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Celebrate The Season With Octoberfest Beer

By now you know me as the Big Frog 104 “beer guy”, and it seems there’s a different style of beer for each season. This time of year, you’re probably seeing a lot of Octoberfest (or Oktoberfest) style beers in the stores. So, what makes an Octoberfest?

Johannes Simon/Getty Images

According to The German Beer Institute:

“In spite of their name, Oktoberfest beers are not brewed in the fall. They are actually an outgrowth of the traditional, strong spring brews, called March beers or Märzen, that were put aside in ice-filled caves or cellars for summer consumption. The left-over Märzen was usually finished off… in Okotober, when the fresh beers made with the grain and hops from the new harvest season needed to be put into casks. Oktoberfestbiers, therefore, are always well-aged, sometimes for three to four months. They are usually deep amber in color and have an alcohol content of 5 to 6.2%.”

And here’s the reason why brewers started making Octoberfest beers in the first place, according to

 “Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, who was later crowned King Ludwig I, wanted his people to share in the celebration of his marriage to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810.

Ludwig organized a horse race and invited all the people of Munich. The royal party drew about 40,000 guests. A good time, and copious amounts of beer, were apparently had by all that first year.

The modern celebration has replaced the small tents with giant brewery-sponsored beer halls that can hold up to 5,000 people apiece. The party has also grown in length, to become a 16-day extravaganza ending the first Sunday in October.

On my vacation a few weeks ago, I discovered the Cape Cod Brewery in Hyannis, Massachusetts. They have a “Harvest German Style Ale” at this time of year, but as they explained, they can’t call it an Octoberfest because it’s an ale, not a lager (There are beer rules, you know).

Over the next few weeks, I’ll feature various brands of Octoberfest beer. Prosit!

Read: Another Micro Brewery I Discovered On Vacation


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