By Derek Warren - For Weekender

NOW TAP THIS: Prost with these fan-favorite Oktoberfest beers (or try one you haven’t heard of)

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    Every year in mid to late September millions of beer lovers descend upon Munich, Germany, for the annual Oktoberfest, a rich tradition dating back to the 1800s. This year’s festival began on Sept. 19 and will end Oct. 4.

    While around 6 million beer drinkers attend the fest annually, many of us are still unfortunately unable to make the trip. Thankfully there are plenty of delicious Oktoberfest beers available this time of year to celebrate at home.

    The German Oktoberfest beer style has long been a favorite among beer drinkers around the world. American craft brewers have made very flavorful renditions for a number of years now that rival some of the best from Germany.

    Whether you are a fan of macro beers or a craft beer aficionado, here’s a short list of some great Oktoberfest beers to enjoy this time of year. Be sure to grab yourself a bier stein and fill it to the brim!

    Ballast Point’s Dead Ringer: The San Diego based brewery is well known for its fantastic hop forward West Coast IPA, Sculpin, however the brewery has been putting out some delicious malt forward beers. Dead Ringer is full of lightly toasted malt flavors with hints of caramel and toffee that give way to a low hop bitterness. Easy to drink by the quart!

    Ayinger’s Oktoberfest: This is one of the best German Oktoberfests coming out of Germany today. The wonderfully crisp hop profile balanced against the semi-sweet malt bill is textbook for the style and this beer has long been regarded as one of the best. If you are a fan of lager this is an absolute must try.

    Sam Adams’ Oktoberfest: A fan-favorite from Sam Adams that many beer lovers look forward to each year. The brilliant orange hue brings a smile to the face of everyone during the fall months. The hop bite is a bit more pronounced in this version, but it is very smooth and creamy and is one of the best Americanized Oktoberfests brewed today.

    Great Lakes’ Oktoberfest: Great Lakes has brewed the highest ABV Oktoberfest on this list, but it is easily the most drinkable. Subtle bready malt notes up front with slightly sweet malts in the middle and a great, but very subtle, hop bite to round out the experience. This is proof that American brewers can sometimes surpass their German masters in beer styles.

    Boulevard Brewing’s Bob’s ‘47 Oktoberfest: Perfectly balanced with impeccable touches hops and malt. The semi-sweet malts give way to a crisp, dry finish with hints of noble hop spices. It’s extremely easy drinking with a smooth creamy mouthfeel that will leave anyone wanting more!

    Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.

    By Derek Warren

    For Weekender

    http://www.theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/web1_ayinger.jpg

    Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.