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Old Sep 12, 07, 11:03 pm   #1
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Your favorite Octoberfest/Oktoberfest beer!

Besides the many fine beers you can quaff in Germany during Oktoberfest, what is your favorite store purchased Oktoberfest beer? Mine is Spaten Oktoberfest. It's usually about $26 a case around here. A little less in Costco, when they have it. Sam Adams Octoberfest isn't too bad either.

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Old Sep 13, 07, 10:17 am   #2
 
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While Maerzen or Oktoberfest beers usually arrive into the U.S. from Germany in better shape than many imported styles, there are some excellent "O'fest" style beers brewed in the U.S. as well.

The Samuel Adams Oktoberfest is a fine and widely available choice. Regional breweries with worth-watching-for-if-you're-in-the-area Oktoberfests that I've tasted recently would include Dominion Oktoberfest from Virginia's Old Dominion Brewing Co. (available in the mid-Atlantic states) and Gemuetlichkeit Oktoberfest from Wisconsin's Tyranena Brewing Co. (available in Wisconsin and parts of Illinois). The branches of the Gordon Biersch brewpub chain (they're in more than a dozen states) use the same recipe chain-wide to make excellent Oktoberfests, and it's hard to find a fresher beer than one made in the next room.

I'm sure that there are other local and regional O'fest suggestions that can be made, and I'm looking forward to reading them on this thread so I'll have some ideas of what beers to look for.
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Old Sep 13, 07, 12:19 pm   #3
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So, in 300 words or less, what is the difference between an Octoberfest beer and another style? I've tried Spaten Optimator, for instance, so what is the difference between this and their Octoberfest offering?

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Old Sep 13, 07, 12:33 pm   #4
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I really enjoyed Hacker Psychorr Octoberfest when in Munich for Octoberfest a few times. You can also get it here in bottles and that is good.
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Old Sep 13, 07, 2:03 pm   #5
 
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Originally Posted by Starwood Lurker
So, in 300 words or less, what is the difference between an Octoberfest beer and another style? I've tried Spaten Optimator, for instance, so what is the difference between this and their Octoberfest offering?
Optimator is a doppelbock beer. There are similarities in that the sweetness of malt is the predominant flavor note of both Oktoberfest and doppelbock beers; the malt is more lightly roasted for an O'fest than for a doppelbock but either can have an amber to dark red color and low hop bitterness. The most notable difference between the two styles, especially when you try to stand up, is alcohol content.

A doppelbock will have appreciably more alcohol than the typical Oktoberfest. A Maerzen beer will generally range from 4.5% to 6% alcohol, while doppelbocks start at around 7% and can go up to 13% alcohol. While "doppel" is German for "double", these rarely have exactly twice the alcohol content of a brewery's bock beer.

First developed in medieval abbeys to provide nourishment to fasting monks (you KNEW there was a reason Friar Tuck is so jolly in those Robin Hood tales, right?) bocks and doppelbocks are sometimes known as "liquid bread" for that reason. The German tradition is for the names of doppelbocks to end in "...ator", like Optimator, Ayinger's Celebrator, and Paulaner's Salvator. Many brewers in other countries honor that tradition as well, so a beer with a name ending in ...ator is likely to be a doppelbock.

Some Maerzen-style beers are known as Oktoberfest beers from being served at the festival in Munich but the name Maerzen comes from these being beers brewed in March, before warmer weather made brewing impossible, and stored in cool caves or cellars for drinking during the summer until cooler autumn weather made brewing possible once again.

There you go, Starwood Lurker, and, as you requested, your answer is in approximately 265 words.
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Old Sep 13, 07, 2:23 pm   #6
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Originally Posted by greggwiggins View Post
...There you go, Starwood Lurker, and, as you requested, your answer is in approximately 265 words.
Excellent, and very informative, as usual.

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Old Sep 13, 07, 2:30 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greggwiggins View Post
Optimator is a doppelbock beer. There are similarities in that the sweetness of malt is the predominant flavor note of both Oktoberfest and doppelbock beers; the malt is more lightly roasted for an O'fest than for a doppelbock but either can have an amber to dark red color and low hop bitterness. The most notable difference between the two styles, especially when you try to stand up, is alcohol content.
From an Optimator fan, thanks for the info.
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Old Sep 13, 07, 2:34 pm   #8
 
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One Thing More

I didn't mention this 19th Century brewery gossip because I wanted to be sure my answer remained under 300 words, but supposedly the reason Maerzen beers were served at early Oktoberfests was because the brewers were getting rid of their left-overs.

By selling and serving the last of the Maerzen beer, they emptied the storage barrels and freed them to be filled with newly brewed beer at the time of year when the weather usually allowed them to resume brewing.
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Old Sep 13, 07, 2:37 pm   #9
 
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Optimator or Park Perminator as well are a mule-kick in the butt. Especially if it is a standard German .5 Litre bottle.

Warsteiner makes a decent Oktoberfest brew also. Sam Adams in the states does a very nice job, too.
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Old Sep 13, 07, 3:23 pm   #10
 
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A local brewery Iron Hill, makes a very good Oktoberfest beer. Some of their other beers aren't so great, but I really enjoy their Oktoberfest
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Old Sep 13, 07, 9:15 pm   #11
 
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When I'm AT Oktoberfest - Paulaner

In the states - I agree with the previous suggestion of Tyranena Oktoberfest (2007 vintage) from Lake Mills, WI. Why do I mention vintage? Last year's Oktoberfest had an AWFUL "bouquet". I kid you not, it smelled like vomit, but tasted very good - kind of hard to seperate the taste from the smell in the overall experience however. Overall, Tyranena rocks. It is one of the best breweries I've been to out of several hundred I've visited. The owner/brewer Rob specializes in HUGE pales, IPAs, and a lot of bourbon barrell aged browns, stouts, and porters. It is also quite convenient that I live 10 miles from the brewery.

If anyone on here is ever in the MSN area, it is well worth a visit to Tyranena. And if anyone needs advice for good brewpubs/beers in WI, feel free to PM me.

Also, I was in Pittsburgh a few years ago on business and Penn Brewing had their Oktoberfest celebration going on at the time. Their Oktoberfest and Hefeweizen are outstanding!!
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Old Sep 13, 07, 11:35 pm   #12
 
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Sweetwater, a local Atlanta craft brewery makes a good Oktoberfest, as does Terrapin brewery in Athens.

Both beers are tough to find outside of metro Atlanta, but if you are a Delta flyer at all you'll be here soon enough.
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Old Sep 14, 07, 8:26 am   #13
 
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Later Than The Original But, For Many, Closer Than Munich

In case this discussion is making anyone thirsty...

If you're in the Washington, DC area over Columbus Day weekend, there will be an Oktoberfest in the Shirlington neighborhood of Arlington, Va. from noon to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 6th. Expect 30+ breweries, most bringing their Oktoberfest and at least one other beer, German music, dancing, food booths (not just wurst, but offerings from a lot of the ethnic restaurants in the area). $20 for admission, but that includes beer and a keep-the-glass to drink it from.
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