BossToberfest – Our Favorite German Beers Available in North America

October 18, 2016

Oktoberfest cathedral

Oktoberfest has come and passed, and chances are good that you did not make the trip to Mecca Munich to join in the festivities and sample some of the greatest beers on the planet.

First celebrated in 1810, Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival, with over 7,000,000 litres served every year. Only breweries within the city limites of Munich are permitted to be on tap at Oktoberfest but with and average annual consumption of 110 litres per person, there are more German brewers than you could possibly imagine. Trying to figure out where to start can be daunting, and you may find yourself reaching for that comfortable favourite when trying to decipher the labels in the import aisle.

Well don’t fret, we’ve done the “hard” work for you- sampling lager after lager, cleansing our palates in between each with handmade pretzels, sausages and of course…sauerkraut. (Lots of sauerkraut!) In total we poured over 30 different types of beer, all in observance of the German Purity Laws of 1516, to bring you our favorite Weissbier, Kolsh, Pils, Helles, and Dunkel available right now, in your local beer store.

Erdinger Weißbräu – Weissbier (Hefe-Weizen)
ABV: 5.3%


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Erdinger, founded in 1886, is the world’s largest wheat beer brewery. It’s no surprise they’ve found such success in the market after sampling their namesake and most popular products, Weißbiers (wheat beers). Pouring golden and cloudy this light, malty beer is perfect to introduce your palate to the top fermented wheat beer popular across any Oktoberfest line-up.
Traditionally from Bavaria, a significant amount of the malted barley is replaced with malted wheat, helping to produce banana and clove overtones in the top fermenting process of all wheat beers. The highly carbonated brew helps to maintain a prominent head and a balanced malty sweetness.

 

Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu – Münchner Hell Premium
ABV: 5.2%


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In 1894 Spaten became the first brewery in Munich to produce this brand of light lager. Golden in color like the Erdinger Weissbier, and similarly malty and sweet, this lager was slightly polarizing with our test group due to it’s unique hop-flavour.

While full-bodied and as balanced as any craft beer in North America, The Muncher Hell was described by our tasters as “Sharp, Acidic….and Delicious”.

 

Dab – Dortmunder Export
ABV: 5%


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General consensus in the room was that Dab’s Export was “A Most Agreeable Beer”, similar to Becks or the German adjacent Heineken. A clean, bubbly lager-type with little bitterness from the hops, while still herbal and sweet. While not as uniquely German as some of the days hidden gems, Dab’s Export is sure to appear in regular rotation at several of our taster’s summer BBQ’s going forward.

 

Privatbrauerei Gaffel Becker & Co. – Gaffel Kolsch
ABV: 4.8%


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The most fragrant and aromatic of our “Oktoberfest” selections, Gaffel’s Kolsch has a robust and healthy flavor from an ale yeast that is lagered (or aged) in cold cellars. Kölsch is warm fermented at around 13 to 21 °C (55 to 70 °F), then conditioned by lagering at cold temperatures. According to Wikipedia: ‘It has a gravity between 11 and 16 degrees Plato,’ a detail our “experts” have yet to decipher…
Our understanding of “gravity” aside, the Gaffel Kolsch is perfect afternoon beer, with fruity notes and a pleasant floral finish.

 

*Hacker-Pschorr – Münchener Gold (Munich Gold)*
ABV: 5.5%


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Hands down, the all-star of this year’s tasting. Maybe it was the pretzels, maybe it was the mountain of sausages and potatoes,  but the Munich Gold received a unanimous 5/5 rating from the entire crew. Boasting a smooth, crisp, malty taste, The Munich Gold is truly the Gold Standard to which all other beers will now be held.

Originally founded in 1417 (though later merged with a 2nd brewery in 1972), Hacker-Pschorr is one of only 6 breweries served at the official Oktoberfest celebration. Not only that, today’s Oktoberfest event is held on land donated by Josef Pschorr. And if, for some strange twist of misfortune, you were only able to sample one beer at Oktoberfest, this would absolutely have to be The One.

Prost!

 

Schofferhofer – Hefe Weizen
ABV: 5.0%

 

最後のドイツビア☆彡 Deutschland danke! #schofferhofer #dusseldorf #düsseldorfairport

A photo posted by toku[GARNiDELiA] (@toku_grnd) on


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A cloudy wheat beer that stands stands as proud in this list as it does alongside any beer in your fridge. As with all wheat ales, you will find little that this beer does not pair well with though some care does need to be taken in the pouring. From the commercial description, “Tilt glass and pour slowly. Before pouring last quarter, roll bottle gently back and forward until sediment is dissolved.”
For a little extra credit, the whole crew also recommends the Schofferhofer Grapefruit for an even sweeter, fruitier, dessert pairing.

 

Bitburger – Premium Pilsner
ABV: 4.8%


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A hoppy, herbal mature pilsner to finish the night. Tart and bitter, with a strong hop taste, the Bitburger Premium Pils a classic for all beer lovers and a perfect introduction to the craft tradition we are all so use to in North America. Why not sample a recipe so similar to your favourite local brews from a brewery that has been perfecting it’s recipe for decades, in accordance to regulations set out hundreds of years ago.

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