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Kronprinz Ludwig, later King Ludwig I, married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810 and the citizens of Munich were invited to attend huge royal festivies in the Theresienwiese (aka, the “Weisn”). While the exact origins of the idea are a mystery, the decision to repeat the festival in 1811 cemented the tradition that we know as Oktoberfest! By it’s 100th anniversary, 120,000 liters of beer were consumed and it was cancelled from 1914-1918 because of WW1. In the last 200+ years, Oktoberfest has not been celebrated in Munich 24 times, but don’t worry because today breweries around the world brew their own take on Oktoberfest beers.
Oktoberfest beers or Märzens that are served at the official festival are supplied by six breweries that brew beer conforming to the Reinheitsgebot, and brewed within the city limits of Munich, they are: Spaten, Löwenbräu, Augustiner-Bräu, Hofbräu-München, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr. Märzen is literally beer made in March, the last practical month for brewing, lagered over the summer, and tapped when matured in the fall. These styles are always offered as a seasonal version that serves as a transitions into the cooler fall months. Here in the USA, we mainly see the amber versions, either those brewed by craft brewers or sent over for export.
- Great Lakes Oktoberfest: If you only drink one Oktoberfest this year, few can match the skill with which Great Lakes Brewing Co. of Cleveland makes German-style lagerbiers in the U.S. It pours full amber and is packed with “rustic, autumnal flavors to put a little more oomph into your oom-pah-pah.” The finish is on the sweetish side and a bit earthy, with the hop bitterness taking a back seat. Big and satisfying. 6.5% ABV, 20 IBU
- Victory Festbier: “Friendship and camaraderie: the two keys to any festive event. And then there’s the beer. It should be full-bodied, yet infinitely smooth. Seductively malty, with a kiss of the hops for balance. This is our Festbier. Painstakingly crafted from German malts, decoction brewed for full flavor and carefully aged for depth of character. Gather with your friends for a festive moment of Victory!” 5.6% ABV
- DuClaw Mad Bishop: This is one of DuClaw’s most popular and longest enduring seasonal beers, having been brewed since 1996, it has been pleasing people with its distinct copper color, and rich toasted malt flavor and aroma. Lagered for 8 weeks, this true-to-style Oktoberfestbier combines sweet and toasted malt with a smooth mouthfeel and a clean, crisp finish for a great drinking experience. 6% ABV, 30 IBU
- Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier: For Oktoberfest, Hofbräu brews a rich, full-bodied beer which goes down ideally with traditional Bavarian cuisine. Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier is as special as the Beer Festival itself. 6.3% ABV
Please note, depending on deliveries, the beers on the Tasting Bar may change!