The start of the fall season signals one thing and one thing only to beer fans around the world; it’s time to celebrate Oktoberfest. That means dusting off your beer stein, drycleaning your lederhosen and dirndl and brushing up on your traditional German beer hall songs. Festivities happen in Munich from September 16 to October 3.
If you can’t make it, Jersey craft breweries offer up their own German-style beers that will have you shouting, “Prost!”
Brewery: Ship Bottom Brewery
Availability: Available on draft, in cans and for growler fills at the tap room (Beach Haven).
The Hefeweizen wheat beer is the go-to choice at Munich’s Oktoberfest. Even novice beer drinkers will notice the strong banana aroma and clove spices in every glug. While you say goodbye to beach weather, you can say hello to Ship Bottom‘s year-round offering.
Brewery: Devil’s Creek Brewery
Style: Dunkel Bock
Availability: Available on draft and for growler fills at the tap room (Collingswood).
Besides being fun to say, dunkel bocks are smooth and dark German lagers that typically have high notes in toffee and malty sweetness, but a low hop profile. The Devil’s Creek crew makes one that will pair with heaping piles of sausages, pork knuckle and bread dumplings.
Cherry Berliner Weisse
Brewery: River Horse Brewing Co.
Style: Berliner Weisse
Availability: Available on draft, in bottles and for growler fills at the tap room (Ewing Twp).
The traditional Berliner Weisse style is associated with the Northern part of Germany. While it’s low-alcohol content makes it perfect for hoisting in liter drinking vessels, it’s sourness might turn off those who like a chugging beer. Thus, many beer gardens in Berlin will add fruit flavors to make the experience more palatable and festive. River Horse‘s take is to add cherries for a refreshing finish.
Brewery: Czig Meister Brewery
Availability: Available on draft, in cans and for growler fills at the tap room (Hackettstown).
The Kölsch style originates from the Cologne area of Germany where it’s typically enjoyed in tall, thin glasses and has a similar look and taste to a clean pilsner. You won’t need a bow and arrow to enjoy Czig Meister’s take on the popular festive brew. This year-around beer has a dry, yet crisp taste that goes perfect with your lederhosen or dirndl print t-shirt.
Brewery: Flying Fish Brewing Co.
Availability: Available on draft, in bottles and for growler fills at the tap room (Somerdale).
While bock beers tend to have a deep bronze color, the maibock style is lighter in color, hoppier in flavor and heavy with the alcohol. In Germany, maibocks are special occassion beers to pair with meats and cheese. Here in New Jersey, we’ll drink to anything, as evidenced by Flying Fish‘s seasonal big bottle release in their exit series. The tribute to the Carteret exit on the turnpike is a rich beer that help you transition to the cooler days of autumn.
Ramstein Dunkel Hefe-Weizen
Brewery: High Point Brewing
Availability: Available on draft, in bottles and for growler fills at the tap room (Butler).
You’ll need something to fill your stein while singing German drinking songs (or “99 Luftballons” if you don’t know any), so High Point’s line-up of traditional German beers includes this Oktoberfest staple. The Dunkelweizen is a dark-style beer served in proper beer halls in Bavaria. While copper in color, the Ramstein dunkel gives you tastes of apple, banana and chocolate that you’d associate with the style. As our Brew Jersey profile pointed out, the crew of High Point learned their trade in Munich, so this is as authentic a German beer you can get in Jersey.
Brewery: Climax Brewing Co.
Availability: Available on draft, in bottles and for growler fills at the tap room (Roselle Park).
Märzen is the beer you’d have in Bavaria during the festivities because they would be made in the spring, stored in the summer and brought out to help celebrate the fall. New Jersey’s oldest craft brewery offers a seasonal Oktoberfest beer that’s as traditional as they come. You’ll get a full-malt assault on your taste buds with a light hop character.
Brewery: Demented Brewery
Availability: Available on draft and for growler fills at the tap room (Middlesex).
Besides fine sports cars, huge pretzels and Kraftwerk, Germany is home to the Grimm fairy tales. In the story of Rumpelstiltskin, an elf helps a miller’s daughter turn straw into gold. In return, the daughter promises her firstborn child. No need for that here, just a thank you will suffice for a delicious pint of Demented’s banana and clove-tasting beer.
Brewery: Kane Brewing
Availability: Available on draft, in cans and for growler fills at the tap room (Ocean Twp).
Whether you’re drinking out of a glass boot, a one liter mug or from grandma’s antique tea collection, Kane Brewing has a unique take on the Kölsch style for you to enjoy. They still use German malts, but they also go with Australian Galaxy hops that provides a more tropical fruit finish. You might trade your German outfit for a Hawaiian shirt after consuming this.
Tower 23 with Kiwi and Lime
Brewery: Cape May Brewing Co.
Style: Sour Berliner Weisse
Availability: Available on draft and for growler fills at the tap room (Cape May).
The most popular flavor to add to Berliner Weisse beers in Germany is lemon-lime soda. It makes drinking a liter of beer with your schnitzel and currywurst much more doable. Cape May Brewing Co. goes a similar route by adding kiwi and lime for an even more of a fruity, unusual flavor. The end result is tart finish with a little pizzazz that you’d come to expect from this brewery.
Brewery: Beach Haus Brewery
Availability: Available on draft, in bottles and for growler fills at the tap room (Belmar).
Translated, Schwarzbier means “black beer,” but it’s not a stout. It’s a lager that’s made with dark malts instead of pale, so while it may look heavy, it’s actually quite drinkable for multiple rounds. Beach Haus’s version is smooth and comforting, made for times when you want to have a more relaxed Oktoberfest celebration.
Don’t forget to check out the entire Brew Jersey series here.