Fall equates with better beer drinking. We love the simple pleasures of all those good Oktoberfest parties, which, starting this week, take over every German-style beer bar in America (and some entire towns, like Leavenworth, WA). The true, traditional beer to order is Märzen (say "mayer-tsen"), a medium-bodied, coppery-red lager marked by a smooth malt character and the spicy kick of noble hops. It’s an under-appreciated style—for some reason, it’s scarcely served at the big traditional Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, which runs from 9/22 to 10/7 this year—and has a sociable ABV (alcohol by volume) of just five to seven percent, making it the perfect match for bratwurst, if not an impromptu chicken dance or two as the oom-pah band rocks it that much harder.
Got lederhosen? Maybe not. But you can get the right beer. Here, two of our favorite Oktoberfest brews to pick up from your local beer shop this season. After all, as Ahnold once helpfully reminded the world: “Milk is for babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer.”
Sprecher Oktoberfest; 5.75%abv
From one of our perennial favorite breweries available throughout the central and Eastern U.S. states comes this sturdy offering, aged a full six weeks before release. Aromatic and a touch nutty, with a pleasant caramel-y note, it’s got a bready, malty backbone and the marked spiciness of Hallertau and Mt. Hood hops. Find it here.
Great Divide Hoss Rye Lager; 6.2%abv
The unorthodox but delicious addition of rye malt lends this beautifully reddish-orange brew spicy, complex flavors akin to dark stone fruits, while ample hops balance it all out. In 2010 this brew earned a bronze at the World Beer Cup for its style, and these days you don’t even have to wait until fall to buy it. In other words, everyday can be Oktoberfest. Find it here.
What’s your favorite Oktoberfest beer? Tell us below.