What is Oktoberfest Beer?

Oktoberfest beer is a type of beer that is traditionally brewed in Munich, Germany for the annual Oktoberfest celebration.


It is a type of lager that is typically amber in color and has a malty, slightly sweet flavor. This beer is also known as Märzen, which means “March beer” in German, as it was traditionally brewed in March and then stored in cool caves or cellars until it was ready to be served at Oktoberfest in September.

The history of Oktoberfest beer dates back to the early 19th century, when the first Oktoberfest celebration was held in Munich in 1810. The festival was originally held to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen.

The festival was so popular that it became an annual event, and breweries began brewing special beers for the occasion. Today, Oktoberfest beer is still a popular tradition in Munich and is enjoyed by beer lovers around the world.

History of Oktoberfest Beer

Oktoberfest beer has a long and interesting history that dates back to the early 19th century.


The beer was first brewed in Munich, Germany, as part of a celebration of the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen in 1810. The festival, which was held on the fields in front of the city gates, was so successful that it was repeated the following year, and the year after that, and so on.

At the time, beer was a staple drink in Bavaria, and the festival was a way to celebrate the local brewing culture. The beer served at the festival was a special brew that was made in the spring and then stored in caves filled with ice until the end of summer. This process, known as lagering, helped to create a beer that was crisp, clean, and refreshing, with a slightly sweet taste and a golden color.

Over time, the festival became more popular, and the demand for beer increased. In response, local breweries began to brew special beers specifically for the festival. These beers were typically stronger and more flavorful than the regular beers, with a higher alcohol content and a rich, malty flavor.

The popularity of Oktoberfest continued to grow throughout the 19th century, and the festival became an important part of Bavarian culture. However, the festival was interrupted during the Napoleonic Wars, and it wasn’t until 1819 that it was held again. Since then, the festival has been held every year, with the exception of a few years during World War I and World War II.

Today, Oktoberfest is celebrated all over the world, with millions of people gathering to enjoy beer, food, and music. While the festival has changed over the years, the beer remains an important part of the celebration, and the tradition of brewing special Oktoberfest beers continues to this day.

The Oktoberfest Event

The Oktoberfest is an annual festival held in Munich, Germany, that celebrates German culture, food, and, of course, beer.


The festival takes place on the Theresienwiese, a large open space in the center of Munich, and lasts for 16 days, starting in late September and ending on the first Sunday in October.

The festival has its roots in the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen in 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities, which included horse races, games, and plenty of beer. The festival was such a success that it was repeated the following year, and the tradition has continued ever since.

Today, the Oktoberfest is one of the largest festivals in the world, attracting millions of visitors from around the globe. The festival is made up of several large beer tents, each of which can hold thousands of people. The beer tents are run by different breweries and serve their own unique brews.

The festival is also a celebration of German unity, as it coincides with German Unity Day, a national holiday commemorating the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990.

The festival has faced some challenges in recent years, including concerns over the spread of COVID-19. In response, organizers have implemented safety measures, such as requiring proof of vaccination or negative test results for entry into the beer tents. Despite these challenges, the Oktoberfest remains a beloved tradition for Germans and visitors alike, and a celebration of all things German.

Understanding Oktoberfest Beer

Oktoberfest beer is a type of German beer that is traditionally brewed for the Oktoberfest festival, which is held annually in Munich, Bavaria.


The beer is also known as Märzen or Festbier. It is a lager that is typically darker and maltier than other German lagers.

The brewing of Oktoberfest beer dates back to the early 19th century when the festival was first held. Back then, brewing beer in the summer was banned due to the risk of fire, so brewers had to make extra beer in March (Märzen in German) to last through the summer months.

This beer was brewed using more hops and malt to help preserve it, resulting in a beer that was stronger and more flavorful than other beers of the time.

Today, Oktoberfest beer is still brewed using the same basic recipe, although there are now many different types of Oktoberfest beer available.

The most common types are Märzen and Festbier. Märzen is a darker, maltier beer that is typically amber in color and has an alcohol content of around 5-6% ABV. Festbier is a lighter, smoother beer that is typically a golden color and has an alcohol content of around 6% ABV.

Oktoberfest beer is typically brewed using German hops and malts, which give it a distinct flavor profile. The hops used in Oktoberfest beer are typically low in bitterness and high in aroma, giving the beer a refreshing, crisp taste.

The malts used in Oktoberfest beer are typically toasted or caramelized, giving the beer a toasty, biscuity flavor with hints of caramel.

The Brewing Process

Brewing Oktoberfest beer is a laborious process that requires patience and skill.


To start, brewers use a combination of rich malts, such as Vienna and Munich malts, which give the beer its characteristic amber color and malty sweetness. The malts are crushed and mixed with water to create a mash, which is then heated to extract the sugars needed for fermentation.

Next, hops are added to the boil to balance the sweetness of the malt. German and noble hops are commonly used to provide a subtle bitterness and a spicy, floral aroma. The hop additions are carefully timed to control the level of bitterness and flavor in the beer.

Once the boil is complete, the wort (unfermented beer) is cooled and transferred to a fermentation vessel. A special yeast strain, known as Märzen yeast, is added to the wort to begin fermentation. This yeast strain can withstand the colder temperatures required for lagering, which is a crucial step in the brewing process.

During lagering, the beer is stored at a low temperature for several weeks. This allows the yeast to continue fermenting and conditioning the beer, resulting in a smooth, crisp finish. The longer the beer is lagered, the more refined the flavors become.

Finally, the beer is carbonated and packaged, ready to be enjoyed by beer lovers around the world. Oktoberfest beer is typically a higher gravity beer, meaning it has a higher alcohol content than most lagers. It is also a type of Vienna lager, which is a style of beer that originated in Austria and is known for its rich malts and smooth finish.

Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by Rocco

Rocco is a Florida State University alumnus with years of bartending and hospitality experience. From slinging hundreds of vodka sodas a night in jam-packed college bars to serving carefully crafted cocktails in upscale restaurants, there’s not much he hasn’t done behind a bar. Now, Rocco shares his knowledge and passion for all things alcohol-related here on My Bartender for bibulous readers everywhere to enjoy.

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