PD’s own dissect beer. Leave the pretentiousness on the curb.
Oktoberfest started as a wedding celebration in Bavaria in 1810. Two centuries later in 2009, Great Lakes Brewing Company brewmaster Mark Hunger tied the knot and poured his brewery’s Oktoberfest lager at his own autumn wedding reception.
“Picking the beer for the wedding was a no-brainer. From what I can remember, it was a hit,” he says with a laugh. “We went through a keg.”
The tradition of Hofbräu Munchen began on September 27, 1580, when Duke Wilhelm V founded the brewhouse in Munich. A little less three hundred years later on October 12, 1810, at the wedding of the Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, the “first” Oktoberfest was celebrated. Two years later the Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier was brewed.
In 2003, the Hofbräu concept crossed the Atlantic Ocean opening a mini-brewery and restaurant in the style of the original Hofbräuhaus in Newport, KY, bringing the German beer to America.
For many German beer fans, late September doesn’t just mark the onset of autumn or the beginning of a new school year. It’s the only time of year for eating too many brats, listening to polka music of questionable quality and drinking delicious beer. It’s Oktoberfest! During any other year, many would be dusting off their lederhosen and making pretzel necklaces, while visions of frothy overflowing beer steins danced in their heads.
Yet, even though COVID-19 is, sadly, torpedoing our hopes of having in-person Oktoberfest events this year, never fear. There’s still plenty of first-rate Oktoberfest beers to be had. Here in the Washington, D.C., Beltway area, those mourning the cancellation of this year’s festivities are finding solace in Port City Brewing’s exceptional take on the classic Oktoberfest Märzen Lager. Despite only being distributed in D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and some select areas of New York and North Carolina, this beer has gained international renown. It took home the gold medal at the 2014 World Beer Championships, silver at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival and is currently ranked the 27th best Oktoberfest/Märzen style beer in the world by reviewers on Beer Advocate.
The concept of an Oktoberfest style beer conjures up whimsical stories similar to those about the creation of IPA and Saison. Cute stories, but not quite accurate.
In a year when longstanding traditions have been upended by the unconventional, a Denver brewery is aiming to preserve one of beer’s most time-honored rituals. Bierstadt Lagerhaus in Denver, CO, which has been celebrated since its inception for its unwavering dedication to brewing traditional Lagers, is set to release their vaunted Oktoberfest Märzen Lager. This weekend’s release will coincide with the date that the 210-year-old Oktoberfest festival in Munich was originally scheduled to kick-off before being canceled as a result of the pandemic.
With a rich history going back 600 years, Hacker Pschorr is truly one of the OGs of German beer. These guys were doing Reinheitsgebot almost 100 years before there WAS a Reinheitsgebot. This Munich-based brewery produces several dozen different beers, only a handful of which—including Münchner Gold—are distributed in the US.
The global pandemic has put a damper on our oom-pah-pahs and Zicke, zacke, hoi, hois. Indeed, Oktoberfest 2020 — whether it be in Munich or anywhere else — is not quite the same. Nevertheless, the six official Oktoberfest breweries in Munich have not ceased in creating their beers. The youngest of the six, Paulaner, offers not one, but two versions: the historic Märzen that’s available year-round and the Oktoberfest Lager served in Munich during the festivities. For extra fun, search for the special one-liter can and glass mug set.
Autumn weather is approaching — even here in Georgia — but before the bottle shop shelves are covered in pumpkin Ales, there are a plethora of Oktoberfest Lagers to try! One of the best statewide options each year is brewed by Dry County Brewing Company in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Five Years Ago, Flying Dog Brewery shocked the craft beer world by introducing a trendsetting savory beer. Fitting to its abrasive, coastal brand; the brewery crafted a blonde ale called Dead Rise Ale, infamously infused with Old Bay Seasoning. Flying Dog has decided to let the Dead Rise once again, but this time in the form they had initially intended: a Gose.
Deschutes’ Black Butte Porter has been the brewery’s flagship beer since its first year of its existence, and to celebrate the 32nd anniversary of this amazing beer, the brewery released its 2020 anniversary Black Butte XXXII Imperial Porter.
