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Hello brew crew!
Early October marks the end of the annual Oktoberfest celebrations held every year in Munich, Germany. While not taking place this year due to the COVID-crisis, there are still plenty of delicious marzens and festbiers available for us to consume. We’ve recently been incorporating these styles into our Virtual Hoppy Hour Beer Tasting Class along with some fun facts. I thought it would be fun to share some of these facts with you today:

  • Oktoberfest started in 1810 as a royal wedding between Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Terese. They invited a lot of people: 40,000! As someone who recently got married, this gives me a panic attack.
  • They had such a fun time that they decided to do it again the following year and beyond. Since a wedding was no longer involved, it originally centered around horse racing and an agricultural fair.
  • Beer first made major inroads in 1818, when breweries came out to set up beer tents as part of the fairgrounds. As they say, the rest is history. Only six breweries are allowed to serve at Oktoberfest: Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, and Spaten.
  • The beer served has changed over the years. The original marzenbier was likely more darker and fuller-bodied, sort of like a doppelbock. In 1872, Spaten’s Ur-Marzen became popular, a beer that is still available today and what symbolizes the marzen style for many (“ur” means “original” in German). However, in the mid-to-late 1900s, the festbier  – a sort of strong helles lager – overtook the marzen and is now ubiquitous at the actual Oktoberfest celebrations.
  • Over 6 million people visit Oktoberfest annually. Like good Chicagoans, the celebrators consume 200,000 pairs of sausage…along with 480,000 split roasted chickens and 1.5 million gallons of beer.  
  • While the celebration was originally in October, it has been shifted earlier to take advantage of warmer weather and longer daylight. Now, the celebration ends on the first Sunday of October, starting 16 days prior and taking place mostly in September.

~Thanks to for some of the information above.

No matter where you are, you can celebrate by drinking delicious oktoberfest-style lagers. While we’ve been recently tasting the classic Spaten Ur-Marzen on our Virtual Hoppy Hours, many local craft breweries brew some great season suds. Here are some of our Chicagoland favorites:

  • Fruhauf by Pollyanna Brewing Company
  • Afterburner by Metropolitan Brewing
  • Festbier by Maplewood Brewery & Distillery
  • Lager Town by Half Acre Beer Company
  • Oktoberfest by Revolution Brewing
  • Atom Smasher by Two Brothers Brewing
We hope you enjoy the end of the Oktoberfest season and the start of fall!

In the meantime, if you would like to learn about Oktoberfest and more in a fun, interactive setting, please check out or Virtual Hoppy Hour Beer Tasting Class!
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We’ve been busy conducting beer tastings for corporate events, birthdays, and groups of  friends and families for groups between 6 to over 60 people! We also can coordinate with a third-party beer store that can set up mix-4 packs of our tastings for your group with enough advance notice. To inquire and learn more, please respond to this email or visit our website at

Thank you, and have an excellent fall!


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