Brewers Tell Us The Best German Beers To Get You Hyped For Oktoberfest

This year, Oktoberfest runs from September 21st until October 6th in Munich, Germany. And while that beer-fuelled festival is still a few days away, it’s definitely time to get in the German-beer spirit. Marzen (or Oktoberfestbier) is the preferred beer of the festival, but the brewing hotbed is also well-known for its pilsners, dunkels, wheat beers, doppelbocks, and smoked beers, among others.

There are so many options, in fact, that every aficionado is sure to have a sleeper German beer pick at the ready.

Augustiner Helles is such a well-balanced, drinkable beer,” says Yiga Miyashiro, director of brewing operations at Saint Archer Brewing Company. “It doesn’t hurt that it brings me back to my own trip to Munich — where we would go to the beer gardens, sip a delicate helles under the sun, and munch on giant pretzels.”

Isn’t that the point? Shouldn’t a well-made beer transport you to a different time and place? And now is the perfect time of year to be transported (literally or figuratively) to Germany. That’s why we asked some of our favorite brewers to tell us the best German beers for getting in that autumn-Oktoberfest spirit. From well-known brands to lesser-known breweries, these brewers didn’t waste any time picking their favorites.

Schönramer Pils

John Stewart, general manager and director of brewing operations at Perrin Brewing

Schönramer Pils because it’s a favorite during German hop selection. Light and refreshing, it reminds me of hours spent in German beerhalls discussing the intricacies of beer with German hop growers and brewers.

Rothaus Pils

Bryan Selders, brewing ambassador at Dogfish Head

Rothaus Pils is crisp with herbal, grassy noble hop aroma and flavor supported by wafer candy-ish, bready malt. Its zesty carbonation is exhilarating making for a memorable pils experience.

Landbrauerei Schönram Pils

Tim Matthews, head of brewing operations at Oskar Blues Brewery

There is a brewery in the southeast of Bavaria called Landbrauerei Schönram, headed by legendary ex-pat brewer Eric Toft, that makes my favorite Pilsner in the world. Tasting that beer on site with Eric changed my entire perspective on Pils Beer and Lagers overall. To date, still the first beer I seek out when I go to Germany to hunt hops for our own Pils beers.

Augustiner-Bräu Oktoberfest

Jason Santamaria, beer architect at Second Self Beer

Augustiner-Bräu, Munich’s oldest independent brewery. Not only is their beer incredible, but I also have had the privilege of going there and seeing the place myself. It is beautiful, and we had a great experience there, so their beer will always taste better in my opinion!

Mahr’s Brau Ungespundet Lager

Joe Mashburn, head brewer at Night Shift Brewing

Mahr’s Brau Ungespundet Lager (aka Mahr’s U). This is just an incredible unfiltered lager that has an amazing quality of always being the right beer regardless of the weather. If it’s freezing outside, Mahr’s U is a comforting beer. 100 degrees in the shade? Mahr’s U is the most refreshing lager.

Schlenkerla Helles

Joe Connolly, director of Springdale Beer

Schlenkerla Helles is such a unique, delicious beer that I have to elevate it over the rest. Sturdy enough for a serious food pairing, light enough to quaff by the liter, and OH, that subtle, delicious smoke.

Veltins Pilsner

John Walker, head brewer and co-founder Athletic Brewing Company

I love Veltins Pilsner. It’s a clean and balanced pilsner with subtle but excellent noble hop character. The Kind of beer you want to go back to again and again.

Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel

Kelly McKnight, pilot brewer at New Belgium Brewing

Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel by Klosterbrauerei Andechs. Best day in Germany ever was sitting in the abbey enjoying this malty, rich beer. #memories.

Weinstephaner Kristallweissbier

Rhett Dougherty, head brewer at Veza Sur Brewing

Weinstephaner Kristallweissbier is just such a beauty to behold. In the days of haze, it’s nice to see and enjoy this brilliantly bright masterpiece. It’s crisp, refreshing, and practically perfect in every way.

Leipziger Gose

Mark Theisen, head brewer at Coronado Brewing

I really enjoy Leipziger Gose. It’s one of the most refreshing beer’s I’ve ever had. It’s the perfect blend of being pleasantly tart with a slight salinity. It’s super refreshing and easy to drink.

Kostritzer Schwarzbier

Matt McCall, brewmaster at Coney Island Brewing

Kostritzer Schwarzbier. It’s a prime example of what a dark lager should taste like. Roasty, clean and incredibly drinkable.