Despite its name, Oktoberfest is really more of a September affair. With the final weekend of the month approaching, that means we’re in full swing with Oktoberfest parties happening all over the Metroplex over the next few days and into the first weekend of October.
Also, if you’ve been paying attention over the last month, Oktoberfest beers have been multiplying by the dozens. It’s a classic style that has been reproduced countless times over the years by many breweries.
Despite its simple qualities, Oktoberfest — or Märzen — beer is actually a difficult style to accurately produce, and each brewery’s version is a little different. On first impression, they’re sweet beers, but many finish dry. Traditionally they’re lagers, so they stay light on the palate despite being malt-forward.
Dallas’ Oak Highlands Brewery is the latest entrant to the Oktoberfest game and comes in shooting straight for the classic. Some other Texas versions like Saint Arnold and Rahr & Sons play fast and loose with the style and have some fun with it without necessarily staying within style guidelines. That is one of the cornerstones of American beer: doing whatever you want to and pleasing your customers.
Oak Highlands has clearly taken the more traditional route and has done an admirable job of it. That said, the brewery’s version isn’t so straightforward that it doesn’t have distinctive qualities. With a light kick of spice and some heavier toasty notes, this beer is complex and warrants further examination as it warms up. Where some traditional Oktoberfest beers can be simpler malty sweet exercises, Oak Highlands Oktoberfest finishes dry and clean with a bit of a snap.
Oktoberfest beers are fun to try and compare the differences among a seemingly direct and traditional style, but Oak Highlands shows just how easily those boundaries can stretch while still respecting tradition.
Oktoberfests are flowing: Fort Worth will celebrate Oktoberfest this weekend at Panther Island Pavilion. Activities start Thursday and continue through the Saturday finale, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. $10-$60. oktoberfestfw.com.
Rahr & Sons 5K: The annual event at the Fort Worth brewery enters its seventh year Oct. 1. Runners are encouraged to dress in a festive manner and beer is included in the race that starts 9 a.m. $40 to run. rahrbrewing.com.
Beerliner & Chill: Entering its fourth year of representation at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, the 1400 Miles charity and the Beerliner will be parked directly across the street from the Colorado Convention Center from Oct. 5 to 8. If you are attending GABF, heading over to the Beerliner is an absolute must. This year, the crew will be occupying three times the space it had last year and repping Texas beer harder than ever. It’ll pour beer from Martin House, Rahr & Sons, Collective, Wild Acre and others for donations to its prostate-awareness campaign. This is a spot not to be missed. 1400miles.com.