Even though Bavarians have been celebrating the harvest with beer festivals since before the 1400s, for the first time since World War II, Oktoberfest has been cancelled in Munich, Germany due to COVID-19. However, beer lovers still have online options for those wanting to raise a glass in celebration of this annual rite of fall.
A particular Oktoberfest fest favorite is the Märzen or Märzenbier, a lager that originated in Bavaria and has a medium to full body with colors ranging from pale to dark brown. Specialty beer importer Merchant du Vin offers Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen for those seeking a genuine German lager. Retailers who carry their beer can be found here.
The online craft beer retailer Tavour has an app that allows beer drinkers to purchase German-style fall beers brewed in the United States. Among their fall offerings include Bobtoberfest, a high gravity Märzen brewed by Heathen Allen Brewing in McMinnville, Oregon. According to the brewery’s website, this beer was named for Master Brewer/Owner Rick Owen’s late brother Bob, the person who sparked Rick’s interest in brewing lager beers in general and Oktoberfest beers in particular.
Also, Tavour partnered with Rahr & Sons Brewing in Fort Worth, Texas to offer OAKtoberfest, a Festbier aged in bourbon barrels, as well as Oktoberfest, a Märzen lager. Additional Märzen lagers worth savoring include Lagerhosen (True Respite Brewing Company, Rockville, MD) and Oktoberfest (Lupine Brewing Company, Delano, MN).
Those looking for other fall beers via the Tavour app should check out The White Lodge, a classic rendition of a Belgian wit from Holy Mountain Brewing Company in Seattle, Washington. Also, they carry Rye on Rye, a barrel-aged rye ale from Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, MO. Fruit forward offerings available through Tavour include pFriem Brewing’s (Hood River, OR) FRAMBOZEN, a raspberry Lambic-inspired ale and Breakfast at Tiffany's, a sour fruited Berliner Weisse with Blueberries and Maple Syrup from Mikerphone Brewing (Elk Grove Village, IL).
This fall, Rogue Brewing (Newort, OR) is updating the look to their flagship Dead Guy Ale, an beer in the style of a German Maibock. Their "Paint the Can Dead" promotion challenges fans to create their own original Dead Guy can art and then submit their finished creation for the chance to win prizes. Use the Rogue Finder to locate where to purchase Dead Guy Ale around the United States.
On September 10, 2020 StormBreaker Brewing (Portland, OR) will release Stormtoberfest!, This marzen-style lager, deep orange in appearance, has a creamy mouthful and can be purchased online to be shipped out of state.
Celebrating with Cider:
For those who wish to celebrate Oktoberfest without the gluten, consider joining the Portland Cider Club. From now until September 14th, residents of Washington State, Oregon, and California can order their September subscription box. This month’s box contains a Pumpkin Spice, a part of their Small Batch Series fall favorite, which is being packaged for the first time in 19.2-ounce cans (aka a proper pint). This medium-sweet tribute to autumnal flavors features cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and ginger added to 100% freshly-pressed Northwest apples.
Other offerings in this box include their taproom exclusive Gute-Apful, Peach Berry, Concord Grape, Hop' Rageous, and Pineapple Rosé. Portland Cider Club members receive a custom Koozie, growler fill discount cards, exclusive events, recipes & content, and more. Members can cancel at any time, so there’s no long-term obligation beyond savoring this Oktoberfest box.
Those looking to create their own at-home festival, Tavour suggests stocking up on items like Schweinebraten (roast pork), Würstl (sausages), and Brezen (pretzels). Also, YouTube features Bavarian bands such as The Oompah Band, the Oompah-Delics!, Schwaubapower, and Rehinlander Band. In addition, from Etsy to eBay, one can find traditional Bavarian-style clothing for those who wish to don colorful dirndls and lederhosen.