While it's certainly not the highest-end beer on our list, Sam Adams Octoberfest has earned its place in our roundup with its nationwide availability and quality brew-manship. Boston Beer Co. has been dazzling us for months with their quirky (but delicious) offerings like Little White Rye, among others, and their Oktoberfest contribution is no different. This mellow beer isn't heavy on extra flavors, with the toffee and nuttiness being the most dominant. With a golden to dark amber color and a mild head and carbonation, this is the perfect beer to sip when you kick back to watch the game or hang with friends.
This creamy beer features Bavarian Noble hops and a host of old-world ingredients to create an extraordinarily drinkable autumn beer with the characteristic refreshing quality we've come to expect from Sam Adams.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. has a self-described love affair with hops, which may make this style unappealing to some, but this award-winning brewery pretty much led the craft-beer movement and didn't disappoint with their outstanding autumn offering. With an ultra-fluffy head and the flavors of pine sap, hop resin and unsweetened grapefruit, this beer gets its vibrancy from the (non-Oktoberfest-approved) wet-hopping procedure that brings out floral and grassy notes. Incredibly well-balanced, you'll also pick up notes of pine before a superb, bitter finish.
Even if you're not usually a fan of hoppier beers, Sierra Nevada puts out such a consistently great product, it's worth a shot, especially if it's available as part of a "create your own six-pack" deal.
We'll admit we're a little partial to the beers produced by brothers Kurt and Rob Widmer, but they're definitely doing something right in Portland, Oregon. This milder, copper-colored beer has a respectable foam and might be the perfect Oktoberfest starter beer for those who are intimidated by the German-style brews and is a respectful nod to the season for the beer aficionado who already knows they're not an autumn beer fan.
This altbier may be a bit too citrusy for a hardcore Oktoberfest drinker, but if you usually lean toward citrusy or floral beers, this is right up your alley.
This Märzen-style beer is malty and sweet with a medium body. Sweeter than most, this brew pours a surprisingly clear copper color with a 1-inch foam (and lots of lacing). Because of the excessive sweetness, you may like this beer even if you're not usually a fan of traditional German brews. It's smooth and very drinkable, but has a slightly sticky mouthfeel. This beer isn't for everyone, but those who like it may very well be fans for life.
Spaten produces the first beer tapped during the official Munich Oktoberfest celebration. One of the oldest Oktoberfests, this is the quintessential example of the style. Bronze-colored, light to medium-bodied beer, this brew is aromatic and savory and every bit as complex as any hardcore beer fan would want, but tame enough for newbies (though it should be noted that many Americans aren't great fans of true German brews at first). It has a crisp, honey finish and consistent taste throughout. This distinctly German beer is a true celebration of the season, so make this the first bottle you crack open to start the party right.
From the renown Great Lakes Brewery in Cleveland, Ohio, comes an outstanding brew you should try if you can get your hands on it. This award-winning beer (two golds and two silvers in the World Beer Championship), is malty, fragrant and imminently savor-able. Lush and full-bodied, this amber brew is also full of toasted malt flavor and sweet caramel and toffee flavors.
Don't let the name fool you, this is a lager (Real Ale is just the name of the company). This beer has a hazy deep-amber color with a thin, tan head and a fine-beaded (soap-like) lacing. The real stars of the show are the authentic German ingredients, most notably the Munich and Vienna malts that are so prominently displayed in every sip — a bit of the Deutschland here in Texas.
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