Having recently opened a Twitter account (TheBeerDoctor2), I sent a tweet to Beer Advocate, jokingly asking if all the Oktoberfest beers could be listed on a single thread. “All is not possible” was their earnest reply, and indeed this is true.
Then there is always the perennial question: Which is the best Oktoberfest? Which is, when I come to think of it, a very silly question indeed. Each brewer has their own take on the Marzen style, Samuel Adams uses five kinds of malt. Leinenkugel four specialty hops. The Stevens Point Brewery in Wisconsin uses Vienna, Crystal, and two-row Munich malts, combined with Tettnanger, Hallertau, and Perle hops. Variations on a theme for sure.
Marzen being a bottom fermented beer takes time to produce. The Saint Arnold Brewery in Texas has their own take on this, replacing lager yeast with a top fermenting ale yeast. While their state brethren over at the Spoetzl Brewery produce Shiner Oktoberfest, using a more traditional approach, which is surprisingly moderate in alcohol. In other words, there is no such thing as the best Oktoberfest. The only criteria is freshness, and which flavor profile you like.
The authentic Oktoberfest beers, which are the six breweries located within the city of Munich, Germany, have a floral note in the finish, which I suspect is due to their proprietary house yeast, of which each brewery is so proud. A fresh five liter can of Hofbrau anyone?
Of course, Marzen style beer is not for everyone. The emphasis on malt, puts off some of the hop obsessed crowd, and quite remarkably, I have read people who say they quickly grow tired of the style, which seems odd, since this style of beer is consumed in the millions of liters.
It is also one of the most food friendly styles, complimenting many hearty dishes. Good beer and good food: what’s there not to love?