This post comes courtesy of Williams-Sonoma associate and beer enthusiast Dennis Ayles.
Are your bags packed? In just one week, the Mayor of Munich will tap the first keg of the Oktoberfest celebration this year.
Munich has hosted Oktoberfest for the past 200 years, spreading the fun over 16 days, starting in September and ending in early October. The modern-day festival has grown to just over 7 million visitors — who each consume about a liter of beer. It consists of around 14 beer tents, and all beer served must be brewed in Munich, limiting the offerings to only six brewers. Each tent is unique, serving different types of German fare and beer, accompanied by live entertainment (traditional and pop).
If you’re not headed to the festival, no need to sulk: the United States holds several hundred large Oktoberfest celebrations every year. Even if your local one only lasts a weekend, it will allow you to enjoy some great beers you only see once a year and to learn more about German culture through dance, art and food.
Several Oktoberfest beers are beginning to show up in grocery stores, as well. Here are a few I have tried and enjoyed:
|Hacker-Pschorr OktoberfestThis beer is my favorite of the ones I tried. The Hacker-Pschorr had the best balance and complexity, starting with a very sweet nose of roasted caramel and ending with a subtle bitter finish.
|Paulaner OktoberfestThe looks of the Paulaner in the glass sold me from the start, with great head and lacing. It has a slightly sour taste that turned me off at first, but the roasty flavor grew stronger with every sip, ending with a delicious taste.
|Spaten OktoberfestThis brew had a similar flavor profile to the Paulaner, with a much drier, more bitter finish.
|Hofbrau OktoberfestThis beer poured very golden in color compared to the other amber ones. I anticipated it to be very light, but in contrast, it had great weight on the tongue. The nose was very sweet and slightly sour, which I feared would result in a very overpowering sour taste. Luckily, the Hofbrau finished with honey undertones.|
Prost! Check out our Oktoberfest menu for hearty dishes to accompany a tall stein of beer.
About the author: Dennis Ayles, from Inventory Management, is our resident beer expert here at Williams-Sonoma. He keeps everyone up to speed on the latest trends, his favorite brews and what we should be drinking.