If you’re currently in the mindset that it’s too early for pumpkin beer but too late for summer-only releases, then we’re on the same page. This often means it’s Oktoberfest season, the best season of all! Oktoberfest styles (usually in the form of a Festbier and Märzen) are popping up at the majority of breweries across the city and suburbs, and while it feels slightly earlier than normal (what day is it anyway?), I’m not upset about the early arrival.
Inspired by an annual pilgrimage from Pennsylvania to the Pacific Northwest to pick fresh hops in the Yakima Valley, Tröegs Independent Brewing’s Lucky Holler Hazy IPA fall release is packed with so much citrusy, hoppy aroma it’ll have you hollerin’ for more. By heading straight to the source to walk through rows of bines and crush plump, fresh hops cones in their hands to release the oils and heady aroma, Tröegs’ brewers were able to hand-select the perfect hops for Lucky Holler Hazy IPA.
Buckle up! Great Lakes Brewing Company (GLBC) has some exciting new hardware, and they have already released it through the stratosphere. A year-long favorite that will not disappoint has arrived to wet your whistle during these waning summer weeks, deep into winter. I am talking about Hazecraft IPA, available now everywhere GLBC distributes.
St. Elmo Brewing Company teamed up with Zilker Brewing Company to create a new hard seltzer for Labor Day weekend. Slush Buddies is a seltzer collaboration that neither brewery really saw coming, but both breweries loved the lighthearted approach to making something delicious.
Noon Whistle Brewing Co. has become one of Chicagoland’s go-to breweries for IPAs, especially hazies. The brewery, located in suburban Lombard, Illinois, does IPAs so well that even Planters – a massive global brand – wanted to collaborate with them to create a peanut IPA. However, Noon Whistle is most known for its Gummy Series, a set of hazy, super juicy Northeast IPAs.
Adventure comes in different forms during the current state of the world, and achieving an outdoor reprieve has become all the more essential for the soul. For Minnesotans, Wisconsinites or those up for a road trip, the North Shore of Lake Superior provides an ideal location for fresh air and safe, socially distanced adventure. Located at the base of the North Shore in Duluth, Minnesota, Bent Paddle Brewing Co. (BPBC) supplies great beer to pair with an upcoming trek up the North Shore – maybe none more fitting than the brewery’s Venture Pils.
It seems like it was a lifetime ago when I was writing a craft beer guide to the freshly canceled SXSW Festival. The weeks continued to roll on and, like the majority of urban apartment dwellers, my partner and I felt cooped up with nothing but canceled plans to keep us company. At the end of May, after hearing that my husband and I would both be working remotely at least until the end of the year, we packed up the pup and left Austin, TX.
It had been a long time since my last road trip and much had changed. We headed north to escape the Texas heat and barren landscape. On this trip, masks and hand sanitizer were our new road trip essentials; we stayed at AirBnBs whenever we could and restricted our indoor activities to buying groceries. And after two months on the road, our trip took us to Glacier National Park and Kalispell, MT, a little town with some sizeable beers, like at Sacred Waters Brewing Co.
Seasonal beers are bittersweet. While they often use fresh, quality ingredients and are perfect for the time of year, it also means you only get to drink them for a limited time. Whiner Beer, a brewery on Chicago’s Southside, specializes in barrel-aged beer inspired by Belgium and French practices and has a few seasonal beers their patrons look forward to throughout the year.
Rifting off their permanent Saison LeTub, Bleu Tub is a barrel-aged Saison brewed with blueberries and is only available for half the year. With a dusty purple-ish hue and foamy head, the beer gives off scents of citrus, florals and it perks the nose up. With a smell that is clean, refreshing and inviting, Bleu Tub provides the perfect balance of comfort and excitement.
“There must be some kind of way out of here, said the joker to The Thief.” Obviously Bob Dylan was forecasting a future conversation between the Steve Miller song and the Barrel-Aged Blonde Ale concocted by Societe Brewing Company. While you might be forgiven for thinking ol’ Robert Zimmerman was out of his gourd when putting pen to paper on this exchange, there’s nothing crazy about enjoying Societe’s The Thief.