Oktoberfests: German-Brewed Edition

Here, we’ve put together a list of some of the most noteworthy Oktoberfest beers brewed in Germany.

Libby Murphy Oct 20, 2016 - 4 min read

Oktoberfests: German-Brewed Edition Primary Image

Not too long ago, we highlighted some of our favorite Oktoberfests brewed in the United States. Germany is the birthplace of Oktoberfest (both the festival and the beer), and it’s rich in history. The festival has withstood mass epidemics, world wars, and terrorism and it’s still going strong all over the world. We’d be remiss (at the very least) if we didn’t share our favorite German-brewed Oktoberfests, too!

Oktoberfests are also called Märzen, which is German for the month of March. Odd that you’d call a beer by two different months, right? Fun fact: the beer was originally brewed in March, before the hot summer months rolled around—brewing during those months made beer spoilage more likely. The beer lagered in cool, dark caves and cellars, and once October rolled around, all that tasty beer was ready to go. We have far more controlled brewing conditions now, but the beer is still traditionally more popular in the fall (but if you can’t live without it many months of the year, you can find it year-round from many breweries!).

These are some of our picks:

Oktoberfest Märzen by Hacker-Pschorr (Munchen, Germany)

Oktoberfest Märzen is a very popular and award-winning beer in Germany that’s brewed with Bavarian malts, which impart a coppery golden-amber hue and have notes of caramel, toasted bread, fruity cassis, and toffee sweetness. Hellertauer Tradition and Hellertauer Herkules add earthy, grassy, spicy notes, as well as some cedar and pepper.


Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen by Privatbrauerei Ayinger (Aying, Germany)

At first pour, the Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen is a richly hued, yet crystal clear golden-copper color with a thick, nice-sized head. It’s sweetly malted with caramel malt, which gives it a honeyed butterscotch character, and there are hints of toast and biscuit, too. The lagering lends a cornucopia of fruity and floral flavors, and the finish is dry and crisp. A moderate hops bitterness adds some earthy and herbal notes, making this a well balanced beer.

Oktoberfestbier by Augustiner-Bräu München (Munich, Germany)

The Oktoberfesbtier pours a delicate, sparkling light golden color, and has a thick, fluffy head. The malts are sweet and estery, with notes of biscuit, grain, honey, and caramel. Some floral and citrusy-fruity characters come through as well as some grassy notes from the hops. The carbonation is high on this one, giving the beer a light body and a very dry finish.

Mönchshof Festbier by Kulmbacher Brauerei (Bavaria, Germany)

The Mönchshof Festbier is a deep golden hue, has a foamy head, and a moderate amount of carbonation, which gives it a nice body. The malts add a nice touch of sweetness with hints of caramel and roasted malt, and a touch of maple syrup. Grassy hops balance the sweetness of the malt, along with hints of pepper and Christmas spices. Spicy and sulfury notes make up the yeast profile, and the aftertaste is crisp and dry.

Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier by Staatliches Hofbräuhaus München (Munich, Germany)

The Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier is a bright, rich amber-colored beer with coppery highlights, lots of carbonation, and a nice, foamy crown that settles quickly. It’s slightly more than sessionable with its 6.3 percent ABV. This is a less sweet example of an Oktoberfest, with more toasted bread and biscuity characters to the malt. The hops are grassy, earthy, spicy, and moderately bitter.

We’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite German-brewed Oktoberfest beers?

From ingredients to equipment, process, and recipes—extract, partial-mash, and all-grain—The Illustrated Guide to Homebrewing is a vital resource for those new to homebrewing or those who simply want to brew better beer. Order your copy today.

Photo by Alexander Novikov