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Bottoms Up with Oktoberfest Beers

Half of what makes Oktoberfest great? Beer.

Garrett Oliver, author of "The Brewmaster's Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food," knows beer. And on "The Early Show", he discussed how the tradition of beer and Oktoberfest began, and shared what the best beers are to pair with German foods.

Dining on Oktoberfest's Best

Oliver said, it seems that since Oktoberfest began in Germany in 1810, beer and Oktoberfest have gone hand in hand. Oktoberfest began when Prince Ludwig of Bavaria married Princess Theresia in Munich. It happened that the occasion fell at the same time as the traditional harvest festivals, so they decided to combine them and threw a huge party. It was such a success, Munich celebrated their created Oktoberfest every year.

The master brewers of the area, Oliver explained, would come to Oktoberfest to showcase their new and their best every year. People attempted to outdo each other. Most beers when Oktoberfest first began were heavy and dark beer. The Viennese first tried to brew a lighter beer in 1841, and eventually a Munich brewery picked up the trend and started brewing something called Marzen beer, translated as March beer. Many beers still have the label of Oktoberfest Marzen, which was a long standing Oktoberfest tradition. If you are looking for a true Marzen, Oliver said, look for a darker coppery color.

Our beers reflect some of the best that Oktoberfest beers have to offer, pick some up for yourself this Oktoberfest, and give it a try.

BROOKLYN OKTOBERFEST
This beer is close to Garrett Oliver's heart, as he is the brew master at Brooklyn Brewery. This beer is brewed from the finest German malt and hops. It is full-bodied and malty, holding to the tradition of Oktoberfest beer. It has a bready aroma and light, brisk hop bitterness. They have an heirloom variety of barley malted specially for us in Germany to make this delicious beer. It's especially great with sausages, chicken, steaks, pork chops and roasted meats. Of course, it's also very nice by itself -- with or without the oompah band.
PRICE: $10

SPATEN PREMIUM
Golden in color with a well balanced hop-flavor. The full rounded body is a superb balance between hops and a malty sweetness. Spaten is known as Munich's first brewery, and for over 100 years, the Spaten brewery has been one of the most important exporters of German beer. Spaten beers are the No. 1 selling authentic Bavarian beers in the United States, which means that the beers are completely unaltered. They are identical to the beer you would be served in Munich. It goes well with most foods, and is known as a good eating beer (one researcher we read says that it goes well with pizza).
PRICE: $17

AYINGER OKTOBERFEST
Full-bodied, flavorful March (Märzen) beer brewed and lagered to celebrate Bavaria's famous Oktoberfest. Served at German beer festivals in September and October with roasted chicken, pork, and sauerkraut. It is available seasonally. It has a rich, golden color and has a slightly sweet, malty nose. Medium to big body and alcohol. There is a soft dryness from long maturation.

This beer goes really well with epretzels and radishes, goulash with dumplings, clam chowder, bock-wurst, weiner schnitzel. It is traditionally served in tall earthenware or glass mugs.
PRICE: $4 for 16.9 oz.

SCHNEIDER WEISSE
A well-known classic German hefeweizen, this beer has an amber colour (quite dark for the style due to the addition of some Vienna and dark malt to the mix of Bavarian barley and wheat malts) with a thick, foamy, incredibly solid and tenacious head. Its complex aroma consists of light fruit, a touch of spice (cloves and nutmeg) and maybe some vanilla. There is also a malty touch that seems to hint at the strength -- at 5.4 percent, it is indeed at the stronger end of the style. On the palate it is quite spritzy, yet smooth and subtly spicy, with complex light fruit - apples, lemons, oranges, bananas and melons, with a pear-drop estery hint. It is fairly dry, but not especially bitter. Hops are discernible when the head is tasted, but are not a major feature of the palate. Finish is slightly sweeter and again quite malty, with the light, lemon-zesty fruit lingering in a smoothly cloying aftertaste. Overall this beer's classic status is well-deserved - it is smooth, complex and refreshing, with a hidden strength.
PRICE: $4 for 16.9 oz