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Best Oktoberfest Beers

While Munich’s famed Oktoberfest will not go on this year due to COVID-19, we’re still reaching for ice-cold bottles to channel the spirit of the event at home. Copper-colored Oktoberfest (aka märzen) beers are traditionally brewed in March and laid to rest in cool cellars until fall, and they’re malty, medium-bodied and an ideal match for the rich flavors of autumn. More than 7 million liters of beer are poured at the annual fest, and thankfully you don’t need to cross the Atlantic to partake—here are a dozen delicious takes on the beloved beer style.

Avery The Kaiser Boulder, CO, 8% ABV
At almost twice the strength of traditional märzenbiers, Avery’s The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest Lager sports a gorgeous copper hue with notes of caramel and a wallop of floral hops. This bold beer is the perfect partner for rich soups and roasted chicken.

Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen Aying, Germany, 5.8% ABV
Ayinger’s brewery is located a mere 30 minutes from Munich, meaning its storied Oktober Fest-Märzen is a genuine taste of the renown festival. This märzen is full in body but remains clean, balancing malt-driven richness with just the right amount of zippy hop flavor.

Brooklyn Oktoberfest Brooklyn, N.Y., 5.5% ABV
Brewed in traditional style with only German hops and malts, this award-winning Oktoberfest carries the banner of a beer tradition that goes all the way back to Prince Ludwig of Bavaria’s day. The beer’s toasty malts and crisp finish are great paired with fall stews and end-of-the-summer grilled brats.

Great Lakes Brewing Co. Oktoberfest Cleveland, Ohio, 6.5%
A crisp framework defines this clean, slightly spicy märzen from Ohio’s Great Lakes Brewing. Bonus: if you make it out to the brewpub, try the barley pretzels made with spent grains from this beer’s production cycle.

Hacker-Pschorr Original Oktoberfest Munich, Germany, 5.8% ABV
Introduced at the first-ever Munich Oktoberfest in 1810, this stalwart selection made with Hacker-Pschorr’s exclusive yeast strain and Hallertau hops remains a seasonal classic. The centuries-old brewery uses Bavarian summer barley and Alpine spring water to define the beer’s sweet, toasty flavor and malt-forward profile.

Heater Allen Bobtoberfest McMinnville, OR, 6.1%
Specializing in German and Czech-style beers, the father-and-daughter team behind this Oregon outfit brew one of the best fest beers around. The rust-colored, unfiltered Bobtoberfest is made with a mix of Vienna and Munich malts and hopped with a heaping of Spalt. Loaded with aromas of raisin and caramel, the lager delivers dry and crisp in the mouth, packing an herbaceous bitter bite and a creamy finish which make it deliciously repeatable.

Left Hand Brewing Company Oktoberfest Longmont, Colorado, 6.6% ABV
The foamy head and full aroma of Left Hand’s Oktoberfest are promising signs for those looking to sip along the lines of the standard style. At 6.6 percent, this lager may boast a bumped up ABV but is full of biscuit flavors with barely any residual sweetness and culminates in a deliciously dry and spicy finish.

Live Oak Brewing Company Oaktoberfest Del Valle, TX, 5.8%
Live Oak’s take on a festbier blends Bavarian customs with Texan tastes. This decoction-mashed brew is made with German malts and a touch of Noble hops. It carries a creamy mouthfeel and warming spice notes, and delivers an additional boost of rich sweetness.

Paulaner Oktoberfest-Märzen Munich, Germany, 5.8% ABV
Among the original six beers poured at the inaugural Oktoberfest, this märzen is a palate pilgrimage for any true fan of the style. With notes of toffee, bread and a slight hop bitterness on the finish, Paulaner’s Oktoberfest remains timeless for a reason.

Samuel Adams OktoberFest Boston, MA, 5.3%
Hopped with two classic German hop varieties, Sam Adam’s ever-popular, exceedingly drinkable Oktoberfest is celebrating its 30th season for good reason: The beer is creamy yet clean, with a light malty sweetness and a bitter backbone for superb balance. Pair this slightly spiced refresher with fall fare such as pot roasts.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Oktoberfest Chico, California, 6% ABV
Producing a yearly German-American beer collab, for 2019 Sierra Nevada teamed up with Germany’s family-owned Bitburger Braugruppe for this brand new release which brought Bitburger’s Siegelhopfen (“sealed hops”) and house yeast outside the brewery’s confines for the first time. The sweet aroma of bread fills the nose, while the beer is full of typical Oktoberfest spices and embodies a quaffable German lager.

Surly Brewing Co. Oktoberfest Minneapolis, MN, 6% ABV
Surly Brewing knows traditions are meant to be tested, which is why this newly released take on a malt-forward märzen ever so slightly breaks the mold. Using a five-malt mash and two types of German hops, this golden beer is bigger and bolder with bitter notes for balance.

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