Friday, October 12, 2007


If the word “Oktoberfest” was used in a word-association test, the most common response would surely be “beer.” Many cities around the world hold an Oktoberfest celebration, including: Cincinnati, Ohio; La Crosse, Wisconsin; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Denver, Colorado; Blumenau, Brazil; and Hong Kong, but the fest from which all these others draw their name is held annually in München, Bayern (Munich, Bavaria).

Since its inception as a celebration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildberghausen in 1811, beer has been a central pillar in what has become a Bavarian tradition. Although beer stands long allowed fairgoers to fresco their tonsils with the Bavarian brush, the beer tents that we know and love were not added until 1896 by landlords who were backed by the local breweries.

Today Germany’s Oktoberfest draws 6 million people from all around the world to revel in Bavarian culture. The question for those of us not fortunate enough to travel to Deutschland is: what Oktoberfest beers would be good to enjoy at my local fest, or in my own home. After some exhaustive “research” we have some recommendations for you.

Aus Deutschland

Spaten Oktoberfest (Munich, Germany)

According to Spaten’s website their Oktoberfestbier is brewed each spring for “das größte Volksfest der Welt” (the largest folk festival in the world), and is 5.9% alcohol. Spaten Oktoberfest is a medium bodied amber beer, just slightly sweet with a rich malt body and just enough hops for one to notice the bitterness. In contrast with many American Oktoberfest beers, it is not spicy, nor is it too sweet or rich in body to prevent you from quaffing multiple mugs of this delicious lager (Amber & Ryan encourage you to chug responsibly).

From the US

Samuel Adams Octoberfest (Boston, MA)

Sam’s Octoberfest is an excellent American variety. It has a rich copper color, and a deep malt taste that according to their website is balanced by “German noble hops.” The beer is not as sweet as Spaten’s and the hops come through a little bit more. It has a medium body and you can definitely have more than two of these in a sitting (again, please chug in moderation).

Sprecher Oktoberfest (Glendale, WI)

Established in Brew City itself, Sprecher has since moved its operations to Milwaukee’s suburb of Glendale. Sprecher has a large roster of year-round beers and sodas (try the root beer), as well as a large selection of seasonal brews of which the Oktoberfest is one. The Oktoberfest is 5.75% alcohol, and boasts a blend of Caramel, Munich, and Pale hops. The beer is exceptionally smooth, even more so than the Spaten or the Sam Adams. The body is also slightly richer than both of the aforementioned beers, but it lacks the hops bite. Compared to other Oktoberfests of the area, Sprecher wins out, so if you’re in Milwaukee make sure you have your barkeep pull the tapper on this one a few times (Amber & Ryan suggest you take a cab, drunkie).

Stay tuned for pictures from Amber & Ryan's very own Oktoberfest!

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1 comment:

Kyle said...


Your entries reminded me that I have a couple Sprechers in the fridge. I will consume one upon arriving home from work. You are making a difference.