Dive Into Oktoberfest

By Tom Breeding, Beer Director

Guys, we need to talk about Oktoberfest. “What? Why?! It isn’t even October yet” you say, cluelessly. That’s because most of Oktoberfest takes place in September. “Huh?!” Gimme a second, I can explain. Short version: a little over 200 years ago, a Bavarian prince got engaged, so he threw the best party ever for the entire town that ran for two weeks leading up to the nuptials. Naturally, the town (Munich) thought that was too good to be a one-time thing, so they started recreating the same party every year. Fast-forward to the fall of the Berlin Wall, and German Reunification Day (which conveniently falls on October 3) was looped into the tradition so that now, the festival runs roughly 16 days leading up to it.

Is that an oversimplification of the story? You have no idea. Anyway, Oktoberfest has only been cancelled a handful of times, and only on account of war and/or disease. So there was no Oktoberfest last year, or this year because of you-know-what, but y’know what? That means we’re all having our own Oktoberfest this year, and we can curate all our own beer. Specifically Marzen, the malty, super-quaffable style that’s almost synonymous with the Fest. It’s a fun little tradition we have here in the States to gripe about how early they come out each year, but they sell out faster than you’d expect. Also, everybody makes one, and the quality varies wildly. So let’s talk about some of the ones we love…

Ayinger – one of our favorite German imports, and one of only a handful of German breweries that has its own malting floor, which makes a big difference in a malt-forward beer! Zero Gravity – a super-quenchable take on the somewhat lighter Festbier style (confusing, we know.) Jack’s Abby – who knows lager better than Framingham’s finest? Hofbrau – one of the only breweries featured at the real Oktoberfest that we get, and with a higher abv to boot. Rothaus – the folks who brew one of our favorite pilsners are exporting their festbier for the first time ever this year! Warsteiner – in 12-packs for your volume needs. Look for all these must-have seasonal treasures at the endcap towards the cooler entrance – Prost!