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Oktoberfest in Cincinnati is Craft Beer Bliss


Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on 12th October 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event.

Born was Oktoberfest which has grown into a massive celebration with over 6 Million people taking part in it each and every year. Years later it was moved to September to take advantage of the better weather at that time.

Since 1976 here in Cincinnati we celebrate the largest Oktoberfest outside of Munich with over 500,000 people lining the streets in a couple weekends.  At the forefront of this celebration are Lederhosen, Drindls, Wiener Dog Races, Chicken Dances, feats of strength and of course BEER! Multiple other Germania Societies, communities, cities and municipalities also throw their own parties making this region the Oktoberfest capital of the United States.

Breweries we visit on our tours are now getting in on the game making Oktoberfest styles for their guests. The result is nearly two months of Beer Tour Bliss here in Zinzinnati. Now technically in order for a Beer to be a true “Oktoberfest” it has to be brewed in Munich Germany but that doesn’t stop American brewers from putting their best renditions up for imbibing.

I fell in love with Oktoberfest style beers a few years ago, in particular I like the Festbier, which is a lighter colored, lighter bodied version of the Märzen Style beer we are so used to. The malt backbone along with the crisp hop finish and body are perfect for my palate. I still absolutely LOVE Märzen style with its Copper-Amber color, rich caramel malt backbone and German hops and full body, just not as much as Festbier.

I did some research last year and tried nearly every “Festbier” out there (you are welcome), most of which are simply Märzen style Oktoberfest beers that are sold in packaging they can move off the shelves after October is over. Very rarely did I find an actual American Style Festbier. This year is different, several breweries are making Festbier and that includes several locals. Here are some different Breweries doing Oktoberfest styles:

Taft’s Oktubberfest- This is actually a Festbier. Which I was super excited about (Many packages of beer that say Festbier are actually Märzen styles). Great malt backbone with a crispy hop finish.

West Side Brewing Oktoberfest– This is a Märzen style with a golden amber color that has a rich malt backbone with a touch of caramel and toffee and a earthy hop finish.

Rhinegeist Franz– This Märzen Style Ale goes against the tradition of Oktoberfest Beer being “Lagered” (stored cold for weeks at a time) and they produce this beer with Ale Yeast. Born is a effervescent, malty beer with a lighter body and some delicious toffee overtones.

MadTree-Märzen Attacks– Another Oktoberfest beer done as an Ale in the Märzen style, that brings home some great caramel and malt flavors with a light hop finish and rings in about 5.4% ABV.

Several other breweries are also producing different Märzen or Festbier styles such as: Brink, Grainworks, 16Lots, 13 Below, Little Miami, FigLeaf, and Fretboard and more. 

To try these beers and more jump on one of our tour buses as we highlight these styles over the next month or more!


Mike Stokes 
Founder Cincy Brew Bus
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