I'll admit, fall is my favorite time of the year. Here in Wisconsin it's particularly great. The weather is cooler. The air is crisper. The rain is more cleansing. The leaves change color. The corn is sweet and tender. Brats and burgers are the order of the day. Baseball is exciting. Football is starting. And, Oktoberfest!
While the classic festival begins on September 22nd, a number of Oktoberfests occur here in Wisconsin.
September 7 - September 23 (weekends only) - Milwaukee Oktoberfest
September 14 - September 16 - Chippewa Falls Oktoberfest
September 28 - October 6 - LaCrosse Oktoberfest
October 5 - October 7 - New Glarus Oktoberfest
October 6 - Dallas Oktoberfest
If you know of others, please email me where, the date, and a link to a website so that I can verify it.
While it is called Oktoberfest, the festivals usually occur in September, but can last as long as November. The very first Oktoberfest was a marriage celebration and occured in Bavaria on October 12 and October 17, 1810. In 1819 the town of Munich took over the festival and determined that it would be held every year.
Today there are 6 traditional German breweries that participate in Oktoberfest: Spaten, Lowenbrau, Hofbrau, Hacker-Pschorr, Augustiner, and Paulaner. Over the next few weeks, I will be trying the Oktoberfest (marzen) style from each of these breweries (assuming I can find them!), and from the Wisconsin breweries that I can get a hold of. First up will Oktoberfests from Tyranena, Point, Sprecher, and Viking. So, stay tuned because I love Oktoberfest beers.
The Oktoberfest style is often referred to as "marzen" (BA.RB.) and it is similar in style to the American Red; they are a medium-bodied, amber colored beer that generally have a mild hoppiness (not citrusy) and a caramel/sweet maltiness to them. They are usually low-alcohol, moderately carbonated with a fairly thick, foamy head served crisply chilled in a stein or faceted mug. Perfect for Saturday afternoon football games.