The summer was brutal, which makes the European seasonal beers which are typically malty and sweet even sweeter this year.
Salzburger Stiegl — Hell
This helles lager comes out strong with its packaging but the flavor is relatively timid in comparison. That’s to be expected by the style of beer, but boy does this can look serious for a 4.5 percent ABV brew. An Austrian company — which should surprise nobody — Stiegl is best known for its delicious grapefruit radler, surprisingly. A good introduction if you want to approach your celebrations lightly.
Anthem Brewing — Oktoberfest
Word was getting around about the quality of Anthem’s Oktoberfest this year as soon as it hit the taps (okay, maybe even a few days before) and the hype was accurate. This year’s version is maltier and less bitter than recent batches. Worth buying an extra case if you like the sweeter side of the marzen.
Twisted Spike Brewing Co. — Spiketoberfest
Twisted Spike’s Spiketoberfest has hit the same notes for the last three years. In this case, consistency is a virtue. Even though the IBUs register at slightly higher at 30 for this brew, it’s no hoppier than most fall German beers, but it holds its own against the rest in its class.
Marshall is the perennial Tulsa Oktoberfest beer because it’s among the easiest to drink. As much a sipper as it is crushable, this blue-and-white can is always a sight for sore eyes as the breeze starts to crispen. The flavor holds well for months, so stock up.
Cabin Boys Brewery — Oktoberfest
Cabin Boys is another Tulsa brewery that has become a mainstay on OKC shelves, delivering an Oktoberfest lager that comes in a four-pack but with a slightly-higher than average ABV, but I still wouldn’t expect to find any left the next day.
Stonecloud Brewing Co. — Festbier Autumn Lager
This is another that makes the list each time simply because it’s exactly like visiting an old friend. Stonecloud has been pushing out plenty of experimental beers (in both the taproom and for distribution), but it’s a familiar flavor that you might not have realized you missed as much as you do when reacquainted.
Paulaner is primarily known for its hefeweizen, but consistently one of the only German beers that can be easily and consistently be found on Oklahoma store shelves. According to the Munich company, they’ve been brewing with just water, hops, yeast and malt for nearly four centuries. A history lesson in a bottle, Paulaner’s Märzen and Festbier taste like everything you think of when it comes to German beer: rich, malty and smooth.
Angry Scotsman Brewing — Gateway to Helles
Okay, okay. Admittedly, Save the Date is the seasonal marzen, but this one is here for a couple reasons. One, for a Scotsman, Ross Harper has no trouble brewing beers from farther east in Europe like a natural. Secondly, this one is on the fuller side of a helles lager. Also, it’s available year-round, so once the Oktoberfest beers are wiped out, this one will come in handy until late next summer.
Schneider Weisse — German Hefe-Weizen Ale
Had to sneak in at least one hefeweizen onto this list even though it’s not technically a fall beer. Schneider Weisse was one of those 16.9-ounce bottles you used to buy yourself on slightly special occasions back in the day. More than a six-pack but not an investment, you get a beer that’s buying a bottle at a time.
This is another one of those loud cans that catches your attention with its color scheme and art, but this beer took the Great American Beer Festival gold medal for Vienna-style lager in 2018. This malty, German-style lager is also a bit grassy which isn’t something you find in ever seasonal beer you sample this season.
Brewdog — Festbier Bavarian Helles
To be honest, Brewdog’s motto is “fiercely defiant and independent while Oklahoma Gazette’s is “fiercely local and independent,” so between that and a blue-and-orange pattern, what other incentive was there to try a new brew? Definitely a satisfying and crushable helles with a 6 percent ABV to boot, so this Ohio brewery is worth at least one go every harvest beer season.