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Beyond Oktoberfest: 12 Top German Brews Picks


I know…I’m late for an Oktoberfest post, but I still wanted to share with you some great brews you can enjoy during and beyond the season. Ahhh, Oktoberfest. You know how it goes down-- 16 days beginning in late September where all your friends try to convince you to roll out to an overcrowded beer festival where most people end up getting too wasted.  Hey, I’m not knocking anyone, as long as they're responsible enough to have a designated driver to get them back home in one piece.  Because I’m not a big fan of crowds, and surprisingly a lightweight, I tend to stay away from big fests and turn my attention to drinking at home or with a close group of friends.

First off, I have to be straight-- I’m not a big fan of Märzen beers, the style most closely associated with Oktoberfest. They tend to be a little too malty and sweet for my taste, although there are a couple of good ones I enjoy that are a little more balanced.

Some quick info on Oktoberfest: brewers in Germany would brew their beer beginning in March (Märzen) and let it ferment slowly until late September.  People would then excitingly tap into these batches from roughly the third week of September through the first weekend of October to celebrate at the Wiesn--- the original Oktoberfest celebration at Theresienwiese in Munich, which started in 1810.

I went ahead and compiled a list of my top 12 German beers you can easily get at any major beer retailer or your better local liquor stores. I went a little wider than just  Märzen-style beers for a more well rounded overview of some great German brews. Most of these you can find year round, and for not that much money. I may have missed some of your favs, so feel free to comment with your picks. Salud!

Here are my pick (in no particular order):

Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock

Brewed by: Brauerei Aying

Style: Doppelbock

ABV: 6.7%

Taste: Dried fruit, toffee, brown sugar


Weihenstephaner Vitus

Brewed by: Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan

Style: Weizen Bock

ABV: 7.7%

Taste: Banana, spice, caramel


Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier

Brewed by: Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan

Style: German Hefeweizen

ABV: 5.4%

Taste: Wheat, yeasty, slight bubblegum


Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen

Brewed by: Brauerei Heller

Style: Smoked Beer

ABV: 5.1%

Taste: Malty, smokey, woody


Warsteiner Verum

Brewed by: Warsteiner Brauerei

Style: Pilsener

ABV: 4.8%

Taste: Clean, crisp, malty, refreshing, classic Pilsener


Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse

Brewed by: Spaten-Franziskaner-Brau (InBev)

Style: German Hefeweizen

ABV: 5.0%

Taste: Banana, cloves, bubblegum


Paulaner Salvator

Brewed by: Paulaner Brauerei (Schorghuber)

Style: Doppelbock

ABV: 7.9%

Taste: Hearty, matly, wonder the Paulaner monks used this brew as a replacement for food during Lent.


Paulaner Oktoberfest

Brewed by: Paulaner Brauerei (Schorghuber)

Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest

ABV: 6.0%

Taste: Dark malt, sweet


Köstritzer Schwarzbier

Brewed by:  Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei (Bitburger) 

Style: Schwarzbier (black beer)

ABV: 4.8%

Taste: Coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malt



Brewed by: Bitburger

Style: Classic Pilsener

ABV: 4.8%

Taste: Refreshing, crips, hoppy, clean (I think it tastes better from a can)


Spaten Oktoberfest

Brewed by: Spaten-Franziskaner-Brau (InBev)

Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest

ABV: 5.9%

Taste: Roasted malt, slightly hoppy


Sam Adams OctoberFest

Brewed by: Boston Beer Company, Boston

Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest

ABV: 5.3%

Taste: Roasted malt, caramel, slight toffee


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