If you are an avid craft beer drinker, you are familiar with the variety of different style beers out there such as the IPA, Sour, and Stout just to name a few but around the same time of year as the annual Oktoberfest begins, breweries begin to roll out their specially crafted Oktoberfest style beer for the celebrations. This style is sold throughout festivals around the world, and we always serve a few different selections of the style at Nashville Oktoberfest every year. You may be wondering “What exactly is an Oktoberfest beer”? Well, that is a great and sort of complicated question. We are here to answer that questions for you so that you beer lovers out there can know what you are feeling up your stein with at next year’s Nashville Oktoberfest.

So, the first order of business is to answer the question, what style would you classify the Oktoberfest beer? Traditionally and invariably, the Oktoberfest is a lager. That doesn’t mean people can’t and haven’t brewed it differently, but you will most certainly be breaking tradition. Now when describing what the Oktoberfest beer is, you have to understand that it has gone through a change since the first time it was introduced. At the very first Oktoberfest in 1810, the Oktoberfest style resembled a dark lager know as a Dunkel. The style stayed this way until it made a switch in 1872, where it saw a shift to a Marzen. Marzen is more amber colored and a tad bit on the sweeter side. As German breweries continued to use pale malts, the lager became lighter and lighter in its color over time. The beer that is now served at Oktoberfest in Munich resembles more of a Helles (another pale, German lager) but with a higher alcohol content.

The way American breweries brew their Oktoberfest is completely different from what you will find at the Oktoberfest in Munich. Most American breweries that craft their own take on this style tend to resemble the Marzen style that is used to traditionally be. American breweries tend to use more caramel malts for color, and they end up giving the beer a more sweet, full body flavor. This isn’t to say that you wouldn’t a Marzen at Oktoberfest outside the U.S. and vice versa.

Nashville Oktoberfest appeals to both styles during our celebration, serving up both a Marzen and Wiesn Oktoberfest so that visitors can try both flavors to see which one they like better. The Oktoberfest style has a long history and has seen many changes since its introduction in 1810. Whether you prefer to fill up your stein with the amber colored Marzen version or the paler Wiesn, you can’t go wrong. Oktoberfest brings out some deliciously tasting beers, along with a great atmosphere and tradition. The Oktoberfest style has been around as long as the festivities themselves and has earned its place as a top beer style. Although it is technically classified as a lager, it receives its own category of beer in our book for being as special as the celebration itself.