol. And that’s sort of clouding my perception of this beer. I don’t believe that the brewers set out with any intention of brewing this beer in-style, per se, so that’s not really the point. However, if you’re putting the phrase -toberfest in the name of the beer, it seems more fitting that the beer might try to color more within the lines on style. Most Oktoberfest-style beers lend themselves for easier drinking, and in multiples, but Crunktoberfest flips the script on that scenario. So now I’m 1.5 beers in and wondering where this buzz came from. But I look forward to trying more of Intrinsic Brewing’s beers. Prost!

Score.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Intrinsic Brewing Crunktoberfest a 5.

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What’s happening in the area brew scene?
• Thursday, September 22-24. Oktoberfest Fort Worth at Panther Island Pavilion.
• Friday, September 23. Brew-Haha Comedy Series at Shannon Brewing.
• Sunday, September 25. Oktoberfest at Goodfriend.
• Saturday, October 1. Crunktoberfest at Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery.
• Saturday, October 1. Texas Beer Camp at Long Road Farm.
• Saturday, October 1. Rahr & Sons Oktoberfest 5K Run/Walk.
• Saturday, October 8. BeerFeast at Flying Saucer Fort Worth.
• Saturday, November 12. Untapped: Dallas at Fair Park.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
Community’s Legion: 10.
BrainDead’s Fill in the Blancs: 9.5.
Oak Highlands’ Freaky Deaky: 9.5.
Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
Texas Ale Project’s Payne Pils: 8.
Noble Rey’s Bridesmaid’s Tears: 8.
Collective Brewing’s Urban Funk House: 8.
Lakewood’s On Call: 8.
Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver’s Bock: 8.
903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
Legal Draft’s Accused Amber Lager: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Reserve Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse: 7.5.
Martin House’s Stars Above: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Prickly Pear Wheat Ale: 7.5.
Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
Oak Highlands Brewery’s Oktoberfest.: 7.25.
Backcountry’s Double IPA: 7.
Rahr’s Visionary: 7.
Shannon Brewing’s Irish Cream Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Guava Good: 7.
TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
Noble Rey’s Off The Leash: 7.
Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
Martin House’s River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Queen of the Mist (Prickly Pear): 6.75.
Martin House’s The Juice: 6.5.
Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
Wild Acre’s Tarantula Hawk: 6.
Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Lakewood’s Troll Toll: 5.5.
Martin House’s Hell Below: 5.5.
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Martin House’s Mind On My Money: 5.
903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
Miller Lite: 1.

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