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In October of 1810, a Bavarian Crown Prince married a Princess, and the whole town of Munich was invited to celebrate the joyous occasion. The party and its associated festivities were such a hit that the event was repeated the following year, and Oktoberfest was born. Now, more than 200 years later, this annual bash has evolved into the world’s largest beer festival, spanning two-and-a-half weeks from late September to early October.

Official Oktoberfest rules dictate that the only beers that can be served in the beer tents must be from breweries in Munich. We don’t dispute that these establishments, some of which have been around since the 1300’s, know how to make an excellent beer. But we’re happy that during Oktoberfest celebrations across the U.S. we can enjoy a wide variety of craft märzen-style and German influenced beers.

Not sure how to go about picking your festive libation? Get some advice from fellow beer lovers with Beer Advocate’s chart of 100 top-rated Märzens. And if that list seems daunting, Vinepair offers up their top six picks for Oktoberfest-style beers.

It goes without saying that with great beer should come great food. You can’t go wrong with traditional German fare like spaetzle, schnitzel and giant soft pretzels, but to really take things up a notch we refer you to the experts at the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (yes, there is such a thing). They’ve put together an impressive list of beer and sausage pairings that will get you through Oktoberfest and beyond.

So, grab your beer stein (or a uPint will do), don your lederhosen or dirndl, and get out there and enjoy the foods and biers of Oktoberfest. 

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