In the spirit of Oktoberfest we sampled as many German beers as we could find locally. I know what you are thinking, why would we take on such an arduous task? We did this for you, it’s OK. You can thank us later.
In case you were not aware Germany really likes beer, like, really likes beer. I know this is very surprising but it’s true. What is more amazing is that there is such a thing as the Beer Purity Law. German Purity law states that all German beer must only be made with barley, hops and clean water. This went into effect in 1516 and is still amazingly in effect today.
Types of German Beers
Some of types of beer produced in Germany – it’s amazing the different ways a few simple ingredients can be combined:
- Pilsner – from Pilsen in the former Austrian-German region of Bohemia (which is today part of the Czech Republic)
- Helles or Dunkles Lager – A refreshing lager from Dortmund and Munich
- Koelsch – Originally from Cologne, a unique style somewhere in between a lager and an ale
- Weißbier (Wheat Beer) – a Southern German favorite, literally translates to white bier
- Berliner Weisse – a Weißbier but from Berlin
- Märzen Beer – the Marzen gets it’s name from traditionally being brewed in March, was the beer served at the first Oktoberfest
- Gose – A flavored wheat beer from Goslar, defies the standard notion of a german beer
- Rauchbier – This smokey flavored beer that is unique today was once a very common way to brew beer.
Without further ado, in order of least favorite to favorite. Our impressions of the beers of our own personal Oktoberfest, remember we like beer but we are no beer expects. Just a couple of normal people giving their opinion on some German Beers that we happened to be able to find at our local liquor store (aka a package store to us New Englanders, don’t ask why cause I don’t know).
8. Spaten Optimator
Neither of us particularly enjoyed this one. It’s possible the bottle we had was skunked, because we seemed to have a somewhat unpopular opinion on this one. It had a sweet-ish flavor and a dark amber color, but the taste was just off. While we did not enjoy it, we reserve the right to change our mind if we may have had a bad batch.
7. Paulener Hefe-weizen
This was a much better drink than the Spaten. It was smooth and crisp, very easy to drink. Laura described it as tasting like Fall. It was a simple balanced flavor and in our opinion nothing super unqiue. The negatives were that it had an off smell, not skunked, not terrible, just a bit off. Also had a slight aftertaste that wasn’t super pleasant.
6. Augustiner-Bräu Edelstoff
“This is not bad”, is the full review I wanted to give. Unfortunately I’m guessing you would like a little more than that. This was a good easy drink, thankfully because we used this to fill our full size liter beer mugs. At the point of consumption we were full on chicken, pretzels and other beers so we may not have enjoyed this as much as we could have. The flavor was good, clean, and crisp. While not super unique it was a good solid drink, something we wouldn’t have a problem drinking at a barbeque or something.
5. Benediktiner Weissbier
Interestingly we used this beer to flavor our beer cheese. What was left, we drank! This was a solid, tasty wheat beer. Very smooth for a wheat beer. Isn’t overly sweet. Not overly distinct but a good easy drinking beer.
4. Bitburger Premium Pils
Apparently this is Germany’s No.1 Draft Beer, the can can’t lie you know. While it might not be one of the best German beers, it’s still a very solid drink. This might not sound like a compliment but we both described it as similar to a Budweiser. That being said it was very refreshing and an enjoyable drink. A really great balance of flavors, nothing was overpowering. This is worthy of a regular rotation.
3. Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen
This was definitely the most unique of all the beers we tried. This had a really distinct smokey flavor. It is a bit heavy, I couldn’t imagine drinking many of these. The smell was really unique and while it may be not it’s strongest selling point, but it smelled a bit like a smoked cheese. It’s a dark beer that maybe someone that doesn’t usually like dark beers, could maybe tolerate at least. The cool thing about this beer is it has been brewed for centuries in same town (Bamberg). This is definitely worth giving a try.
2. Weihenstephaner Helles
A mild, delicious, easy drink. This is the kind of beer that no one could possibly have anything bad to say about. This Helles has a really nice flavor and it’s unbelievably smooth and crisp. I’m willing to bet you can get this at most liquor stores. So do yourself a favor and go get some right now!
1. Julius Echter Hefe-Weissbier Hell
The only beer we both strongly rated highly. That has to show you something. This was outstanding, it checked all the boxes. It had a strong unique flavor, it was easy to drink. It had a nice odor. As far as our limited sample size this was definitely our best German beer. We both loved it and highly recommend it.
Prost! to the Best German Beers
We hope we could help you decide what to drink during your Oktoberfest celebration. Truthfully our best recommendation is that you do what we did, get as many as you can find/drink and try them all and figure out what your favorites are. This was a super fun activity and while I’m not sure we are now the subject matter experts on the best German beers, we learned a lot and had a great time doing it, which is a win win!
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