Our 9 Favorite Beers of Oktoberfest

Inspired by our favorite seasonal beers, we just launched our second “Docktoberfest” promotion. To get you in the mood, the Sunsail staff decided to gather around the table and pick our favorite Octoberfest beers to enjoy while shopping our amazing Docktoberfest deals. Drink responsibly!

1) Victory Festbier

Victory Brewing Company - Downingtown, PA

If you love chocolatey, malty beers, this is the Oktoberfest beer for you! This beer’s aroma really set itself apart from the other Oktoberfests we tasted. The aroma makes you feel like you have stuck your nose into a freshly baked loaf of bread. The beer pours with a deep copper color and has a very pleasing, sweet, malty flavor. This beer is as smooth as a downwind spinnaker set on a breezy day.

2) Samuel Adams Octoberfest

Samuel Adams Brewery - Boston, MA

Many feel that Sam Adams represents the very best craft interpretation of the Oktoberfest style and you can count us among the admirers of this great beer. The beer pours with a beautiful autumn amber color. It clearly looks like fall in a glass. A well balanced beer, it delivers a slightly sweet, malty, caramel flavor with a nice perfumy hop finish.

3) Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen

Aying, Bavaria, Germany

Our favorite German Oktoberfest, this beer poured with a beautiful, almost creamy, head and the deepest copper coloring of all the beers we tasted. This beer has a distinctly creamy and viscous mouthfeel and delivers a smooth, bready, biscuity malt flavor with virtually none of the overpowering hop bitterness that tends to characterize many Continental European lagers.

4) Thirsty Dog Barktoberfest

Thirsty Dog Brewing - Akron, OH

Another wonderfully malty, rich offering, Barktoberfest poured with a much more golden copper color than our other favorites, but it still delivered a great caramel aroma and a similar level of malty sweetness to Ayinger and Sam Adams. Barktoberfest also benefitted from very mild carbonation and an extremely clean finish. This is a very well balanced Oktoberfest beer and a great representation of an American style Oktoberfest.

5) Smuttynose Oktoberfest

Smuttynose Brewing Company – Hampton, NH

We were excited to find Smuttynose on the shelves of our local liquor store as they are masters of maltier brew with their Old Brown Dog ale offering. We were surprised when Smuttynose poured with more of a golden than copper color but nonetheless we dove right into to tasting it. We discovered a very light tasting offering that was a bit too close in to a standard Continental European lager than we would have expected from Smuttynose. This beer would be perfect for a day out on the water in unseasonably warm fall weather.

6) Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest Collaboration with Mahrs Brau

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co – Chico, CA

Sierra Nevada brings a novel concept to their Oktoberfest offering by partnering partner with a different German brewer to explore a different approach to the style each year. This year’s collaboration is with Mahrs Brau, a family owned German brewery that has been making beer since 1895. This year’s Oktoberfest poured with a surprisingly light golden color and right away we detected the signature Sierra Nevada hop profile on the nose of the beer. We noted a slight malty flavor up front that moved right into Sierra’s tell tale hop bitterness which lingered through the flavor. This helped Sierra’s offering to stand apart from the other Oktoberfests we tried as it felt like a classic Sierra Nevada twist on the traditional German festival beer recipe.

7) Harpoon Octoberfest

Harpoon Brewery – Boston, MA and Windsor, VT

Harpoon is famous for throwing incredible Octoberfest parties at its Vermont and Boston Breweries, complete with dueling Oompah Bands and Chicken dance contests, so you know they are going to make a solid brew to accompany their raucous celebrations. Harpoon’s offering has a nice copper-red coloring with a light, bread like aroma. Even though it is brewed with large amounts of chocolate, Munich and pale malts, you do not get a deep caramel malt flavor like with Victory Fest Bier and Ayinger. This kept Harpoon from making it into our favorites list, but the beer has a pleasant malt delivery balanced by a gentle hop bitterness and a clean finish.

8) Berkshire Brewing Oktoberfest

Berkshire Brewing Company - South Deerfield, MA

A very drinkable Oktoberfest but it lacks the flavor delivery and complexity that we were hoping for from an aged release. We called this one the “Opti of Octoberfests”, good for those who like lighter tasting beer but want to learn to drink the more flavorful brews of the fall season. The beer pours with a very nice orange-amber color but we struggled to discern a measurable amount of sweetness or spice when we tasted it. Perhaps chilling this beer down to release more of the malty flavors would bring more to the experience.

9) Port City Oktoberfest

Port City Brewing - Alexandria, VA

If you are looking for a very traditional take on the German Marzen style lager, this is the beer for you. The beer delivers a very nice copper red color and features a slightly sweet flavor. The beer is a more medium to light bodied beer with a very subtle hop finish. It felt to us that Port City was trying to replicate the authentic style to the letter of the law, versus attempting to add more body with a bolder malt profile or a more noticeable hop character to add a bit of complexity.

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