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Bartenders Name Their Favorite Oktoberfest Beers To Make You Forget You’re Staying Home This Year

Even though you may have never traveled to Munich for Oktoberfest, you were probably pretty bummed to learn that it was canceled this fall. This year, the beer-filled celebration was supposed to take place from September 19th to October 4th. And even if you hadn’t booked a flight, you can feel the pain a year without this beloved bacchanal.

But don’t lose hope. You can enjoy this lager and sausage filled celebration on your own with a few brats and the right German beers. Maybe even throw on your lederhosen and crank up that oom-pah music. To help pick the Oktoberfest beers, we enlisted some of our favorite bartenders. From Spaten to Augustiner to Paulener, they didn’t leave any of the classic brands out.

Weihenstephaner Festbier

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

Weihenstephaner Festbier is a fall back for me. Typically not too hard to find, spot-on for Oktoberfest, and very drinkable. This brewery never disappoints. It shouldn’t be a surprise though because it’s the oldest continuously operating brewery in the world having been founded in 1040.

Löwenbräu Oktoberfestbier

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

Löwenbräu Oktoberfestbier (or even the Original) from Munich is a perfect beer to set off some lederhosen vibes without having to go all out and crack out the lederhosen.

Spaten Oktoberfestbier

Andrew DeShane, bartender at Del Pez Mexican Gastropub in Wilmington, Delaware

Spaten Oktoberfestbier. It’s my go-to at the Delaware Saengerbund Oktoberfest every year. Rich, sweet, and perfect for the season.

Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen

Veronica Flores, bartender in Austin, Texas

I had to do some research for this one. I’ve been on a dad beer kick for a while. However, I’m lucky enough that one of my bosses came in to save the day seeing as he’s from Germany. I did get my hands on Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen and found that one to be tasty. It should have nation-wide distribution from what I looked up.

Hofbrau Oktoberfestbier

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

Hofbrau Oktoberfestbier is true to Germany. This beer also has a higher alcohol content for those in need of a little more punch.

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen

Gloria Otley, bartender at The Brewer’s Art in Baltimore

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen. Not technically a Oktoberfest beer but it is a märzen. Rauchbier is a smoked beer and this is a robustly smoky beer. Deep brown with little smoke on the nose, this beer opens up to flavors of cured meat and barbeque char. Extremely savory and almost salty. The ABV is a surprisingly low 5%, so this would pair excellently with food without weighing down your appetite.

Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Marzen

Zachary Shore, bartender at The Nest in Seattle

There will always be a long debate about which German-made beers are the best, and when it comes to Oktoberfest styles there is plenty of loyalty. That being said, Hacker-Pschorr is one of the best in my opinion. It made its appearance at the first Oktoberfest in Munich in 1810. With an exclusive house yeast strain, Hallertau hops, Bavarian summer barley, and fresh Alpine spring water, the cleanliness, crispness, and easy drinkability makes this my favorite.

Paulaner Oktoberfest-Marzen

Sean Stroehlein, bartender at Paul’s Landing at the Vinoy Renaissance in St. Petersburg, Florida

I believe Paulaner Oktoberfest-Marzen is the best Oktoberfest German beer. With the notes of toffee, bread, and some bitterness as its finish, this is not only a German classic, but also a fall season favorite.

Warsteiner Oktoberfest

Christopher Carlsson, founder of SpiritsReview.com in Rochester, New York

My pick for German-made Oktoberfest beer is Warsteiner. This dark amber-colored marzen is full of caramel sweetness with a great malt backbone.

Writer’s Pick:

Augustiner Bräu Oktoberfestbier

Made by the oldest independent brewery in Munich, Augustiner’s take on the Oktoberfest-style beer is a 6 percent, highly crushable lager. It’s crisp, subtly hoppy, and pairs perfectly with spätzle, sauerkraut, bratwurst, and accordion music.

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