The Best Oktoberfest Beer Options to Serve at Your Backyard Fest
You don't need to travel to Munich to get a taste of the best Oktoberfest beer brands. Here are our top picks for serving up right at home.
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Taste of Home
A Celebration of Beer
Oktoberfest is a German tradition that dates back to 1810. Originally a celebration of the marriage between Bavaria’s Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, this festival has persisted. Oktoberfest is a celebration of all things German—particularly beer.
At the official Oktoberfest in Munich, you’ll find just six breweries: Paulaner, Spaten, Hacker-Pschorr, Augustiner, Hofbrau and Lowenbrau. You’ll find many of these brews stateside along with plenty of other Festbiers inspired by this holiday. Here are our top picks for the best Oktoberfest beer.
This helles lager—meaning “bright”—is a must at Munich’s Oktoberfest celebration. Its bright golden hue is a sign of good things to come. You’ll get some toasted malt notes and a slight honey-kissed flavor. Hofbrau Original is a classic, so be sure to stock up for your own Oktoberfest—along with plenty of brats.
Looking for one of the best Oktoberfest beers? You can’t do much better than Paulaner Hefe Weizen. You’ll find stein after stein being poured in Munich. And you can crack open a bottle or two of this German wheat ale. This unfiltered Paulaner brew is known for its tangy flavor with a hint of fruit.
Hacker Pschorr, one of the official beers of the holiday, makes its own festbier for the occasion. It is, of course, all German. Made with roasted Bavarian barley and water from the Alps, this Hacker Pschorr lager ticks all the boxes for the best Oktoberfest beer. And remember, when you pour, be sure you’re pouring that beer the right way.
Augustiner, one of Munich’s preferred breweries for Oktoberfest, makes a whole host of beers, including Maximator, a deep, dark doppelbock. This richer brew is heavier than the light lagers you typically see during the festival season, but it’s incredibly smooth and satisfying. Enjoy this beer on cool fall days and well into the winter.
Did you know Löwenbräu means “lion’s brew?” This lager lives up to its name: It’s strong and golden. Besides that, Lowenbrau Original is an incredibly smooth sip that’ll keep you refreshed while enjoying these Oktoberfest dinners.
Weihenstephan has been making beer since 725. With over 1,000 years of brewing history, you can bet that this brewery—the oldest in the world!—knows what it’s doing. You’ll be able to taste that experience and quality with the Weihenstephaner Fesbier. This seasonal lager has a rich gold color and some great hoppy notes that’ll have you ready to polka.
Despite its name, Oktoberfest starts in mid-September. Since September weather is often as balmy and lovely as it is in summer, you might still be craving crisp beverages. In that case, reach for a cold Schofferhofer Hefeweizen Grapefruit. This mix of grapefruit juice and a pale weiss beer make this drink absolutely refreshing.
Using three types of malt and the brand’s proprietary hops, Bitburger Festbier is an Oktoberfest brew like no other. With some biscuity notes, this beer is super satisfying. It also packs a punch with 6.2% ABV; that’s significantly higher than the beers you usually find in the cooler.
While it may be brewed in Michigan, Founders Brewing Co. might just fool you with its Oktoberfest German-Style Märzen. That’s because this beer is made with German hops and malt. The result is a copper-colored brew with a great malty flavor and a touch of sweetness. It pairs perfectly with a soft pretzel and cheese dip.
While Shiner is located in Texas, this Oktoberfest brew is all German. Shiner uses German-grown hops, malt and barley to make a traditional Märzen-style beer (that’s just a fancy way of saying a full-bodied German lager). The result tastes like a brew right from Bavaria—just like these recipes from Oma’s kitchen.
Looking to cozy up with a malty beer on one of the fest’s cooler days? Snag a Leinenkugel’s Oktoberfest. This dark lager is perfect with some classic German eats like spaetzle or schnitzel. When you see this Wisconsin-made beer in stores, act fast! It’s only around August through October.
When it’s sweater weather, you’ll start seeing Samuel Adams OctoberFest hitting the shelves. This amber-hued, malty lager is perfect for cooler days at the end of Oktoberfest. It’s also a great pairing for hearty German fare. And remember: If beer isn’t your favorite but you still want to celebrate Oktoberfest, there are lots of delicious German drinks to sip. And don’t forget about Oktoberfest food!