Beer & WineDrink

Beer Hunter: The Oktoberfest Guide

What better time to celebrate beer than during Oktoberfest?

In line with German tradition, five Oktoberfest biers are brewed for the festival and are therefore only available once a year. These limited edition biers are brewed within the confines of the Munich City district and are made by abiding to the ancient German Purity Law (Reinheitsgebot), which means that they can only contain four ingredients: water, hops, malt and yeast.

Munich Brauhaus, The Bavarian and The Bavarian Beerhaus restaurants in Sydney will have exclusive access to all five biers throughout Oktoberfest, from Saturday, 22 September, to Saturday 27 October. Hunter and Bligh has teamed up with the Oktoberfest teams out of Rockpool Dining Group to bring you the low down on all you need to know to properly enjoy your Oktoberfest bier.

Can’t make it to Munich for Oktoberfest? Not to worry – this bright, sparkling brew provides an authentic taste of the world’s greatest festival. Served at the very first Oktoberfest celebrations back in 1810, Löwenbräu is a full-bodied and malty brew with a hint of spice and a yeasty tang.

Style: Oktoberfest / Märzen
Appearance: Bright and sparkling with a fluffy, creamy white head
Aroma: Malty and grassy hops
Palate: Full bodied, malty with a hint of spice, perfectly balanced hops and a yeasty tang

Fancy a Bier with the Lord Mayor of Munich? Then order up a Spaten – it’s the brew that kicks off Oktoberfest when Munich’s head-honcho knocks the tap into the Spaten keg and yells, “O’zapft is!” (“It’s tapped!”) A full-flavoured brew boasting a malty sweetness with hints of fruit and nuts, Spaten was first created in a small Munich ‘brew’ pub way back in 1397.

Style: Oktoberfest / Märzen
Appearance: Brilliant pale gold
Aroma: Malt caramel and herbal hops
Palate: Full flavoured malty sweetness supported by some nuttiness and fruit character. Perfectly balanced herbal hops finishing with mild bitterness.

Think Oktoberfest is a hard-core tradition in Bavaria? Drinking Hofbräu is even more so. Back in 1589 Duke Wilhelm V of Bavaria was counting his pennies when he realised that building his own brewery would be an economical way to keep the royal court quenched. In no time at all, Hofbräuhaus was born. You mightn’t be in the royal court, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this strong and regal bier that’s been keeping discerning bier lovers happy for over 400 years.

Style: Oktoberfest / Märzen
Appearance: Rich and inviting
Aroma: Malts, yeast and spice
Palate: Grainy malt character, subtle bready notes, slightly spicy with a deliciously bitter finish. Beautifully suited to traditional Bavarian cuisine being rich and full of character.

Following the crowd? Then start here. Paulaner Oktoberfest bier dominates the Munich Oktoberfest – it’s so popular that over one million steins are served each year over the 16 days. It has so many fans that Paulaner is the only brewery to produce Oktoberfest bier all year round. Lagered for four weeks to bring out the rich flavour, it was originally conjured up in a Bavarian monastery by Pauline monks. Forced to fast on bread and water during Lent the clever monks reasoned that bier could be brewed as ‘liquid bread’. This allowed them to get sustenance without breaking their fast –
how’s that for a heavenly solution?

Style: Oktoberfest / Märzen
Appearance: Rich yellow – gold
Aroma: Honey malt and flowery hops
Palate:  Highly satisfying and truly thirst quenching, it has a light honeyed malt character dominant and elegant flowery hops aftertaste. 

You can’t get a party started without a celebratory brew. In October 1810 Crown Prince Ludwig was about to get hitched to the lovely Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Prince Lud asked Joseph Pschorr to create a special bier for the occasion and the Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest bier was born. It was such a hit that the wedding turned into a festival and 203 years later they’re still celebrating Oktoberfest on the land Joseph left behind.

Style: Oktoberfest / Märzen
Appearance: Captivating brilliant pale gold
Aroma: Malts, nuts and citrus hops
Palate: Subtle malt caramels balanced with hints of nuts and citrus. Finishes with slight bitterness and restrained sweetness. Oh so easy drinking!