Oktoberfest season is nearing and American craft brewers are addressing things with intriguing takes on a proud holiday tradition.
The Paso Festbier Is Here (Paso Robles, CA) – Firestone Walker Brewing has returned a classic that’s an oak-inspired homage to the great Bavarian tradition of Oktoberfest. A seasonal staple at the California brewery dating back to the inaugural release in 2006, Firestone Oaktoberfest is a rich 5.2% ABV Oak Aged Lager with an uber-smooth mouthfeel, a crisp malt profile and hints of noble German hops. The recipe has evolved over the years, but recent tweaks have taken the beer to new heights.
A portion of the beer is lagered in French oak barrels inherited from one of Napa Valley’s top cult wineries. The oak-barrel lagering allows for an even smoother texture, all while remaining true to the beer’s crisp malt profile and hints of noble hops.
“Oaktoberfest is a beer that has stood the test of time,” said Brewmaster Matt Brynildson. “In fact, I believe that more and more craft drinkers are yearning for beers like Oaktoberfest. There’s a certain nostalgia to the style—smooth, sessionable, flavorful and malt-forward. It’s the kind of beer that you naturally crave as summer turns to fall.”
Eins, zwei, g’suffa! (Hershey, Pa) – Pennsylvania has a rich German heritage, so it shouldn’t surprise that Tröegs Independent Brewing makes one of the best Oktoberfest beers in the nation. Part of the brewery’s popular Long Live Lagers Series, and crafted using a traditional brewing technique called decoction, Tröegs Oktoberfest Lager is a 6.1% ABV seasonal release with bright notes of sweet caramel, fresh-baked bread, and flowering herbs.
“It’s one of our simplest recipes and only uses two types of malt,” said brewmaster and co-founding brother, John Trogner. “It starts with a base of pilsner malt, then we add a touch of Munich to impart a bready flavor. By boiling a portion of the mash, we create a bright, dry maltiness. The yield is a rich, complex malt character.”
An Oktoberfest Best (White Plains, NY) – When it comes to the best Oktoberfest beers one has to look to Munich, home to the original Oktoberfest celebration. For over 100 years, the Märzen style (a full-bodied malt-rich lager) has ruled Munich’s Oktoberfest.
Germany’s favorite Oktoberfest beer and a true institution in Munich, Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier is a 6% ABV bottom-fermented Golden Lager that combines the perfect balance of a light taste of hops with a sturdy malt backbone.
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