Oktoberfest Beers: Which is the One for you?
Starting this Saturday, September 21 until Sunday, October 6, more than 6 million litres of beer will be consumed at Oktoberfest 2013 in Munich. But it’s not just any old beer, there are a plethora of brews to choose from. So how do you know which one to drink? Never fear, here’s our Oktoberfest beer guide to make sure you get the best out of your brew this year…
Six traditional Bavarian brands are served at Oktoberfest: Augustiner, Paulaner, Hofbräu, Spaten-Franziskaner, Hacker-Pschorr and Löwenbräu.
For the festival, these brands all produce their own variants of Märzen beer – so called because it is produced in March, or ‘März’. This beer is a little more potent than your ordinary beer. In fact, in the seventeenth century, Bavarian brewers actually invented a system of production so that the beer wouldn’t lose flavour and alcohol content during the summer months – it was then ready for September and October.
This brand’s most famous beers are Augustiner Helles (5.2%), light and blonde, and Edelstoff (5.6%), which is stronger and sweeter. They also produce the traditional Oktoberfest Augustiner Weissbier. This and Edelstoff are the only beers served from wooden barrels.
Where to get it: Augustiner Festhalle and Fischer-Vroni tents.
This brand’s Oktoberfest beer is Paulaner Amber (5.8%). It is the weakest beer served at the festival, and perhaps the most famous. It is characteristically dark amber coloured, and has a milder flavour than the other beers.
Where to get it: Armbrustschützenzelt, Winzerer Fähndl and Käfer Wies’n-Schänke tents.
In 2008 this brew won the gold medal at the World Beer Championship. And who could resist the urge to try one of the best beers in the world? Like Spaten-Franziskaner, Hofbräu’s Märzen beer is light and created specifically to satisfy the variety of international palates at Oktoberfest.
Where to get it: Hofbrau Festzelt.
This brand’s two most famous beers are Pils (0.5%), which was the first beer to be brewed in Munich, and Oktoberfestbier (5.7%), which is a little stronger but lighter in colour. Their specialty is Diät Pils (4.9%) – containing only 32 calories, it’s suitable for diabetics. So you can’t use Oktoberfest as an excuse for straying from your diet…
Where to get it: the Hipodrom, Schottenhammel, and Ochsenbraterei/Spatenbräu tents.
This beer is fermented three times longer than a normal one. The result is an Oktoberfest Märzen (5.8%) with a full and slightly bitter flavour that goes well with the food served in the tents.
Where to get it: Hacker-Festzelt, Bräurosl tent.
Their festival specialty is Wiesenbier (6.1%). Named after the field or ‘Wiesn’ where Oktoberfest is held, it literally means ‘beer of the field’. This beer is a light, bright colour, boasting higher alcohol content than average.
Drink it (but perhaps not too much) in the Schützen-Festzelt and Lowenbrau tents.
Which Oktoberfest beer would you like to try?