2 MN breweries rank among the best for Oktoberfest beers, Paste says


Grab your lederhosen, a few Minnesota breweries are putting out some of the best Oktoberfest beers this year, according to Paste Magazine.

Oktoberfest (or märzen-style) beers have become the staple beer style of fall and the harvest, so the publication gathered as many malty amber lagers as it could, and blindly tasted them.

Paste sampled 55 beers – including four made by Minnesota breweries – and ranked the top 20.

Third Street Brewhouse and Surly Brewing's beers made the cut, while Summit Oktoberfest and Schell's Oktoberfest went unranked (although the publication said that on any given day, the unranked beers could be in the top 20, with writer Jim Vorel saying the "degree of deviation between the beers in this style was quite small").

No. 2 – Oktoberfest Session Märzen


Oktoberfest Session Märzen by Third Street Brewhouse came in at No. 2 on the list – and it was actually the Cold Spring brewery's first go at making an authentic German-style beer, a news release says.

"We are thrilled that our Oktoberfest has been so well received,” Jodi Peterson, sales manager for Third Street said in the release. “To be ranked No. 2 by Paste Magazine is a huge win for Third Street, but especially for our brewers. The hard work of our brewers really shows with our Oktoberfest.”

Paste Magazine said the Oktoberfest is very drinkable, calling it "the most guzzle-able beer of the entire tasting, probably."

The beer is described as being "lovely" with a "perfumed hoppiness that supports crisp, grainy malt flavors and a light, bright mouthfeel," with Paste adding it's lower ABV (4.6 percent) has them wondering why more breweries don't make their fall seasonals in the 4 percent range. (Most of the beers on the list had an ABV of 5 percent or higher.)

Want to try it? You can find it on tap at the Cold Spring brewery, as well as in eight-packs of 16-ounce cans at retailers that sell Third Street beer (here's a list of locations).

No. 20 – SurlyFest


Surly Brewing's SurlyFest – which the brewery describes as "not a German-style Oktoberfest bier" – ranked No. 20 on the list.

Paste says SurlyFest is one of the better examples of hop-forward Oktoberfest beers, noting hoppy märzen beers are a minority among American breweries.

SurlyFest has a "significant hop presence, although it doesn’t completely throw in with the hops to the point that they’re the only thing you’d notice," the magazine said.

The 6 percent ABV beer is brewed with three different types of rye that add a biscuit flavor to its Vienna Malt body. It's dry-hopped with a single hop variety, which adds bright, floral hop aromas to the beer, according to Surly's website.

Want to try it? You can find it Surly's Oktoberfest-themed events throughout Surly's markets (including in Minnesota), as well as on tap at local bars and restaurants, and liquor stores where Surly is sold.

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