Continuing hot summer weather aside, the calendar has me thinking about gemütlichkeit. Back in 2016, I shared that delightful German word for the geniality and friendliness that having a beer outdoors with family and/or friends. If the firepit is going, even better.
Other than the more pleasant weather that late September tends to bring, we transition from gin & tonic (or even Pimms cup) season to Oktoberfest beers. In America, that means märzen. The malty, darker lager with caramel notes is my favorite style. Back in Germany, they switched to helles for some reason. Like 1918 and 1945, America wins, on points.
Local Oktoberfest beers
While local breweries tend to shun lagers for ales most of the year, many package märzen for Oktoberfest. Each year, I try to pick up as many different local/regional brands as I can. Last year I picked up the following:
- Oktoberfest, Port City Brewing Co., Alexandria
- Oktoberfest, New District Brewing Co., Arlington
- Fest, Beltway Brewing Co., Sterling
- Rhinofest, Lost Rhino, Ashburn
- Silobration, Three Silos Brewing, Manassas
- Oktoberfest, Center of the Universe Brewing, Ashland
- O’fest, Devil’s Backbone
It wasn’t by design that I didn’t leave Virginia last year, but I was unable to get any D.C. or Maryland Oktoberfests. This year, I have already picked up an Atlas Brewing Co. Fest from their Half Street SE location and Solace Brewing’s Nacht (pictured above). I’m hoping to get some Caboose Brewing and DC Brau entries as well.
Overall, my favorite locals are Port City’s and Rhinofest.
Chances are, the brewery near you is brewing their own Oktoberfest. Go check it out because craft breweries are an economic success story.
Out of state Oktoberfests
Since I horde local/regional fests, I don’t buy much from elsewhere. There is one big exception – Great Lakes Brewing (Cleveland) Oktoberfest. So good – I buy a case annually. Other mass market like Samuel Adams and Yuengling weren’t really my thing.
Gemütlichkeit with others
We’re still in a damn pandemic, but the conventional wisdom is outdoor activities are reasonably safe, especially if you are vaccinated against COVID-19 and why wouldn’t you be?
September 19 – 26 is DC Beer Week with all sorts of events.
Where to Celebrate Oktoberfest Around DC This Fall – Washingtonian
The NoVA Breweries Hosting Incredible Oktoberfest Bashes This Month – Northern Virginia Magazine
DCBeer Oktoberfest coverage
Death by Marzen, The DC Beer Oktoberfest Extravaganza
I almost didn’t post this because I disagree with their conclusion based on geography.
I have compiled an extensive twitter list of breweries in the DC area. Warning, it scrolls forever:A Twitter List by doubleuefwhy