I know it is still hot out there, but Oktoberfest beers are released by craft brewers earlier and earlier these days. And I promise, cooler weather is on the way. And that means football, plenty of cold malty lagers and spicy hot chili.
Instead of doing what I’ve done for other publications this time of year, which is cover a handful of pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers available on shelves from craft breweries all over the country, I’ve decided to only mention the hyper-local Oktoberfest brews. The ones brewed in our coverage area, where we have three breweries and two brew pubs.
However, due to the lengthy tank times and careful planning that goes with this style, only two of the breweries have an Oktoberfest brew in store for us this season. Both brew pubs, on the other hand, will each have one offering.
So without further ado, please allow me to belly my saggy beer gut up to the bar and introduce what are local brewers have on tap for us this 2016 Oktoberfest season.
2855 Marconi Drive, Ste 350, Alpharetta, Georgia 30005
Jekyll Brewing opened in Alpharetta in 2013 by brewer/co-owner Josh Rachel. Now that the brewery has had a few years to get their brew boots beneath them, they have just released their first-ever Fest beer called Seven Bridges Oktoberfest, whose name is inspired by the allegedly haunted CCC Road with seven bridges in Rome, GA. This traditional Märzen-style beer is fermented with true German lager yeast, traditional Munich malts and Tettnang hops for balance. Look for bottles of Seven Bridges on the shelves at beer stores and pouring at your favorite bars and restaurants from mid-August through October 2016.
Expected release date: mid-August (where to find Jekyll Brewing beers)
Cherry Street Brewing Cooperative
5810 Bond St, Cumming, GA 30040
Head Brewer Nick Tanner is constantly coming up with new brews and seems to have a lot going on. So we were surprised to learn that he did in fact have a Fest beer in the works. For no other reason than we didn’t believe he had the tank space. And besides, he always turns his popular porter into a Pumpkin Pie Porter this time of year. In fact, the Pumpkin Pie Porter is currently pouring. Tanner explains that the Oktoberfest beer will be a traditional Märzen utilizing — yep, you guessed it — Munich and Vienna malts. He also tells us that the beer will weight in at 5.5% a.b.v., which is fairly typical for the style.
Expected release date: Early September, pumpkin beer currently pouring at the taproom
5 Seasons Brewing North
3655 Old Milton Pkwy, Alpharetta, GA 30005
German Fest beers tend to be straightforward lagers even for forward-thinking brewers like Crawford Moran, who is more known for their outside-the-box brewing style. “I will be brewing a very traditional German Märzen.” Explains Moran. “All German barley, German hops, Czech Saaz hops (which are traditionally used for Oktoberfest beers) and a German Yeast from Munich.” Moran will ferment it cold and lager it for three months. Cold fermentation and extended cold aging allows for a clean flavor profile; allowing the yeast to settle out naturally. So, in Moran’s words, “there is no need to filter and strip out all the wonderful body and character.” 5 Seasons Brewing North will throw its annual Oktoberfest bash October 1 with a German menu and live music — $40 all you can eat and drink.
Expected release date: Week of September 19
Hop Alley Brew Pub
25 S Main St, Alpharetta, GA 30009
Owner/brewer Brandon Hintz is among the more experienced of the young brewers in the greater Atlanta area. And that experience flows through in his beers. In Celebration of Oktoberfest, Hintz brews a traditional Oktoberfest style beer employing German Pils, Vienna and Munich malts, and Noble hops for balance, before being finished off with Ayinger yeast. The result is a very drinkable, malty, medium-bodied lager.
Expected release date: Tuesday, August 30