No Oktoberfest, No Problem: Drink These 10 Beers Instead

When summer turns to fall, our thoughts turn to Märzen-style lagers and the beer event that celebrates the style. This year, for obvious reasons, Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, has been canceled. This is a real bummer for fans of dirndls, giant beer mugs, day drinking, and pretzels as big as your head. But, while the biggest beer festival on the planet is on hiatus this year, you can still throw on your lederhosen, grab an accordion, and hoist your favorite brews from Löwenbräu, Spaten, Hofbräu. Paulaner, Augustiner, or Hacker-Pschorr. Or, you could try one of the many Oktoberfest-style beers available from U.S. breweries.

“There are many American Oktoberfest-style beers that stand out to me,” says Zachary Shore, bartender at The Nest in Seattle. “The first being from Sierra Nevada out of California.” Shore continues, “For the first time, Bitburger’s house sealed hops and yeast were used outside of the brewery to provide a true German-style Oktoberfest beer in America.” And, although Bitburger isn’t a traditional Oktoberfest beer (the beers have to be brewed in Munich’s city limits), it’s still a win for Sierra Nevada and American beer drinkers.

It seems like every brewery makes an Oktoberfest-style beer these days. To find the best, we asked a handful of bartenders to tell us what Oktoberfest beer they’ll be drinking this fall.

Dry Dock Docktoberfest

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Suman Pradham, director of outlets at Viceroy Snowmass in Snowmass Village, Colorado

Dry Dock Oktoberfest has a light but delightful nose of pilsner malt and earthy hops. It’s very biscuity. The flavor is also light yet inviting with a smooth pilsner base from which a gentle caramel flavor builds mild bitterness with a nice earthy hop character. It’s crisp and clean and smooth. The beer finishes almost creamy, lighter bodied, and well carbonated.

Metropolitan Afterburner

Hayden Miller, head bartender at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Miami

Metropolitan Afterburner is my favorite American beer for the season. The limited release is a shame because this beer absolutely crushes. Balanced and not aggressive with just a touch above that session ABV at around 6%. It’s perfect for a cool autumn eve.

Allagash Tripel

Christopher Farzanrad, bartender at Mila Rooftop Bar in Glendale, California

Allagash brewery beers in general. They have a vast selection. If you are looking for a light, smooth beer, they have the Allagash white. But also have stronger, bitter IPA beers and a perfect beer for fall known as the Allagash Tripel. Technically a Belgian-style Tripel, I still hoist it for Oktoberfest.

Schlafly Oktoberfest

Kurt Bellon, beverage director at Chao Baan in St. Louis

For a crisp, cool autumn night, Schlafly Oktoberfest is perfectly crisp and light to match solid windbreaker weather situation.

Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest

Veronica Flores, bartender in Austin, Texas

I’m definitely going to thank my home state and Sierra Nevada for making a beer that I can still find when I no longer live there. I am a fan of their beer aptly named “Oktoberfest.” I’m typically a sour, gose, or stout beer drinker. But with this one, when it comes to flavor and yearly consistency, is enough to satisfy me.

No Label Oktoberfest

Jon Joseph, director of food and beverages at JL Bar Ranch, Resort & Spa in Sonora, Texas

I am a big fan of No label Oktoberfest beer. It is on a small scale and done correctly. More of a bock than a Märzen, it’s light, refreshing, and perfect for those early fall days.

Samuel Adams Octoberfest

Aaron Miyakawa, director of restaurants at Prince Waikiki in Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

Whenever I celebrate Oktoberfest with friends, the first beer to come to mind is Samuel Adams. I love the deep amber hue and slight hints of caramel that always remind me of the fall season. It’s not heavy but easy drinking as you can enjoy more than one when celebrating this festive holiday.

Brooklyn Oktoberfest

Andrew Erickson, lead bartender at Fable Lounge in Nashville

The best beer to have during Oktoberfest is Brooklyn Brewery’s Oktoberfest. It’s a classic Märzen style with sweet maltiness, bready aromas, and subtle hoppy bitterness. It will pair well with any yeasty bread that can be served with unctuous meats or cheeses. Enjoy a fresh poured Brooklyn Oktoberfest with burgers, sausages, or soft pretzels — all of your classic Oktoberfest grub. Just be sure to buy your lederhosen one size up.

Left Hand Oktoberfest

Zachary Shore, bartender at The Nest in Seattle

My go-to Oktoberfest style beer is from Left Hand brewing out of Colorado. At 6.6 percent, it is one of the higher ABV Oktoberfests you can get, but make no mistake this beer drinks dry and crisp with subtle notes of biscuit and spice.

Rahr and Sons Oktoberfest

Jeff Wood, creative director at Rahr and Sons Brewing Co. in Fort Worth, Texas

Rahr and Sons Brewing Co.’s Oktoberfest Märzen Lager is a traditional Märzen. It’s full-bodied, rich, and toasty with a malty sweetness and a balanced finish. It’s perfect for the fall. It’s not only award-winning — with accolades from the Great American Beer Festival, European Beer Star Awards, and more — but it’s proudly brewed in Fort Worth, Texas, by 5th and 6th generation brewers who come from a long line of beer-making that originally started in Germany.