As Summer draws to a close, and we find it harder to justify knocking back the Tropical IPA's. It's time to look toward darker days and Bavarian beers. For us, that means one thing: Oktoberfest. Which, despite its namesake begins in September. While you'll have to wait until later this year before you can attend Oktoberfest in person, you can still join in the celebrations around the world with our bountiful Oktoberfest Mixed Case. And if you feel like getting off your sofa, throughout the month Beer Merchants Tap will have more German beers on draught than you can shake a Bratwurst at. Wunderbar!
Oktoberfest began over 200 years ago as a celebration of the marriage of King Ludwig I & Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in 1810, with horse racing and competitions. Over time this became a festival of all things Bavarian culture, and today is perhaps most recognisable for its historical costumes and traditional Munich speciality beers.
The beers drank at Oktoberfest are Märzen (March) beers, brewed earlier in the year to prevent spoiling in the warmer months. Märzen is richer and sweeter than its Helles counterpart, usually with less bitterness too. Only 6 Breweries are allowed to make beers for Oktoberfest, and I’ve had the difficult job of trying them all in advance!
One of the most popular Oktoberfest beers with over 1 million litres sold each year, Paulaner are clearly doing something right. At 6% this is surprisingly easy drinking thanks to the light hop profile combined with caramelised malts, extremely refreshing.
Coming in at a touch under 6% this brew is light and sweet, definitely one to session. A fun fact for your Oktoberfest pub quiz: the festival is still held on land donated by Joseph Pschoor who was brewmaster at the time of Prince Ludwig’s wedding.
Bumping it up to 6.3% this beer is one of the more bitter of the bunch. If you’re planning on trying all the Oktoberfest beers in one sitting, I’d probably save this one to the end, as I found it the most intense of bunch. At this point, I should probably throw in some technical jargon like bottom vs top fermentation but honestly, if you’ve made it this far, I reckon you get it. But, in case you didn’t Ale is fermented by yeast being added at the top and higher temperature giving a more pronounced flavour. While Lager (and Märzen) is added at the bottom, which is colder resulting in a slower, more clean flavour.
This is the only Oktoberfest beer that I felt had a degree of spice to it, almost citrusy but not sour, sumac perhaps. There is a definite fizzing sensation right at the beginning. It's is a full bodied & malty brew with a hint of spice & a yeasty tang. So whether you choose to wear your lederhosen or dirndl or not, Löwenbräu is sure to Release Your Inner Bavarian after the very first sip.
Unfortunately, Augustiner doesn’t sell their Oktoberfest beer outside of Germany. However, they make some of the best lagers in the world. Smooth with a light, hoppy finish. If you’re in the market for an in-between beer while trying the Oktoberfest bevs you can’t go wrong with Augustiner, and thankfully a couple are included in the Oktoberfest Mixed Case
Look, I genuinely applaud you for skipping to the end to see what I’ve got to say. The reality is that the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516 means that Oktoberfest beers are going to be traditional in style, you’re not supposed to be looking to see if you can find opulent nuances of toasted Masa Harina (surprise, there aren’t any). The joy of Oktoberfest is celebrating tradition and arguing with your mates that this beer, right here, is better than the one you just had.
The Beer Merchants Oktoberfest Mixed Case is currently 10% off. Do yourself a favour, grab one for yourself, and one for your mate to ensure free shipping and to have someone to set the world to rights with.