It’s almost time for every beer drinker’s favorite holiday – that’s right, Oktoberfest is right around the corner. Drinking original Bavarian beer recipes, enjoying fantastic traditional German food and outfitting yourself in traditional wear, you’re sure to have an unforgettable time this year.
So, break out the lederhosen and grab your favorite stein - learn how to celebrate Oktoberfest in style with our best beer recommendations and more.
Oktoberfest, known locally as d’Wiesn after Theresienwiese Fairgrounds in the Munich borough of Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt, is the largest annual folk festival in the world. While the official event takes place in Munich, there are events around the world that participate in the celebration, serving up their own unique flavor of Bavarian-style food, drink and fun. In cities across the USA, you’ll find a celebration close to you, or you can throw your own!
Even though the popularity of the celebration has risen dramatically in the past two decades, it’s an event that started over 200 years ago, with the marriage of Bavaria’s Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese in October of 1810. As with most weddings, the afterparty was filled with strong drinks and hearty feasts – however, this wedding celebration happened to last for many days. The party was so successful that the local townsfolk requested King Ludwig to continue the celebration the following years, snowballing into the grand get-together that it’s known as today.
The event carries other traditions that go well beyond just lagers. You may try beer from one of the original six breweries: Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner and Spaten. But, you’ll also get the chance to experience unique food, clothing, music, competitive events and more that have come to be associated with the event, as well.
This year, the official Oktoberfest event in Munich was canceled due to health restrictions put in place by Bavaria's Prime Minister and Munich's Lord Mayor. However, it normally takes place in mid-September, running for 16 to 18 days, ending on the first Sunday in October. And, even if Bavaria is off limits this year, you can still celebrate in your own way with the perfectly themed beer – excuse us – bier.
Best Oktoberfest Beers to Try
Now that you have some background on this epic beer-drinking occasion, let’s dive into the best lagers, weisses and other German-style drinks that you need to put on your radar this year.
1. Karl Strauss Oktoberfest
In honor of this Bavarian beer party, Karl Strauss released Oktoberfest, a seasonal lager that’s aptly named to mark the celebration. With Vienna and Munich malts, you’ll experience a beer full of nutty and toasted-malt flavors, while the addition of Hallertau perle hops offers a smooth, balanced finish.
With five percent alcohol by volume (ABV), you can enjoy sipping on this beverage all day. Remember to bring along an Imperial Pint and tip a few back in convenient style while keeping your drink cold for up to 12 hours.
2. Spaten Oktoberfest Ur-Märzen
Crafted in 1872, Spaten’s Ur-Märzen is known as Bavarian’s original Oktoberfest beer. In fact, the official festival doesn’t start until the mayor of Munich taps the first keg of Spaten “Oktoberfestbier”, so you know you’ll be tasting an authentic Bavarian recipe. You’ll get a balanced roasted malt flavor mixed with the right amount of hops. With such a time-honored tradition, you’re ready to celebrate like a German.
3. Oachkatzlschwoaf Oktoberfest Lager
Malty, yet well balanced, Oachkatzlschwoaf Oktoberfest Lager will make you feel like you’re at Theresienwiese. You know this option is one of the best, as the name translates to “tail of a squirrel”. Oachkatzlschwoaf is a phrase which native Austrians use to jokingly test other German speakers on their fluency in Austrian-German. Pronounce it correctly and you may convince more than a few people that you’re Austrian. Not only that, it’s one of America's Top Oktoberfest Beers, according to Food and Wine.
When you’re ready to join in the festivities, the best way to enjoy this lager is with a Hopsulator Trio. This is the world’s most versatile can cooler. In fact, it fits 16 oz craft cans and has a freezable adapter for 12 oz cans. And, with one quick switch, it turns into a 16oz pint glass. Time to let that bier flow!
4. Hofbrau Original
One taste of Hofbrau Original, and you’ll feel like you’ve struck gold, at least in terms of taste. With sweet grains, yeast, fresh honey and just the right amount of hops, you’ll keep going back to refill your stein.
If you’re in search of a piece of drinkware that keeps your brew cool at your Oktoberfest bash, try BrüMate’s Hopsulator Bott’l. This option is guaranteed to keep all of your favorite 12 oz bottled beers at the perfect temperature all day and well into the night.
5. Great Lakes Brewing Co Oktoberfest
This German style beer from Great Lakes Brewing offers plenty of malty flavors that will supply you with an autumnal party in your mouth. Known as a best-in-class example of a timeless Bavarian drink, the easy-drinking flavor of Oktoberfest is hearty yet approachable.
With notes of earthy hops, smooth flavors of caramel and baked bread, this Oktoberfest beer is a celebration of all things malt! O’zapft is! Oktoberfest is here! The best part is that it pairs great with all of the classic Oktoberfest foods, from potato pancakes to roasted pork loin.
