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Oktoberfest: Story of a Party

It might come as a surprise to many of you, but Oktoberfest didn’t start as a beer festival and it is celebrated more in September, than October, in Germany!

The first “Oktoberfest” was a wedding reception for Prince Ludwig I, who married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The marriage took place on October 12th, 1810 and the citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held outside the city gates. Despite copious amounts of beer being consumed, horse races were the focus of the event and they marked the close of the festival.

The decision to repeat the horse races in subsequent years gave rise to the tradition of Oktoberfest. The festival was moved to where it started on the 3rdSaturday of September, commencing with a parade, and lasting until the first week of October. So, most of this October festival is celebrated in September.

It wasn’t until March 1872, when advances in brewing technology and understanding were reached, that a pale-amber beer was brewed and stored (“lagered”) until September. It was called Marzenbier and was ready in time for the Oktoberfest.

So an October festival is celebrated in September with March beer?! Yes… well, it was. Now they have “Festbier” and that’s another confusing rabbit-hole for another time.

Less History, More Beer!

So, what is an Oktoberfest/Marzen beer supposed to be? A crisp, clean amber lager with a rich, toasty and bready malt flavor and dry finish. They’re easy, approachable “crowd pleasers” and great with the caramelized flavors of grilled or roasted anything.

Ayinger Oktoberfest

You can look online at just about every rating website or app for confirmation, but this is the best example of the style we see in Texas every year. Crowds of adoring fans wait for this beer to arrive on store shelves every year and it’s often the first to sell out.

Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest

This one has been harder to find than Ayinger in years past, but fans have been fanatical enough to keep this on our radar. It’s another of the Oktoberfest offerings produced and available only during the season.

Real Ale Oktoberfest

Everyone’s got their favorite locally brewed Oktoberfest, but we’re going to hang our hat in Blanco. Real Ale’s ability to produce consistently beautiful, well crated lagers has always got us thirsty for something from them, and their flawless example of this classic style satisfies.

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