Submit Content

WWBG: Fall Means Oktoberfest Season and Beer is Back

Weekend Wine and Beer Guide logo

Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). It is written by Garrett Cruce, a Certified Beer Server in the Cicerone Certification Program.

O’zapft is! (German for “It is tapped!”)

With this declaration at the tapping of the first keg, Oktoberfest has officially begun. 

It’s Oktoberfest time of year again. Just wrapping up in Munich, the home of the official and original Oktoberfest celebration, we will see Americanized versions pop up through the month of October. It’s appropriate then that the Oktoberfest style of beer — more than the ubiquitous pumpkin beers that start arriving in stores in July — represents Autumn beer to me. 

In 1810, King Joseph held a two-day festival to celebrate the wedding of his son, the crown prince Ludwig. Those two days has expanded into an annual carnival-like festival that runs for 16 days from September into October. It’s a massive celebration of beer, German history and culture. While there’s plenty of beer — mostly but not exclusively the Oktoberfest style — there are also carnival rides, performances and religious ceremonies. 

Despite the other attractions, beer is the centerpiece of the event. According to The Oxford Companion to Beer, only six breweries hold contracts to supply the beer to Munich’s Oktoberfest: Augustinerbraü München, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbraü, Löwenbraü, Paulaner and Spaten-Franziskaner-Braü. These supplier represent the largest breweries who brewing inside the Munich city limits. In fact, the style designation “Oktoberfest” is a protected appellation in Germany and can only be used by Munich-based breweries. 

An Oktoberfest-style beer is a Munich-style lager — meaning that it’s brewed with a malt that has been roasted longer, which is typical of Munich malt. The result is an amber beer that combines both the clean cracker-like maltiness of a lager with the caramel sweetness of the toasted Munich malt. For years, the beer of choice served at Oktoberfest was the Munich style Märzen — a March-brewed beer that tended to be stronger so that it could lager through the warm summer months. Some of the official varieties of Oktoberfest still pay homage to the Märzen style on their packaging, but they are no longer the same style of beer. 

Though a traditional German style, I still think of Samuel Adams’ Oktoberfest when I think of these beers. In fact, it’s emergence in stores and restaurants in September is a clear marker of Fall for me. Other American breweries make Oktoberfest beers — typically staying as close to the traditionally malty lager as possible.

Look for these Oktoberfest beers in stores while they last:

Ayinger Oktobefest-MarzenAyinger Privatbraurei Oktober Fest-Märzen (5.8% ABV)

This traditional, authentic Oktoberfest-style lager is not actually served in the official festival in Munich as the brewery is located outside the city limits. However, they are allowed to use the name and even organize their own festivals in other cities. I particularly liked this one despite, or maybe because of, its outsider status. The sweetness is quite pronounced in this beer with a honey-like flavor.  

Great Lakes OktoberfestGreat Lakes Brewing Co. Oktoberfest (6.5% ABV)

The most “Americanized” of the Oktoberfests I tried with its higher ABV, Great Lakes still manages to honor the caramel maltiness of the traditional Fall lager. This limited release seasonal has quite a large following — get some before they’re gone.

Samuel Adams Octoberfest (5.3% ABV)

The flagship Fall seasonal for Samuel Adams, their Octoberfest (spelled the anglicized way) holds pretty true to the traditional varieties in Germany. Since 2012, Samuel Adams has held a national Stein Hoisting Competition to promote their Octoberfest beer. While participants can compete from anywhere, the main event is held at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio — the largest Oktoberfest outside of Munich. 

Spaten OktobefestSpaten-Franziskaner-Braü Oktoberfest (5.9% ABV)

Spaten, owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, is one of the six official breweries that supply beer for Munich’s Oktoberfest. This Oktoberfest is a straightforward offering. 

Do you have a favorite Oktoberfest beer or a great Oktoberfest story? Share it below. 

Recent Stories

After a two-day glimpse of gorgeous weather that followed a longer stretch of terrible weather, a sunny-if-cool fall weekend is upon us. As you firm up your weekend plans, be…

They say baseball is a game of inches. Okay, maybe that’s football. But for one Arlington Little League team, this can be taken somewhat literally. The Athletics (A’s, for short)…

The annual Army Ten-Miler race will prompt numerous road closures in Arlington this weekend. Runners will zip through parts of Rosslyn, D.C. and Pentagon City, starting and finishing the race…

Open Houses includes a 4 BD/2.5 BA brick home with newly refinished floors, brick fireplace and detached garage.

Encore Stage & Studio is excited to kick off its season with a swashbuckling adventure! What starts as a mystery turns into an adventure in an Encore adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel. Young Gemma Hawkins escapes a dull life to search for where “X” marks the spot on a mysterious treasure map left behind by an old sea captain.

Gemma meets a slew of thrill-seeking sea farers as she races to find the treasure before any pirates do. Encore Stage & Studio presents_ Treasure Island_ running October 14-23, 2022 at Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre (125 S. Old Glebe Rd. Arlington, VA 22204). 

Season subscriptions and single tickets are on sale now at Single tickets are $15 for Adults; $12 for Children, Students, Military and Seniors. Season subscriptions begin at $33. Patrons can learn more about Encore’s COVID-19 audience procedures online at

Performances dates:
Friday, October 14 at 7:30pm
Saturdays, October 15 and 22 at 11am and 3pm
Sundays, October 16 and 23 at 3pm

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Arlington kids can keep active this winter with Arlington County’s Department of Parks & Recreation’s Youth House Basketball League. Available for grades 1-12, this program begins in mid-November for grades 1-8 and early Jan. for grades 9-12 and costs between $75-90.

Come join the fun! Sign up by Oct. 12*!

Registration for grades 9-12 opens on Nov. 7.

If the league fee is a factor to signing up, check out the Department’s fee reduction program, which helps Everyone, Everywhere, Every Day! Access for All. Easy to apply! Whether you have a short-term set back or something longer-term. Learn more at or call 703-228-4747. 

Submit your own Community Post here.

Mini Photo Sessions for Family & Pets

Mini Family & Pet Photo Sessions
Beat the rush and sign up to get your holiday photos now!

Bring your kids! Bring your dogs!

Check out the DeSilva Studios website. Look at the images and see if you like them

Vini Franchetti Wine Dinner

Join us as we explore Vini Franchetti & their two sister vineyards Passopisciaro (Sicily) and Vini Franchetti (Tuscany) for our Sicily/Tuscany Wine Dinner!

Sunday, Oct 9 @ 6pm

Special Guest: This wine dinner we will be hosting the wine maker


Subscribe to our mailing list