Packaging: 12 oz. bottle
BJCP Style: German Festbier
Hops Variety: German Noble Hops
Malts Variety: German Munich and Pilsner Malts
Beer Connoisseur Rating: None
- Bitterness Level: Low
- Would I purchase again? Yes
- Would I stock it? Yes
- Comments/Characteristics: A light, crisp Festbier with low bitterness from the world’s oldest brewery.
Oktoberfest is winding down in many areas of the U.S.; however, here in North Georgia it is still going on strong. Frankly, late September and early October in Georgia this year has not felt anything like fall, as it has been 85° – 90°F every day for the last few weeks. Unfortunately, it has taken a hurricane coming out of the Gulf to finally break the heat and bring us down about 15 degrees to our more normal temperatures this time of year. As such, I have a few more Oktoberfest beers to review, mostly offerings from local craft breweries, but also from a traditional German brewery. Now for Weihenstephaner Festbier.
Starting with a quick review, most of the Oktoberfest beers made in the U.S. or even imported into the U.S. are Marzen style beers. The Marzen style is not what is typically served during the actual Oktoberfest celebrations in Munich. Marzen is a more amber-colored beer that is a little more heavy. Oktoberfest beer outside of Munich is more often referred to as Festbier, which is a lighter, golden-colored beer very similar to a Munich Helles.
One would think that if the world’s oldest brewery is based in Germany, surely it would be one of the breweries designated as an official Oktoberfest beer provider. Not so. Why you might ask? It’s simple, in order to be an official brewer of Oktoberfest beer, and thus be able to legally use the moniker in Germany, you have to be located in Munich. Weihenstephan Brewery is located several miles northeast of Munich in the town of Freising. Thankfully, that does not stop Weihenstephan from making a world-class Festbier for us to enjoy!
Weihenstephaner Festbier is a good example of the popular German Oktoberfest style. A visually beautiful, inviting beer; it pours a brilliant, clear golden color and develops a nice white, fluffy head about two fingers tall with good lengthy retention. Aroma is malt forward, but a light biscuit-like character. The use of Hallertau hops gives it a mild hops scent. Weihenstephaner is smooth and light on the palate displaying its biscuit-like malt backbone and a restrained hops bitterness. It is crisp and refreshing with a short finish. As you would expect from a traditional German Oktoberfest style beer, it checks all the style boxes.
Just because a beer hits all the boxes for a particular style does not make it boring. Quite the contrary, in this age of craft beer creativity that blows up the style boxes, it is refreshing to be able to select something for an occasion and get exactly what you are expecting. As I have written before, I have a deep respect for German breweries and their traditions. They know their beers and pump out consistent, quality products that almost anyone can enjoy. Weihenstephan Brewery is one of my favorites and they brew some of the world’s best beers.
Bottom line: Weihstephaner Festbier is a world-class Oktoberfest offering available right here in the U.S. If you are looking for a Oktoberfest beer that is similar to what is served in Munich for your Oktoberfest celebration, this one is a great choice and readily available in most package stores. Light, crisp and clean, it pairs well with traditional German cuisine or American cookout fair. Definitely something all of your guests can enjoy. Prost!
Thanks for reading, and until next time…Let Us Drink Beer!