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Oktoberfestbier: Brewing the World’s Most Famous Party Lager

Whatever its strength, whatever its story, and whatever its color—amber or gold?—festbier ought to be drinkable in quantity. Here we dissect the diverging styles to find out what makes a great (Oktober)festbier tick.

Joe Stange Sep 9, 2021 - 16 min read

Oktoberfestbier: Brewing the World’s Most Famous Party Lager Primary Image

Photo: Matt Graves

It’s one of the most notorious confusions in beer and fodder for endless lager-head fansplaining: Why is our American “Oktoberfestbier” a toasty, sweet amber lager rather than something closer to the sublimely dangerous golden liquid that Bavarians actually drink by the liter at Oktoberfest every year?

Or, to frame the question a different way: Which beer is the real Oktoberfestbier?

It’s a trick question. The answer depends on which Oktoberfest you mean. Which year or era gets to define it?

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