Oktoberfest is an annual festival held in Munich, Germany that starts on September 20th and runs until October 5th. The festival was originally created to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 17, 1810, and the citizens of Munich were invited to attend festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate. The fields were named Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s meadow”) in honor of the Crown Princess, and have kept that name ever since, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the”Wies’n”. Oktoberfest beer is an Amber Lager of around 6% ABV and the examples poured at the festival must come from local breweries. The beer is meant to be light to medium bodied with a hint of maltiness and easy to consume in large steins.
Our favorite Oktoberfests are:
5.8% ABV. Aying is in the municipality of Munich in Bavaria, Germany but you won’t find this at the fest. One great element of the Ayinger Brewery is that they farm a percentage of their own barley and wheat to make their beers and I feel it makes a big difference in the flavor — setting the bar a notch higher. Pours a rich, golden color, froth is thick, settling to a worthy lacing. Aroma is soft, with fresh grains in the nose and a faint, herbal hop note. Smooth on the palate, creamy, with a light airiness. Tight carbonation, but it’s held at bay by a base of malty sweetness, drop of caramel, and toast. $3.29 a 16.9 oz. Bottle
5.8% ABV. Want to talk about tradition? How about the oldest brewery in the world? The hop garden around the area of Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan was planted somewhere between 725 and 768 AD and now is home to a brewing academy to which student flock to from all over the world. The beer is a balanced example of the style that shifts away from sweet malt notes in favor of a light toasty cracker like maltiness and even presents a grassy, herbal, and lightly earthy quality bolstered with some notes of lemon pith of Noble Hops. $10.49 a 6 pack Bottles
5.8% ABV. When Paulaner Oktoberfest is poured into a glass, one cannot help but notice the aroma of freshly brewed barley. The smell is almost as tempting as crème brûlée. In the glass, it has a brightly glowing orange-amber color that shows perfect clarity. The mouthfeel is very smooth with a moderate body and a semi-creamy palate. In the mouth, malt character appears right from the get-go, with fresh toasted grain and a lengthy sweet undercurrent. Hops are casual and walk onto the palate with a well-balanced bitterness, along with herbal and floral flavors. $10.49 a 6 pack Bottles