Oktoberfests or Märzens are on the short list of prototypical fall offerings. Pretty much every brewery across America offers a take on the style, and while some are actually pretty great, sometimes you just have to go for the original. It pays to go back to the source of the style, for one of the O.G. Oktoberfests of Germany—Munich’s Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest to be exact.
Hacker-Pschorr’s Oktoberfest dates its roots all the way back to 1417, nearly 100 years before the Reinheitsgebot (Purity Law) was enacted. It’s the Hacker side of the pairing that can boast that historic origin, and the beer is one of only a handful served at Munich’s acclaimed Oktoberfest celebration.
There are two common styles of Oktoberfests, 1) the straw-yellow crisp crushers, and 2) the copper-hued malty-sweet variety. This is the latter—a beautiful shade of amber that foreshadows a sweet, bready malt-reliant flavor to come.
Hacker-Pschorr’s Oktoberfest smells bright and estery, with plenty of fruit on the aroma and not nearly as much malty sweetness or honey-like breadiness as I’d expect. That sweetness comes through in the taste though. It’s still plenty fruity, with lemon and bright apple complementing a floral honey and malt sweetness. There isn’t a ton of roastiness or nuttiness given the color, and it’s not nearly as heavy as I’d think for a beer that is this sweet.
This Oktoberfest begs to be slugged by the liter, lukewarm from a stein, surrounded by revelers from around the world, but I’ll settle for a bottle alone in my living room.