Thanks to Oktoberfest, fall and German beers go hand-in-hand. But with literally thousands of styles of German beer to choose from, it can be too daunting to know which one to pick. Whether you’re attending the festivities in person or hosting your own celebration at home, we break down a few popular options, plus our favorite snacks for pairing.
A classic German beer style from Cologne, Kölsch has been around for hundreds of years. Delicate and easy-drinking, this beer is a hybrid of an ale and a lager, with a crisp, clean flavor and some floral notes. We love it with fresh cheeses, like chèvre, as well as simple, salty snacks like potato chips and Marcona almonds.
Though Pilsner is a Czech invention, Germany has been making its own style for well over a century. Light in color with pronounced carbonation and a frothy white head, this crowd-pleasing lager is super refreshing, making it ideal for an afternoon of sipping. Balancing a mild, malty sweetness with a slight edge of hoppy bitterness, this is also a great beer for pairing with spicy and salty foods—try hot wings or fresh pretzels with mustard.
Because Oktoberfest beers are defined by the time of year they’re served, styles can vary, and they’ve evolved over time. Today, though, traditional Oktoberfests are lagers based on another type of German beer called Märzen. Amber in color, with toasty and malty flavors, these beers are a great pairing for hearty meat dishes like ribs, porchetta, and of course, sausage.
Weissbier is a vast category of German wheat beers that come in a wide range of styles. One popular type is Hefeweizen, a hazy, golden variety with malty, bready, and fruity flavors. If you don’t love pronounced hoppiness in a beer, this one might be for you. It’s also super versatile when it comes to food pairings—we love it with snacks like salty cured meats, smoked Gouda cheese, and fries with malt vinegar. Another popular type of weissbier is Gose, a type of sour wheat beer with a tart, salty flavor that makes it a refreshing option for summertime. Due to its salinity, it’s a great match for seafood, as well as briny olives and feta cheese.
Also known as black beer, Schwarzbier is a type of lager that gets its signature dark color from roasted malted barley. This also gives it toasty, roasted notes that pair beautifully with barbecue and rich, meaty cheeses like Tallegio. This type of beer can also have flavors of coffee and chocolate, a bittersweet character that makes a great match for desserts like tiramisu.
Looking to round out the Oktoberfest celebration? Check out these German-inspired pretzel recipes!
Story contributed by Plated Senior Recipe Editor Sara Heegaard.
This article is intended for individuals 21-years-old and over. Please drink responsibly
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