But we don't drink just any old beer at Oktoberfest, do we? Nein, nein, nein, only Oktoberfest Beer brewed specifically for the event will do. The beer served at Oktoberfest in Munich is a glorious lager, with every beer tasting quite similar, and while you will see an Oktoberfest marzen sold here, you really won't find it easily over there. Brewers here in the U.S. create versions of the famous beer to be sold to revelers during the event, but how good is it compared to the original. Drunk minds want to know. So we assembled a few samples so see how ours compares to the original. The lab rats were served the beers without knowing which beer was which or even which beers were being served.
We chose Hofbräu Oktoberfest (6.3% ABV) from Munich (left) to represent the German version of the beer for obvious reasons. First, we have a Hofbräu in St. Petersburg and second it is quite easily sourced by youse guys. It is clean, crisp and identical to the beer being served in Munich.
Highland Brewing Clawhammer Oktoberfest (5% ABV) from Ashville, N.C. (right) was chosen as an example of marzen to see if it was preferred here in the U.S. vs. the original lager. It contains more hop than that found in Munich but is quite easy to drink.
Tent Beer Helles Lager (5.2% ABV) from Six Ten Brewing (center) in Tampa was chosen simply because Chris Johnson is a superb brewer that can create about any beer style as close to original as anyone that we have met.
The tasters were simply asked to rate the beers in order of favorite to least favorite and to provide a few tasting notes about why they chose what they chose. The beers were given 3 points for best, 2 points for second and 1 for third. Here are the results:
1. (tie) Six Ten Tent Beer Helles Lager - 13 points
comments: "Nice aroma, very balanced"
"More like a traditional Oktoberfest"
1. (tie) Highland Clawhammer Oktoberfest and Six Ten Tent Beer. - 13 points
comments: "Like the caramel flavors"
"This is a Marzen, not Oktoberfest"
3. Hofbräu Oktoberfest - 9 points. Now let's be fair here, this beer had obviously not beer stored correctly and had oxidized, but that is what anyone buying the beer would have received.
So let's say that even though the Marzen is not really a traditional Oktoberfest beer based on Munich standards, the Clawhammer is a fine drink and available right now here in Florida. The Tent Beer from Six Ten, from my recollection, is as close to the flavor of a traditional Oktoberfest beer as any that you will find in the States. Mr. Johnson again shows what a master brewer is. And the Hofbräu? Go to St. Petersburg and have a stein, it really is quite good. Cheers, Bon
Six Ten Brewing
7052 Benjamin Road
Asheville, NC 28803