In 1810, Munich, Germany held its very first Oktoberfest festival. Originally a celebration of the marriage between King Louis I and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, the annual party has made its way across the world. Now, in the United States, each year we highlight seasonal beers, foods, and activities all in the spirit of Oktoberfest. Here are some of our favorites!
Pretzels: Soft pretzels are a prized possession at Oktoberfest. In 610 A.D., as the story goes, Italian monks made the first pretzels from leftover bread-dough scraps. The twisted knot shape was meant to symbolize arms folded in prayer, and in Europe they became considered a holy food with healing powers. This explains its presence at such a large European gathering. Eventually pretzels made their way to America and we fell in love with them, especially with a Dark Lager, IPA, Brown Ale, or even German Märzen beer! Check out the video below for our Bavarian Soft Pretzels recipe.
German Märzen / Oktoberfest Beer: Speaking of German Märzen, what exactly is it? It’s essentially the beer of Oktoberfest and the style that breweries in the United States refer to as Octoberfest. For a great-tasting take try Samuel Adams Octoberfest. For a tasty, authentic food pairing outside of soft pretzels try Beer Mustard Crusted Pork Loin, Pork Schnitzel, or German Potato Soup!
Würstl or Sausages: Whether it’s Bratwurst, Weisswurst, or any of the many other varieties, sausage is a major player in German and Oktoberfest cuisine. Of course, most often served with a generous amount of mustard and sauerkraut. If you’re looking for the perfect beer to pair with your sausage, a good tip is mildly spiced sausages work well with sweet malt flavors and light hops, compared to the spicier varieties which pair with darker and heavier brews.
Desserts: No festival is complete without dessert. At a typical Oktoberfest celebration, Strudels and Kuchen, the German word for cake, are appropriate. In America, seasonal pies are also fitting for the occasion. All excellent while paired with a nice Märzen!
Pumpkin Beer: Although it’s more American than German Oktoberfest, everything is pumpkin in the fall, including the beer. It’s a signature seasonal flavor that truly brings the essence of October to your tastebuds. We carry a number of different options in our beer aisle. Looking to enjoy pumpkin beer with a meal? We recommend slow-cooked meats, chicken and waffles, or chili. Maybe some pecan or apple pie for dessert. YUM!
Oktoberfest has taken off since the original festival in Munich. It’s inspired many across America and given us a number of awesome seasonal flavors. We love celebrating this annual tradition and hope you join us by trying one of these delicious food and beer pairings. For everything you need to enjoy your own Octoberfest visit your local store, or shop with us online!