7 Picks: The Best of Oktoberfest26 Sep
Bottle Shop guru Chris chooses his top seven Oktoberfest beers from the Drygate shelves.
Märzen beer (most commonly known as Oktoberfestbier) has its roots in Bavaria, dating back to the 16th Century, but only became tied to Oktoberfest in the 17th century when it would be brewed in April and kept in dark cellars over the summer months, ready to be served up for the yearly Autumn holiday. It is characterised by a medium body, malty taste and amber colour, although some breweries still produce a traditionally dark brown Märzen, usually for export to the USA.
Now with the history lesson out of the way, let’s have a look at the Drygate Shop’s new ‘Seasonal’ area and the Oktoberfestbiers available to quench your Autumnal Thirst.
Brooklyn – Oktoberfest
Although Brooklyn is (obviously) an American brewery, the Märzen they produce and label as their ‘Oktoberfest’ beer is not the traditional dark brown colour that is most associated with US Oktoberfest but instead a gorgeous clear-amber, almost like a fine brandy. On the nose, this is a captivating beer, with notes of cherry, herbs and sanguine oranges.
A light, crisp mouth-feel complements the fruit notes and the malty undercurrent, with a dry & slightly sweet finish.
Flying Dog – Dogtoberfest
Flying Dog have produced a fairly traditional Märzenbeer that pours deep a deep red-amber colour with a light aroma of caramel malts with a touch of nuttiness. The flavour follows the nose almost exactly, with a roasted malt character and herbal leafy hops, adding bitterness that goes along well with the medium-bodied mouth-feel.
Hacker-Pschorr – Oktoberfest Märzen
As you would expect from one of the most well-known breweries in Munich, Hacker-Pschorr also have their own yearly Oktoberfest offering. As with the beer from Brooklyn, this Märzen pours with a lighter colour, almost like a honeyed yellow. The aroma brims with the scent of brown bread and honey however the taste deviates into a chewy mouthfeel with caramel malts and a slight hint of banana with a slight bitterness to the finish.
Paulaner – Oktoberfestbier
From one Munich giant to another, with this Märzen offering from Paulaner. The pour is clean with a deeper amber colour, but not quite as dark as the Flying Dog which remains our darkest offering. The aroma is similar to the Hacker-Pschorr but with a hefty dose of spicy hops. The taste follows the nose, with caramel and toasted malts with minimal sweetness and a slight bitterness, complementing the light to medium body.
Erdinger – Oktoberfest Weizen
And now for something completely different… From the name & the brewery, I would have expected this to be a straight-up wheat beer, masquerading as an Oktoberfest tradition but there is almost none of the classic German wheat beer character present here. Information on the bottle is limited, but after some research (Read: GOOGLE!) my best guess would be that this is a Märzen-style beer with wheat malt. Maybe. Anyway, to the beer! A deep tawny colour when poured, the nose is quite restrained, giving away hints of banana and mild clove. The crisp character would suggest this is almost a lager with a bright bitterness balancing a fruity centre and a subtle malty backdrop.
If Oktoberfest isn’t your thing, don’t despair - we at the Drygate Bottle Shop have plenty more to offer! For those poor souls that missed out on Ninkasi by Wild Beer (See September recommendations) we have a limited amount back in stock – so come in and see us for this delightful Champagne-Apple-Saison wonder.
Stay tuned to the blog for another seven (non-Oktoberfest) recommendations and a breakdown of our limited edition Studio Brew range very soon...