Bavaria’s Major Breweries Serving Beer At Oktoberfest Grand Celebration

Bavaria’s Major Breweries Serving Beer At Oktoberfest Grand Celebration

Oktoberfest (photo courtesy of Amber Julie)

Bavaria’s Major Breweries Serving Beer At Oktoberfest Grand Celebration

Apart from Lederhosen men and Dirndl, which are the official costumes, Oktoberfest wouldn’t remain the same without the “Big Six” local breweries, which have been the lifeblood of this festival for centuries. In 1516, The Purity Law was passed, stating that the standard mix for Bavarian beer would be just water, malted barley, hops, and yeast. Join us as we narrate the stories and specialties of these breweries, which are some interesting physical embodiment of craftsmanship passed down through Bavarian families.

Brewing Heritage: The Big Six Oktoberfest Breweries

Six major local breweries serve 17 large and a few small tents at Oktoberfest. These Breweries have a long standing tradition of serving at the festival, and each has its specific tent. The hosts of these tents often come from families that have been serving at the Oktoberfest for generations, and they pride themselves on this.

1. Augustiner: Brewing Tradition Since 1328

Augustiner has a long history and tradition of brewing beer, dating back to 1328. It is the oldest brewery still in existence in Munich. A selection of Augustine beers, such as Märzen and Helles beer, are brewed here following the purity law. This brewery’s specialty is that it’s the only one that uses traditional wooden barrels for storage. This fact makes it one of the most favorite breweries among Oktoberfest attendees. It’s also famous for its cozy atmosphere, adherence to traditional methods, and high-quality beer.

Fun Fact: The Bavarian Purity Law is also known as Reinheitsgebot.

2. Spaten-Franziskaner: Merging Bavarian Heritage for Excellence

In 1922, Spaten and Franziskaner breweries merged, resulting in Spaten-Franziskaner. This significant event brought two important breweries of Bavaria together to pave the path for excellence in the traditional brewery process, and it has been a success ever since.

Spaten has been under the Sedlmyer family for the past two centuries. You can find the beers from this brewery in the following tents at the Oktoberfes

  • Schottenhammel
  • Marstall
  • Ochsenbraterei
  • Spaten-Zelt

3. Paulaner: Classic Bavarian Brews with Monastic Roots

Paulaner manufactured a variety of classic Bavarian beers, including Märzen, Helles, Dunkel, Weißbier (wheat beer), and Bockbier. It is brewed in the tradition of Paulaner monks, who used it to satiate themselves. Like many traditional brewers, Paulaner’s ownership has shifted throughout time. In 2002, it joined the Paulaner Brauereigruppe, Germany’s sixth-largest brewing firm. Paulaner’s first brewpub in the United States opened in 2013, serving a variety of classic beers and traditional Bavarian cuisine in New York City.

Fun Fact: The traditional beer mug at Oktoberfest is called a” Maßkrug.” It is a large glass mug holding precisely one liter of beer and is a well-known symbol of Oktoberfest celebrations.

4. Hacker-Pschorr: Balancing Tradition with Modern Craft

Hacker Brewery is also a member of the Paulaner Brauerei Group, which comprises traditional breweries like Paulaner and Auerbräu. This company is committed to preserving the quality and tradition of its beer brands while incorporating current brewing processes.

Hacker-Pschorr-Bräu was initially located on Sendlinger Street, which is now home to the restaurant “Altes Hackerhaus“.

5. Hofbräu München: Royal Decrees and Everlasting Legacy

If you are looking for the strongest beer, Hofbräu Festzelt has it with an ABV of 6.3%. Founded in 1589 under Wilhelm V, Hofbräu is still run by the Bavarian Government. Hofbräu München offers iconic varieties of beers such as Märzen, Helles, Dunkel, and Weißbier.

The beer served at Hofbräu München during its 400-year tenure underwent many changes due to royalty’s interests. For example, Maximilian I, son and heir of Wilhelm V, didn’t like dark beers. So, guess what he did? He issued a decree instructing Hofbräu München to brew only light beers. This demand significantly changed the brewery’s offerings, shifting focus from dark to light beers.

The two main tents at the Oktoberfest associated with Hofbräu are:

  • Hofbräu-Festzelt
  • Hofbräu-Festhalle

6. Löwenbräu: Brewing Progress with a Roaring Tradition

Löwenbräu means “ Lion’s brew” in English, and its logo depicts a lion with a twisted tail flicking its tongue. Löwenbräu is one of the six significant breweries serving for centuries at the Oktoberfest. Operating under the Brey family in the 19th century, this brewery suddenly progressed and was moved to Nymphenburger Street, where it is still situated. For the festival, Löwenbräu serves a Märzen beer called Oktoberfestbier, which is in accordance with the German Purity Law.

The iconic tents by Löwenbrä, where festival attendees gather dressed in authentic Lederhosen men to celebrate the Oktoberfest every year, are:

  • Löwenbräu Festzelt
  • Schützen-Festzelt

Tasting Notes: Oktoberfest Beer’s Alcohol Content

The alcohol content of Oktoberfest beers from all the breweries remains at 6-6.3 %, which strikes a balance between moderate strength and good flavor. This composition makes it the perfect mix for festive celebrations. The golden color and creamy lingering head of the beer are very pleasing to the eyes. To give it that extra yummy flavor, it can be sprinkled with toasted grains or caramelized malt. The beer from all six breweries is a unique mix of Bavarian
craftsmanship, inviting you to savor it with every sip.

See previous article: Oktoberfest – Beer Expertise Unleashed (Amber Julie).

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