In Munich, Germany, the “tapping of the first Oktoberfest-beer-barrel” happened on September 20th. The European iconic festival, Oktoberfest, runs through October 5th . This was our inspiration to take a look at the best Oktoberfest inspired brews made stateside that could possibly rival some of the German suds. A true Oktoberfest beer is brewed within the city limits of Munich, and despite the name, they are not brewed in the fall. The brew is the overflow of the traditional spring beer, named Märzen for the month of March. The batches of Märzen are then left in ice-filled caves or cellars for summer drinking. What is leftover after summer’s end of the Märzen gets finished off in October (hence the name). The fresh beer is made with the grain and hops from the harvest season and sits in casks for three-four mounts, giving Oktoberfest beers a rich and toasty flavor. While most of us can’t make it to Munich for one of the biggest festivals on earth, we can find Oktoberfest-Bavarian style beers that will bring us there with the best brews. Time to lift your steins!
Brooklyn Oktoberfest, Brooklyn NY
From the city that has nearly everything cool nailed down, Brooklyn can add a true Oktoberfest beer to the list. Brooklyn Brewery’s Oktoberfest is made in the traditional Bavarian Märzen way. It has a slightly darker hue than most Oktoberfest brews, and the suds take on slight cherry notes, without losing the Oktoberfest flavor of toasty bitterness. This brew pairs will with nutty cheeses, such as manchego or Parmesan.
Everything is bigger in Texas, which could explain the Spoetzl Brewery’s (the last of the independent Texas breweries) big flavored Oktoberfest. Also made in the traditional Märzen style, the Shiner Oktoberfest has a sweet essence without being overpowering. Pairs best with cured meat and sausages.
Left Hand Oktoberfest Märzen Lager, Longmont Colorado
Of course we could not talk about beers without adding a local favorite! Left Hand Brewery in Longmont creates one of the most widely anticipated beers nationwide, the Oktoberfest Märzen Lager. Sticking with tradition the brewery starts brewing in late spring for two months before it reaches its maximum potential. This is a more complex flavored beer suitable for beer connoisseurs and local festivalgoers who just plain like beer. Left Hand’s Oktoberfest pairs best with lighter meats like roasted chicken, and hearty fall vegetables.