Oktoberfest with The Beer Chicks

By: Christina Perozzi

We've been waiting and waiting and finally the end of September is here, and Oktoberfest has arrived! This year marks Munich's Oktoberfest's 200th anniversary. Which, we think, just means more drinking beer and that makes us happy. The typical style of beer that is consumed at Oktoberfest in Munich is a style called Märzen, which is traditionally a full-bodied malty seasonal lager, in addition to the mega liters of ubiquitous Pilseners and Hefeweizens being lifted throughout the world over this 17-day beer extravaganza. But we Beer Chicks like to do things a little differently. Why limit ourselves to the typically consumed? We've found Oktoberfest as a time to spread our wings and celebrate the German beer styles that don't get as much attention as the others, but are delightful in more ways that one!

Schwarzbier

Schwarzbier (Shvarts-Beer) means "black beer" in German.  Upon hearing that, many beer drinkers looking for lighter Pilseners head for the hills, thinking that a black beer must be stronger and bigger than even the most imperial of Stouts. As a matter of fact, Schwarzbier is a lager that is actually much lighter bodied and much less intense than even typical Porters and Stouts. Traditionally brewed in Saxony in eastern Germany Schwartzbier are clean and light with notes of coffee, chocolate, licorice and a waft of smoke.

Our favorite Schwarzbiers are:
  • Kostritzer Schwarzbier: Kostritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei, Bad Kostritz, Germany.
  • Sprecher Black Bavarian: Sprecher Brewery, Glendale, Wisconsin
  • Samuel Adams Black Lager: Boston Beer Company, Boston, Massachusetts
Munich Dunkel Lagers

Munich Dunkels are the classic dark lagers and are made using the rich and complex Munich malt, which lends sweetish notes like caramel and bread crusts, nuts and cocoa.  For the most part, Munich Dunkels are not intense or bitter beers.  They are approachable, comfortable and medium bodied with a lingering sweetness in the finish.

Our favorite Munich Dunkels are:
  • Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel: Brauerei Aying, Aying, Germany
  • Leinenkugel's Creamy Dark: Leinenkugel Brewing Co., Chippewa Falls, WI
  • Negra Modelo: Grupo Modelo, Mexico City, Mexico
(That's right! This Mexican beer is actually a German style.)
Rauchbier

Rauchbier is the most famous smoked beer (rauch means "smoke" in German). Primarily out of Bamberg, these beers are made from malt that has been smoked over an open flame using beechwood logs.  Many different styles of beer, such as Marzens, Lagers and Porters, can be Rauchbiers, whose smokiness people often compare to the taste of bacon or smoked meat — yay! This style might seem intense at first, but give it more than one taste. As your palate acclimates the oakey salty, smokey notes mellow and the beer gets exponentially yummier.

Our favorite Rauchbiers are:
  • Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock: Brauerei Heller-Trum, Bamberg, Germany
  • Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen: Brauerei Heller-Trum, Bamberg, Germany
  • Alaskan Smoked Porter: Alaskan Brewing Company, Juneau, Alaska
Prost!  ~  The Beer Chicks...  Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune

The Beer Chicks are renowned beer sommeliers Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune. They met while working together at the famed Father's Office in Santa Monica, CA and became fast friends over the bond they shared with their one true love, craft beer. Their book, The Naked Pint: An Unadulterated Guide to Craft Beer, explains beer in an accessible way, so that everyone can love craft beer as much as they do.

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