It’s Oktoberfest season and beer is having its moment! Maybe you’ve heard a little about this annual festival but you’ve never fully understood it. Here is a little background to help you understand this event and how you can join in on the fun, even with alcohol-free beer.
What is Oktoberfest?
As you’d expect, the first Oktoberfest did indeed happen in October over two centuries ago. The original celebration was held in honor of the crown prince of Bavaria and his bride Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen in Munich, Germany. Everyone partied for five days straight!
While some version of an Oktoberfest is held in many places across the world and for various lengths today, the festival’s birthplace still holds an annual festival that lasts for two weeks. This festival is celebrated with traditional German lederhosen and dirndl dresses, music, dancing, games, a parade, and, (most importantly) great beer! Beer is such a key part of the festival that the start of Oktoberfest is marked by Munich’s mayor tapping the first keg. Around two million gallons of beer are consumed by festival-goers each year!
The Best Beers for Oktoberfest
You don’t have to be in Munich to celebrate Oktoberfest—in fact, you don’t even have to partake in alcohol. There are plenty of alcohol-free beers on the market that will satisfy your tastebuds and not leave you feeling tipsy or full on calories and carbohydrates. But before you can select the best near beers for your celebration, it’s important to know some terms, most notably the distinction between light and dark beers. Of course, these two varieties of beer come in different hues but the differences go beyond coloring.
The color of the beer can be traced to whatever color the grain ends up being after it’s roasted. Although different beers can be made with oats, wheat, or barley, the longer the grain is roasted, the darker in color it will become, regardless of what type of grain it is. The more time a brewer spends roasting a grain, the more complex the flavor profile becomes. Because of this, darker beers have more rich, overpowering flavors, sometimes with notes of chocolate and toffee. For a lot of people, the strong flavor means they prefer drinking dark beer alone rather than with a meal.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, lighter beers are more subtle and smooth. This makes it easier to plan the menu. Light beers also tend to have fewer calories and carbs. There is also a difference in alcohol content for these two types of beer with darker brews tending to have a higher alcohol content compared to lighter beers.
Now let's take a deeper dive into the fundamentals of beer so you can sound like a pro this Oktoberfest!
Pale ales are known for being malty and having a medium strength. As you’d guess based on the name, these are on the lighter side. While this variety of beer originated in England, the US, India, and Belgium all have their own variations. The American version is a little less malty than the original British pale ale. Of these four varieties, the Belgian pale ale is the least bitter, followed by the British and American drinks, with the Indian pale ale being the most bitter.
Amber ales are one of the most common types of pale ale, and the amber ale from Bravus Brewing is one of the best in the alcohol-free beer space. It has a unique flavor profile that includes hints of biscuit, raisin, and caramel. Because this amber ale is so versatile, it pairs beautifully with all kinds of foods and, thus, all kinds of occasions.
The Indian pale ale (IPA) is such a stand-out favorite that it deserves its very own category. If you’re like many people, an IPA may be your first introduction to the vast world of craft beer because it’s such an easy one to drink. While IPAs tend to be on the more bitter side, they can also be pretty citrusy.
For a near beer, Boisson offers Hazy AF which is a New England IPA. It has a fruity and grassy taste that goes down smooth thanks to the combination of wheat and oats. Although the taste is smoother, it’s highly aromatic. Plus, each serving only has 37 calories!
On the darker side of the spectrum, you have stout beers that are surprisingly sweet. Because they are ultra-roasted, some stout connoisseurs will even say that their favorite beer is reminiscent of coffee and cream. While Ireland’s Guinness is the most well-known brand for stout, there are plenty of great American stout beers on the market, including in the alcohol-free space.
At Boisson, we have a delightful oatmeal stout that’s non-alcoholic from Bravus Brewing. With every sip, you may detect hints of chocolate and caramel. It’s earthy and smoky, yet high in sweetness. If you like to drink near beer with—or for—your dessert, there’s truly no better option!
Although Oktoberfest might be a German celebration, you don’t want to exclude this variety of beer from Germany’s neighboring country Belgium from your celebration. These beers can be either dark or light, depending on the variety. Most typically Belgian beer is low in the bitterness department and high in the fruity sweetness.
There are plenty of wonderful alcohol-free Belgian beers on the market. One is Grainwave from Ceria Brewing which is a lighter near beer. It’s great if you’re a citrus-lover since its primary flavor is blood orange, but it has an interesting spicy contrast thanks to the coriander. It’s aromatic and has a smooth finish.
Stock Your Beer Fridge for Oktoberfest with Near Beers from Boisson
Whether you’re having a mini Oktoberfest alone or with friends, make sure you grab some of these delightful alcohol-free beers. Our selection at Boisson shows you can have just as much fun at Oktoberfest even if you aren’t drinking “the real thing.” Our non-alcoholic beverages will satisfy even the biggest beer fan. Order some for your event today!