Special Issues » Fall Issue

Pretzels and Things: We Taste Test Oktoberfest Brews


  • Jess Elizarraras

For the first time in recent memory, Oktoberfest celebrations came early this year: Ranger Creek unleashed their canned Oktoberfest on September 15, and our fall issue landed less than a week after the Munich-based celebration of all things beer got started. But no matter. We tasted Oktoberfest brews out now for you to pair with your favorite lederhosen.

Real Ale Oktoberfest // A personal favorite, Real Ale’s Bavarian-style lager is perfect for sipping alongside a thick bratwurst and bright sauerkraut. Using Munich and Vienna malts, Real Ale has delivered a copper, medium-bodied beer with few hops and lots of breadiness on the palate that can be enjoyed way past Oktoberfest.

Shiner Oktoberfest // This Marzen-style take from the Spoetzl Brewery has honored tradition since 1996 when the Oktoberfest was first brewing in Shiner, Texas. And it’s a winner — it took gold in 2012’s Great American Beer Festival — with its low IBUs and is sessionable with a relatively low ABV. Drink it with or without the dirndl but definitely with a hot pretzel.

Southern Star Oktoberfest // The Conroe-based brewery delivered an early favorite that takes Weyermann Munich, Weyerman Vienna and Rahr Two Row malts, pairs them with Perle Hallertau Mittlefrueh hops and delivers a slightly nutty Festbier with a crisp and smooth sourdough aftertaste.

Ghost Cow Oktoberfest // Listen, they’re not all winners. And we really wanted to like this one. They warmed us up with a great can design and even better story: “On the darkest night, on a desolate back road in South Texas, the ghost cow comes out to graze and make its stand smack dab in the middle of the road – a full-blown apparition on the center stripe.” But the Marzen-style description fell flat with a sour cream and onion chips taste that missed any of the rich maltiness we were expecting. I hit a cow with my car once, but still couldn’t connect to this beer.

Ranger Creek Oktoberfest // The brewery’s answer to a Vienna Lager tastes like a locally made Negra Modelo. Now available in cans, the Oktoberfest is a dark amber hue, with a smooth and thick malt to it. Drink it with a Reuben or warm potato salad.

OktoberFiesta // The highest IBUs in our batch come via Freetail Brewing’s OktoberFiesta, described as a “working class brew with a strong malt backbone … a noble hop finish … [for] backyard barbecues, rowdy tailgates and swanky soirees.” Its Belgian yeast strain deviates from tradition but produces a bright and fruity flavor that pairs nicely with the malts and hops. Drink it through the rest of the year.

So many restaurants, so little time. Find out the latest San Antonio dining news with our Flavor Friday Newsletter.

We’re keeping you informed…
...and it’s what we love to do. From local politics and culture to national news that hits close to home, San Antonio Current has been keeping San Antonio informed for years.

It’s never been more important to support local news sources. A free press means accountability and a well-informed public, and we want to keep our unique and independent reporting available for many, many years to come.

If quality journalism is important to you, please consider a donation to San Antonio Current. Every reader contribution is valuable and so appreciated, and goes directly to support our coverage of critical issues and neighborhood culture. Thank you.