Behind the Brand

Bavarian Brews for A Beast of A Celebration: Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest Header

Aug. 14, 2023

Oktoberfest first originated in Munich and has grown in popularity to become a worldwide phenomenon! Traditional symbols associated with the festival are lederhosens, tyrolean hats, steins, pretzels, and of course, beer. The world’s largest folk festival is quickly approaching so read on to learn about the history of Oktoberfest and types of beers people often celebrate with.

What is Oktoberfest?

Did you know only breweries based in Munich, Germany can technically participate in Oktoberfest? According to the official Oktoberfest website, six Munich breweries are the only breweries allowed to serve beer at the event itself, those being Spaten, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbrau, Augustiner, and Lowenbrau. While the first celebration of Oktoberfest didn’t involve tents overflowing with beers, it did involve a celebration in Munich that paved the way to present day festivities.

On October 12th, 1810, Prince Regent Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen were married on the grounds of Theresienwiese. A horse race took place on October 17th followed by more festivities and of course, German beer. After 1810, the festivities continued to occur annually and the event became a top priority for Bavaria to host in 1819.

Present day, six million visitors attend Oktoberfest to celebrate the history by sipping on brews, dancing to Barvarian brass music, and chowing down on classic German dishes. To kick off the celebrations, the Mayor of Munich will tap their wooden cask signaling to the tents that they can begin pouring beers into the signature one-liter steins for everyone to enjoy! While travelling to the event is certainly possible, Oktoberfest has made its’ way through pop culture into the States.

Traveling to Germany for Oktoberfest is quite the commitment, but activities similar to those of the official festival are now held in the states to celebrate! This year Oktoberfest is taking place Saturday, September 16th to Tuesday, October 3rd 2023. There are many Oktoberfest-style beers to choose from to help celebrate. Check out the variations below.

Common Oktoberfest Beer Variations

Numerous beers have been brewed in ode to Oktoberfest, however there are a few styles that are directly associated with the event according to HopCulture

Oktoberfestbier is classified as any beer brewed by one of the six Munich brewers. As noted before, the select six brewers are the only brands allowed to serve beers on the Oktoberfest grounds. The beers provided often take on a light gold color and are easy-bodied.

Märzens are German amber lagers that have a smooth, toasty, bready, and slightly spicy taste profile. This style was first brewed by Spaten, however has since been adopted as an Oktoberfest-style beer in America.

Festbiers are strong-bodied German lagers similar to a helles, but with a prominent malt taste. Paulaner was the first brewery to create this official beer of Oktoberfest that falls more on the floral and spicy side.

Oktoberfest-style beers normally fall under the Märzen style and are brewed outside of Munich city limits. Most Oktoberfest beers sold in America are Oktoberfest-style Märzens.

Breakthru is proud to work with businesses that offer Oktoberfest beers and Oktoberfest-style beers. Be sure to check out our portfolio and raise a stein to the history of Oktoberfest!