Photo Credit: Live Oak Brewing Instagram
It's that time of year again...Oktoberfest season. Time to fill up Das Boot with copious amounts of craft beer and imbibe like a German. Oktoberfest is raging on in Munich right now but that doesn't mean that you have to leave the country to celebrate. There are plenty of really great Oktberfest events across the country for you to live like a German for a day. Hell even if you can't work those into your schedule that doesn't mean you can't strap on your lederhosen and hang at your own house drinking German beers. Go for it, I won't judge, just be sure to choose the right beer.
There are plenty of great Oktoberfest beer variations to pick from especially when it comes to the traditional German breweries. One of my prime time traditional picks is Spaten, the Godfather of them all, and you cannot go wrong with my absolute favorite, Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen. It's delicious!
But, what about some examples from the breweries stateside? Turns out, the United State of IPA can actually produce some tasty German inspired beers as well. Here are a few of my favorites to help fill your stein in this oh-so-important season.
What are the Best American Brewed Oktoberfest beers?
New Glarus Brewing Staghorn Oktoberfest
Photo Credit: New Glarus Brewing So. Instagram
Wisconsin is filled with Germans and more bratwurst than you will know what to do with. That said, it isn't surprising that a brewery from the badger state is making one of the absolute best Oktoberfest beers our country has to offer. The toasted bread flavor flows into sweet caramel goodness that is lightly wrapped in cinnamon and finishes mildly floral. Refreshing and dangerously quaffable it is as good as our country has to offer in this style. Sadly, though you'll have to go to Wisconsin to experience its deliciousness, they don't distribute outside of the state. Not a problem if you're a Packers fan like me. Go Pack! Go!
Sierra Nevada / Bitburger Oktoberfest
Photo Credit: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Instagram
Sierra Nevada has been around the bush a few times and they know what it takes to make a good beer. So it makes sense that they teamed up with legendary German Brauhaus, Bitburger to produces this tasty German Märzen. Toffee and caramel flavors make this one pretty tasty but overall much lighter than I'd expect from this style beer. Oh well, I guess since they go down that easy, I'll just have to drink more of them.Zero Gravity Craft Brewery Oktoberfest Märzen Lager
Photo Credit: Zero Gravity Brewing Instagram
Vermont has more breweries per capita than any other state and Zero Gravity is one of my favorites. They are brewing some excellent beers up in "Beerlington" and their festbier is no slouch. Very true to the German style it delivers a caramel and citrusy sweetness that is well balanced with the earthy almost grassy hops. It is a bit light as well but still highly enjoyable and a well-made rendition of the German classic.
Great Lakes Brewing Oktoberfest
Photo Credit: Great Lakes Brewing Instagram
Great Lakes is one of my favorite breweries and this is arguably the best American made Märzen. Shocker! Germans make up a larger portion of the Cleveland population where they are located. Sweet toasted malts grab your taste buds instantly with their fresh bread flavor then round out nicely with a slight hop bitterness. Flavors like this are as close as you'll come being in Bavaria without actually leaving the U.S.
Urban Chestnut Brewing Company Oachkatzlschwoaf
Photo Credit: Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. Instagram
When the founder and head brewer of your brewery is a pure bread German, it is not surprising that they produce a festbier this good. It's kind of in their blood. In fact, this just might be the best German-style American brewery our country has to offer. I wouldn't attempt to pronounce Oachkatzlschwoaf, but it's meaning "tail of the squirrel" is meant to be a funny play on the brewery's name. A touch darker and definitely boozier than your traditional Märzen style, it still delivers on that yummy malt sweetness while adding a hint of smoke before balancing out with a subtle hoppiness. Prost!
Live Oak Brewing Company Oaktoberfest
Photo Credit: Live Oak Brewing Instagram
Old world brewers in a new world beer scene, Live Oak has been using European traditions to brew their beers in Texas for over two decades. This has made them legendary in their hometown Austin area and beyond. Oaktoberfest is unique in the sense that it has a touch of oak flavor to it. That compliments its malty, almost pumpkin flavored sweetness nicely and balances out well with the earthiness provided by the hops.