Local breweries are going strong with traditional Oktoberfest brews, perfect for the transition from summer to fall. Food pairing: a giant pretzel, of course.
The classic Oktoberfest brew is marzen, a medium-to full-bodied lager that lands firmly on the malty side of the flavor spectrum and finishes relatively dry. In prerefrigeration Germany, these beers were brewed at the end of brewing season — March, or marz in German — to be consumed in the fall. Another common Oktoberfest style is the helles lager, lighter-bodied and more hop-forward than a marzen.
Here are a few local Oktoberfest beers worth sampling this fall.
Coppertail Brewing Co.'s Oktoberfest is the most ubiquitous version, available throughout the Tampa Bay area. It's also a note-perfect demonstration of the balanced, flavorful malt character of an authentic marzen. 2601 E Second Ave., Tampa. (813) 247-1500. coppertailbrewing.com.
3 Daughters Brewing also brews a solid Oktoberfest lager in its Mission to Marzen, a medium-bodied, amber brew with a light spiciness to balance its biscuity malt flavor. 222 22nd St. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 495-6002. 3dbrewing.com.
Crooked Thumb Brewery's HarborFest takes a different approach, presenting a helles bock (strong Munich-style lager, also known as maibock) that's a bit drier than the typical marzen. Somewhat hop-forward, it showcases the flavor of traditional Tettnanger hops. 555 10th Ave. S, Safety Harbor. (727) 724-5953. crookedthumbbrew.com.
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Dunedin Brewery is Florida's oldest craft brewery, also home to one of the area's most anticipated Oktoberfest brews, released each year on the first day of fall. Its toasty Oktoberfest lager is brewed in a 35-barrel (just over 1,000 gallon) batch, which says a lot about its popularity. 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. (727) 736-0606. dunedinbrewery.com.
Woodwright Brewing, just down the street from Dunedin Brewery, makes a very authentic Oktoberfest marzen that tends to sell out quickly. Woodwright has more in the pipeline, so it should be back in tap by the time you read this. Prost! 985 Douglas Ave. (727) 238-8717. facebook.com/woodwrightbrewing.
Contact Justin Grant at [email protected] Follow @WordsWithJG.