Oktoberfest is upon us, and we knew just what we had to do for insider info on Bavarian beer: Ask Otto! He’s our Beer Buyer and resident expert on all things Oktoberfest. We picked his beer-afficianado brain on how to make sure your Oktoberfest party is authentically delicious!
What should you look for in a truly authentic German Brew?
German beers tend to be very balanced and they showcase more malt flavors like cereal or biscuit with hints of honey balanced by a crisp finish. This is courtesy of a deft and sparse use of hops. Hops are almost never a primary component for aromas or flavors in German beers, as they tend to be in American Pales or IPAs. Hops in German beers are used to emphasize and enhance the crisp finish.
What can you find at World Market for Oktoberfest that you may not be able to find anywhere else?
We’re featuring no fewer than six different Oktoberfest-style beers, both imported and domestic, along with a tremendous variety of German foods. Anyone who is hosting an Oktoberfest party should come and peruse our selection. I can think of no other national retailer that celebrates Oktoberfest like we do!
How should beer be served on Oktoberfest? Bottle? Stein? Mug?
Definitely in a mug, glass or ceramic stein. In fact, beer is almost always better from the proper glass or mug. Straight from the bottle or can, you miss out on the positive visual and olfactory aspects that good breweries strive to attain.
What’s the perfect temperature to serve an Oktoberfest beer?
Oktoberfest beers are technically Märzens. Originating in Bavaria, a brewing ordinance from 1553 decreed that beer may be brewed only between September 29th and April 23rd. The Märzen was brewed in March (März means March in German) according to a special recipe that bumped up the alcohol, allowing the beer to last while brewing was forbidden from the end of April to the end of September. This stronger beer was often cellared until late in the summer, and remaining kegs were served at the Oktoberfest. These beers are best served between 45-50 degrees F.
What are the differences between the Oktoberfest beers in our assortment?
Grossly generalizing, our domestic selections which include Sierra Nevada, Samuel Adams and Ballast Point will be a bit bigger bodied than their German counterparts, Hofbräu, Paulaner, Spaten, and Weihenstephaner (in no particular order). If you prefer a more refreshing style of beer, go for the Germans. If you like richer styles, go for the domestic. Can’t decide which of these special brews to try? Take advantage of our “Build Your Own 6 Pack” program in stores and do a fun taste comparison with your fellow beer lovers!
Now, I’ll turn you over to our Import Wine Buyer, James Zichterman, for his take on our wine selection…
Hey James! What can you tell us about the German wine assortment for Oktoberfest?
Oktoberfest is certainly a beer-centric event, but we didn’t want to miss an opportunity to include at least one wine for our customers who may want a well-rounded beverage list at their party. While we mainly focus on Riesling in our German wine assortment, we’re offering the Starling Castle Gewürztraminer for Oktoberfest… and not just because it’s fun to say. This is a food-friendly aromatic wine that combines floral aromas with a flavor profile that’s semi-sweet, yet spicy (think ginger, not chili peppers). The name itself translates to “spiced Traminer,” a reference to a family of grapes from which it’s derived. Enjoy chilled!