12 beers you need to drink during Oktoberfest (as recommended by a Bier Professor)

Stephanie Yip 22 September 2015 NEWS

Take it from Bier Professor (yes, it’s a thing) Dominic Dighton, these are the top beers you need to be drinking during Oktoberfest. If you don’t, you’re not doing it right.

Top of your list of things you should do during Oktoberfest is to knock back a stein of liquid gold. During Oktoberfest, a special swill comes out of Munich’s breweries to celebrate the event. It’s a darker brew with a slightly higher alcohol content than your typical beer (5-6.2%) and, because we’re being German, from hereon we will refer to it as “bier”.

Fun fact: only bier brewed in Munich and conforming to the Reinheitsgebot can be served at the Munich Oktoberfest and be called “Oktoberfest bier”. Lucky for us, five of those are being served exclusively at Lowenbrau Keller and its sisters, Munich Brauhaus and the 10 Bavarian Bier Cafes in Sydney and Queensland. Which should you try? The answer: all of them. They will be on rotation from 18 September to 31 October 2016, giving you ample time to test them all and pick a favourite.

5 Oktoberfest biers to whet your whistle

Here are the swills spinning around Lowenbrau and its sister venues during Oktoberfest.


Paulaner Oktoberfestbier

A favourite at Oktoberfest, expect over one million steins of Paulener Oktoberfest bier to be poured during this year’s Oktoberfest in Munich. The best bit? It’s so popular it is produced and served all year long.

Style: Oktoberfest / Mӓrzen

Appearance: Yellow - gold

Aroma: Honey malt and flowery hops

Alcohol content: 6%

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Hofbrӓu Oktoberfestbier

Fit for a king, or duke, to be precise, the Hofbrӓuhaus (Hofbrӓu house) was the brainchild of Duke Wilhelm V of Bavaria who decided it was better to build his own brewery than buy bier for his royal court. #noregrets

Style: Oktoberfest / Mӓrzen

Appearance: Rich

Aroma: Malts, yeast and spice

Alcohol content: 6.3%

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Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfestbier

The bier that started it all, the story behind the Hacker Pschorr is that it was created by Joseph Pschorr to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in 1810. From there, Oktoberfest was born.

Style: Oktoberfest / Mӓrzen

Appearance: Pale gold

Aroma: Malts, nuts and citrus hops

Alcohol content: 5.8%


Spaten Oktoberfestbier

Translated to mean “spade” in German, Spaten is symbolised by a malt shovel and as that suggests, it's a full-flavoured bier with a malty sweetness coupled with hints of nuts and fruits.

Style: Oktoberfest / Mӓrzen

Appearance: Pale gold

Aroma: Malt caramel and herbal hops

Alcohol content: 5.9%


Löwenbrӓu Oktoberfestbier

Sydney-siders will be familiar with the name, as it has inspired the flagship Löwenbrӓu Keller in The Rocks. This year, the brewery offers a malty number with a hint of spice and a fluffy, creamy head as its Oktoberfest bier.

Style: Oktoberfest / Mӓrzen

Appearance: Bright and sparkling

Aroma: Malty and grassy hops

Alcohol content: 6.2%

finder.com.au interviews Bief Professor Dominic Dighton

With an Oktoberfest bier in hand, we sat down with Bier Professor Dominic Dighton, who works at Lowenbrau and its sister venues, to chat about the greatest excuse to drink bier during the year: Oktoberfest.

What qualifications do you need to have to be a “Bier Professor”?

An unrivalled passion for bier, solid sensory evaluation skills and it helps to be a good public speaker!

How do the celebrations at Oktoberbest in Germany compare to what Lowenbrau Keller, the Bavarian Bier Cafes and Munich Brauhaus have in store for Australians?

There is nothing quite like the Munich Oktoberfest in terms of scale and atmosphere. We provide contemporary Bavarian / Australian themed events that are family friendly, with live music and traditional oompah bands every night of the week, authentic Bavarian cuisine featuring haus-made produce by our mostly German culinary team and fully imported Munich bier. Our celebrations kick off on Friday, 18 September with traditional keg tapping parties across our venues. It’s a close as you will get to the Wies’n without actually being there.


Why does Oktoberfest has such a following in Australia?

We have a long standing connection with beer going back to earliest European settlers. We love to celebrate, we love conviviality, I’m sure the large steins play a part too.

For anyone making the pilgrimage to Oktoberfest this year, what tips do you have?

Patience! The crowds are huge and the lines are long. Be sure to experience several tents, as the atmosphere is different in each. Make sure you eat plenty of hendel (chicken) and pace yourself with the large biers which are stronger than the average bier.

Talk us through the five breweries of Munich that offer Oktoberfest biers.

Paulaner is the number one brewery in Munich and Bavaria. Originally a monastic brewery the Paulaner monks coined the phrase “liquid bread” for the bier they consumed during Lent and until just this month (September 2016) has been located on the original site called Nockherberg. Unusual is the fact that Weissbier is their lead bier. Staatliches Hofbrauhaus was once the brewery of the Duke of Bavaria. Unusually, it's owned by the Bavarian government. Spaten-Lowenbrau has an emphasis on export and is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the largest brewing conglomerate in the world.
Hacker-Pschorr merged in the 15th Century when the two families united by marriage. Augustiner prides itself on tradition. Originally a monastery brewery, to this day it ships kegs in wooden barrels and malts its own grain.

Dominic Dighton’s favourite German beers


Paulaner Hefe Weissbier Dunkel

I love the complexity, perfectly balanced with refreshment.

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Hofbrau Dunkel

For the same reason but this one is a lager which makes it more unusual.


Augustiner Hellesbier

The best pale lager in the world, full stop.


Jever Pilsner

Crisp clean spicy and particularly hoppy. The benchmark in German Pils.

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Andechser Weissbier Hell

Zesty tang with all the esters and phenolics that make this style so inviting.


Hacker-Pschorr Kellerbier

For its deeper colour and richer spicy flavour.


Lowenbrau Original

Crisp, grainy sweet, light and refreshing.

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Which German beer would you say is the friendliest introductory beer for someone who’s not versed in German beers?

Hmmm, yes bier can polarise with its special flavours. Most Bavarian pale lagers are fine for those unfamiliar with German biers, as well as pale Weissbier. Kolsch from up around Cologne can be light and floral. Just stay away from Pilsner or smoked (Rauch) biers.

For anyone not into beer but still wants to get into the Oktoberfest spirit, what alcoholic alternatives do you recommend?

Radler, a Bavarian shandy,or sekt which is a sparkling wine. And Schnapps, of course!

What’s your favourite non-German beer?

Easy - Leffe Brun, on tap.

Dominic Dighton illustration by Justine Morrison @missjussymo

Buy the best of the rest

Feeling inspired? Try these introductory German swills out for size:

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