6. Avery Brew Co - The Kaiser
This limited-release Imperial Oktoberfest Lager is one of the most popular styles of beer in Bavaria and throughout the world. The Kaiser combines rich, toasted Vienna and Munich malts with just a bold amount of hops from the Hallertau and Bravo regions. If you’re looking to capture the taste of Oktoberfest in a glass, pour yourself a hefty amount of this tasty award-winning beer from Avery Brew Co.
7. Hacker Pschorr Weisse
Hacker-Pschorr has been serving up beer for centuries – that’s right – centuries. Since 1417, the brewery has come up with all sorts of Bavarian specialties, like this weisse option. Artfully crafted with fresh flavors, Hacker-Pschorr beers are brewed in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot (purity law) of 1516, which mandates that beer brewed in Bavaria consist of only malted barley, water and hops.
Only beer conforming to the standards laid out in Reinheitsgebot, and brewed within the city limits of Munich, can be served at the Munich Oktoberfest. Don’t pass this opportunity to drink like a true Bavarian with this weisse.
We Have the Beer, Now What?
You’ve got your drinks covered, now it’s time to find the best Oktoberfest-inspired fare. With so many tasty traditional foods to try, you’ll find something that’s sure to satiate your appetite. Even if you can’t necessarily pronounce the name, you really can’t go wrong.
Here are some classics that you should pick up for the celebration.
Hendl (Roasted Chicken)
Without hendl, it’s not Oktoberfest, so the saying goes. Over 500,000 roasted chickens are sold at the event each year. With a crispy, flavorful finish, and generous amounts of salt and paprika, your taste buds will thank you for trying this delicious dish.
Oktoberfest is an event filled with traditional foods, like German sausages. Try everything from traditional bratwurst to beer bratwurst to cheese-filled Austrian Käse Krainer. The options are nearly endless. Make sure to add a baked loaf of Bavarian Bologna-type sausage, also known as Leberkäse.
Pretzels are another Munich classic that work great as a snack or as a hearty meal in itself. Large, double-twist, salted pretzels offer the right mix of doughy, crunchy goodness that are easy enough to make at home.
Kraut und Radieschen
This cabbage and radish dish is a true Bavarian snack, featuring pickled krauts, pickled cucumbers, salted raw kohlrabi and sliced radishes. They’re great paired with pretzels, mustard, sausages and – of course – beer. A crunchy, spicy finger food, you’ll polish off this dish in no time.
Dumplings and Spätzle
A satisfying potato and pasta side dish that’s the perfect mate for pork knuckles and sausages covered in gravy. Potato dumplings, half grated or half mash, and bread dumplings are traditional staples at Oktoberfest. Soak up extra gravy or meat juices with Spätzle egg noodles.
Don’t forget your traditional Bavarian condiment. Slather tangy, sweet, dark-brown Bavarian mustard on everything from sausages to pretzels to dumplings. Or, go for yellow Düsseldorf mustard that offers more heat. Yet another option is curry ketchup that’s served with Oktoberfest’s famous currywurst.
What to Wear at Oktoberfest
Even those with a basic understanding of Oktoberfest know that the right clothing for men and women are a great way to show your celebrative side. These are not costumes but an important part of the Oktoberfest tradition, and slipping on your best lederhosen or dirndl will help you fit in with the locals.
The outfits you’ll see people wearing at Oktoberfest are synonymous with Bavarian clothing. In the past, the clothes worn by men and women of the country told us a lot about their culture and status. These “tracht” are traditional garments that identify someone as belonging to a specific social group or their legal status (married, single), origin or trade. In modern times, the phrase is used to describe any dress wear reminiscent of the garments of rural communities.
Women’s Clothing At Oktoberfest
You’ll find most women in the traditional dress, known as dirndls. Made up of a blouse, dress and apron, this traditional Bavarian outfit is a popular option for any woman who wants to look great while celebrating the culture of Munich. A traditional dirndl should sit at knee level or lower. Any shorter and you may be pegged as a tourist.
Men’s Clothing At Oktoberfest
Men, on the other hand, wear lederhosen, which is literally translated to leather pants. Traditional lederhosen should be either short-style or three-fourths leg length. On the top, go with a classic white button-down or mix it up with a red- or blue-checkered pattern. Add suspenders and a felt hap to round out the ensemble.
Throw Your Party!
Now that you know the best beer, food and clothing to help you celebrate, you’re ready to party like a Bavarian during Oktoberfest 2021. And, when you want to enjoy the event in style, make sure you’re prepared with the right piece of drinkware. Visit BruMate’s online shop to explore the best beer drinking tumblers, can coolers, pint glasses and so much more to mark the occasion. Prost!
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