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TIP OF THE DAY: Have An Oktoberfest Party

On Saturday, as we were enjoying a cup of coffee on a bench at an entrance to Central Park, a stream of people in dirndl skirts and lederhosen passed by us, en route to an Oktoberfest celebration.

That, and the arrival of a sample bottle of Samuel Adams Oktoberfest beer, reminded us that it’s that time of year.

Oktoberfest is an annual 16-day beer festival held since 1810 in Munich, Germany, the heart of Bavaria. While it’s called Oktoberfest (German for October feast), the event begins in late September and ends in early October.

It is said to be the world’s largest fair, with more than 6 million people drinking more than 7 million liters of beer.

Oktoberfest-style beer is traditionally the first beer of the brewing season in Germany: the Beaujolais Nouveau of Germany, as it were. It’s a Märzen-style beer: a lager that is amber in color, smooth and malty and about 6% or higher ABV.

 

A glass of Samuel Adams Oktoberfest beer.
Photo courtesy Fequals.com.

 
To be labeled Oktoberfest beer in Germany, a beer must conform to the Reinheitsgebot (the German beer purity law), which dictates a minimum of 6% alcohol (by comparison, America’s Budweiser has 5%). The beer must also be brewed within the city limits of Munich.

Märzen gets its name from the last month in which the beer was traditionally brewed. Before refrigeration, March was the last month that beers could be “lagered,” or put in cold storage. The beers would then age during the summer, to be enjoyed by fall harvest.

 


Brats and German potato salad: classic
Oktoberfest fare. Photo by Rudi Sills | IST.

  HAVE AN OKTOBERFEST PARTY

Other cities around the world hold their own Oktoberfests, and you can do your own on a small scale: Gather the beer and the refreshments and call your beer-loving friends.

Oktoberfest beer is typically enjoyed with a variety of traditional German foods. Märzen’s rich roasted malt character pairs perfectly with traditional brats and roasted meats. The roasty malts also complement and mellow the sweetness of desserts with similar flavors, like the caramel richness of crème brûlée, a caramel sundae or blondies (not Oktoberfest traditions).

Here’s our guide to food parings and for throwing an Oktoberfest party.
 
HOIST A STEIN

Each Oktoberfest season, Samuel Adams hosts a National Stein Hoisting Competition at thousands of bars, eateries and festivals nationwide.

 
The two hoisters who hold their steins up the longest—one male and one female—will be crowned the Samuel Adams National Stein Hoisting Champions and win a trip for two to Oktoberfest 2014 in Munich, Germany.

Stein hoisting events will be hosted at Oktoberfest celebrations in Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Miami, Nashville, Washington, D.C., among other places, from now through October 20. Visit SamuelAdams.com for full event listings.
 
HOW MANY TYPES OF BEER CAN YOU NAME?

Check out the different types of beer in our Beer Glossary.

  




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