Halloween weekend brings out the devil in all of us, and here at Thirsty Girl we’ve got a little more tricks than treats. After my crazy visit to Oktoberfest, making some of Ashton’s Pumpkin Beer Bread, and learning how beer can please any palate the same way wine can, I’ve rounded up the top picks to drink this weekend. Boo!
Oktoberfest Party Picks
With so many large commercial producers to craft/artisanal brewers and local micro-breweries to choose from across the country, what you find in your market will differ. The beers I’ve recommended include national, international, and regional brands, which I purchased in the Northern California market for between $10- $20.
Some come in single bottles, others six packs, and still others in large 500ml bottles – not cheap for beer but certainly still affordable for the quality.
Bavarian brews to sample:
Hacker-Pschorr “Weisse” Traditional Wheat Beer – Hailing from Munich, this lager is fresh with a slightly bitter yet sweet tinge to the finish.
Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen – An official brewer of Oktoberfest beer this low alcohol suds – about 5 percent — is delicate and bright. It’s a brew made to pair with salty foods and captures the spirit of Oktoberfest.
Paulaner “Hefe-Weizen” Natural Wheat Beer– forget adding a slice of lemon to Hefe-Weizen, it doesn’t need it. With citrus notes and zesty acidity, it’s a light-bodied beer to sip all night long.
Belgian beauties to try:
Stella Artois – I have a love affair with Stella. I drink this Belgian beer all over the world because I crave its elegant, stylish character. Stella is not overpowering or light, it’s just right.
Duvel Belgian Golden Ale – Blondes do have more fun when they drink Duvel. A bit heartier in nature with 8.5 alcohol, it’s a creamy, vanilla-scented beauty.
Delirium Tremens – This Belgian ale is known for its spicy aromas and full-bodied flair. You won’t miss the distinctive packaging either. Look for the orange elephant.
Domestic stars to sip:
Russian River Brewing Company “Pliny the Elder” – If there’s a beer with a cult following, it’s Pliny. Named for the Roman naturalist born in 23 A.D. who famously died during the eruption of Vesuvius, Pliny also named the plant we call hops. Hops, along with malt and yeast, are what give beer its flavor. This beer has a strong “hoppy” character that is mouth-wateringly bitter and bright.
Lagunitas IPA “India Pale Ale” – Lagunitas is a brewery based in my home town of Petaluma, California known for their intense, hoppy IPA. If you like red wine with grippy tannins, you’ll love this hearty ale.
Dogfish Head “Theobroma” – Beer brewed with additions are hot with some sudsaficionados. This bottle – with its ode to Mayan and Aztec cultures – is brewed with honey, cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, and ancho chiles. Sounds odd but it’s integrated and sports just a whisper of chocolaty aromas.
Sam Adams Imperial Series “Double Bock”—This well-known Boston brewery introduced an Imperial Series to showcase unique brews. The amber-hued lager is fresh but with a strong malty note, which comes from the fact that it’s crafted with half pound of malt in each small bottle!
North Coast Brewing Company “Old Rasputin” Twelfth Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout – Think Guinness on steroids. This dark brown beer is aged in bourbon barrels and packs a punch at 11.5 percent alcohol. With complex licorice-tinged aromas, its creamy texture is ultra-smooth and bold.