Despite the name, Oktoberfest kicks off at noon on Saturday, Sept. 6, when the Mayor of Munich, Germany, taps the first keg. Billed as the world's largest fair, millions attend Oktoberfest each year, washing down wurst, sauerkraut and steckerlfisch (fish on a stick) with large mugs of the local quaffable lager. You don't have to travel to Deutschland to get a taste of the celebration, though. The spirit of the festival has traveled around the world in both German and local festbier-style brews. Check out the Oktoberfest offerings from these breweries:
Payette Brewing $1.59-$1.89
This local festbier pours a golden amber with a decent head that collapses quickly. There's a bit of earthiness to the cracked wheat, soft malt and fruit aromas. Lightly toasted, smooth malt dominates the palate, backed by fresh baked bread, touches of herb and peach, and just a whiff of hops. It's a credible nod to Oktoberfest brews.
Sierra Nevada $1.59-$1.80
Each year, Sierra Nevada collaborates with a German brewery to craft a Festbier. This year it's Brauhaus Miltenberger, a golden brew with a decent head and aromas of roasted corn, caramel and spice. Beautifully balanced in the mouth, there's a nice hop profile, sourdough bread flavors and lightly sweet malt. What's not to like?
This is the real deal from a German brewery with a history dating back 1,000 years, making it the world's oldest. This crystal clear festbier is a straw color with a nice mix of malt, grain, herb and hop aromas. The palate of bright fruit flavors, smooth malt, spice and just the right hit of hops is absolutely delicious, making this a near perfect festbier.