It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of year already, but alas, here we find ourselves winding down summer, and prepping for the winter season, which although brings forth depression about the approaching cold (at least with me…) it also brings forth one of my favorite things – an onslaught of seasonal beers! For these seasonal seasons, I always like to put together some quick rundowns for you to see what breweries have what beers on tap.
You get bonus points if you can make it around town and collect them all (it doesn’t even have to be on the same day…)
So – to kick it all off we’ve got our Oktoberfest season. Cincinnati is world famous for knowing how to throw a hell of an Oktoberfest party, which only means that our local breweries have a lot to live up to when it comes to pushing out some Oktoberfest seasonals. We’ve got the bases pretty covered too, with some super traditional lagered versions, to some that take a few liberties, and then one that may or may not even belong on the list… but I wanted to put it on there – and it’s my website, so deal.
Shall we, then? Alphabetical.
Braxton Brewing Company
- Oktober Fuel – If you haven’t tried this one yet… start here. It’s pretty widely available, on draft as well as in 12oz cans. This is super traditional, and freaking delicious. You can read my tasting notes about it for a little bit more detail, but suffice to say – this beer is phenomenal.
Brink Brewing Company
- So Far Unnamed Oktoberfest – These guys are still pretty new in town, so I wasn’t expecting that they would have an Oktoberfest ready to go – but they surprised me (in the best way possible) with the news that they would. Their beer goes along with the traditional route and should be tapped in late September to kick off the “proper” Oktoberfest season.
- Das Uber Lager – This one returns again to 12oz cans and draft offerings around town. Crisp, clean and really easy drinking it’s a good one to pick up if you are planning on knocking back a few Oktoberfests in the daytime heat. You can, of course, read my tasting notes.
- Fifth and Vine – This is a classic Oktoberfest here in Cincinnati, it’s been around for a few years now and I always get a little giddy when I see it on shelves, knowing that one of my favorite times of year for beer drinking is here. I have tasting notes for you to read.
- Hosen – This one used to drift a bit away from the “tradtional” – and don’t worry, there are a few to come still that still do, but part of the fun that has come along with DogBerry’s move to a bigger system and a new space is some changes to what they do. Yup… Hosen is now a proper lager, moving it into the traditional category. It’s malty, and sweet with a really nice, clean finish. It begs for big mugs, and warm weather drinking.
- Blaketoberfest – This falls right back in line with the super traditional Oktoberfest/Marzen category that this city thrives on during the fall. It’s malt forward, and uses 100% German ingredients – a purists delight. The beer is full of sweet, nutty flavors with a slight spice that comes from the hops. Draft only – keep your eyes peeled towards the end of September for it’s tapping.
- Fest Bier – I wish I could tell you how much I love FigLeaf’s ‘Festbier’ but alas… since they are one of the “new guys” on the list – I haven’t gotten my chance to try this one yet – though I’ll be making a trip up to their taproom to try this draft only offering specifically. The brewery’s description tells us a lot, though. “Toasted almond & earthy honeyed aromatics with a subtle Tettnang spicy background. Using 100% German malts, crisp, clean & refreshing.” Sounds perfect! On tap now!
- Oktoberfest – Listermann Oktoberfest is not always as easy to find around town as some of the other offerings on this list are, but you’ll always find it at the one place it should be – Listermann’s Oktoberfest party. A massive celebration of all things German, all things Cincinnati, and all things Marzen. This beer is a star, and that event is it’s showcase, though you can find it on tap in the Listermann taproom all “season”.
Municipal Brew Works
- 1791 – It’s the second Oktoberfest season for Municpal, and their hit Marzen called 1791 (that’s the year that Hamilton was founded) is returning with a vengeance. They are planning on tapping this draft only offering in late September and I’m sure you’ll see it around at some of the places that you’ve come to find Municipal on tap. It’s another great traditional Marzen example.
- Leapin’ Liederhosen – you can expect the return of Paradise’s Marzen in late August or early September… like all of their beers it’s draft only, which only means that you have a great excuse to hit up their newly remodeled and expanded taproom. I know that this post is about Oktoberfest brews… but while you’re there – don’t hesitate to order a flight… they’ve got one of my favorite tap lineups that you can find in Cincinnati – a little bit of everything for whatever your palate might need.
Queen City Brewery Of Cincinnati
- Oktoberfest – This is the first time that these guys have brewed this beer – you know… since they’re new guys – and therefore I haven’t tried it yet. They’ve been turning out some pretty tasty brews lately, which makes me curious to try this one. It looks like it’s going to be on the tradtional side of Oktoberfests, and clocking in at 4.5% ABV with 23 IBUs, it also sounds like it’s gonna be one that you can put back pretty easily! Can’t wait to try it!
- Franz – One of the OG’s of Oktoberfest’s that aren’t quite traditional, Franz is an ale instead of the lagers that typically make this season tick. It only makes sense with a brewery like Rhinegeist to take a super traditional German beer, and put their own spin on it. Malty and sweet this beer still maintains the “Rhinegeist personality” with a nice kick of spicy hops to twist things in just the right way. If you aren’t convinced still – read my tasting notes about the beer, and head to your favorite retailer to grab some cans, or you can find it on tap all around town now!
- Das Ist Gut, German IPA – This ale will be told it doesn’t belong on any Oktoberfest list. But it’s very much how Streetside rolls to take a seasonal beer that is so beloved and to honor it, while still putting their own spin on things. This IPA will use all German ingredients to raise a glass to the German Festival that brings us all together. Keep your eyes peeled for this draft only offering, and make sure you get some before it’s too late.
Taft’s Ale House
- Masskrug – I know that we’re all chomping at the bit for the opening of the taproom at the newly opened Taft’s Ale House Production facility in Spring Grove Village, (which if rumors are correct, we’ll be talking about in the very near future…). But in the meantime, there is an “old” staple from Taft’s Ale House that is starting to make it’s rounds. This traditional sweet, malty beer uses a full lineup of all German ingredients to keep things old school. Who knows… maybe you’ll even be drinking this one in the new Brewpourium when it opens it’s doors “soon”.
- Another “newbie” in town, which means that this all German lager is another one that I can’t tell you much about, other than they are brewing it, and it should be on tap in September. It sounds like they are going the traditional route, similar to a few of the other guys – and I’m curious to see how they did with one of my favorite styles!
- Woodburn Oktoberfest – Woodburn knows exactly what they are doing with their tap lineup. They keep a rotating list of just about every beer that you can imagine from the traditional to the experimental alike. The details on this one are a guess based on what saw from them last year. Their Oktoberfest debuted a little later than traditional, and the beer itself used a nice hoppy kick to separate itself from the Oktoberfest pack. I think it’s safe to assume that their draft only offering will have it’s own personality next to all the other things we are seeing around town, though! Stay tuned!
The brewing community has seen a lot of changes this year… new breweries opening, old breweries closing… traditional beers becoming “hip” again, hip beers becoming passé, and everything in between. Whatever makes your untappd account happy… it’s time. Don your Dirndl, Latch your Liederhosen up… it’s going to be a hell of an Oktoberfest this year!