I’ve always believed in giving credit where credit is due. And although the festbier (beer style) may register low on the hype meter, it absolutely deserves its moment in the limelight.
What’s a Festbier?
For folks unfamiliar, festbier is the present-day beer served at Munich’s Oktoberfest in Germany. Per beerandbrewing.com, it is related to Oktoberfest but definitely a distinct style. It’s a pale lager with a clear Pilsner malt biscuit bent, with some additional toasted malt flavors in support.
Put in layman’s terms – it’s a dry, light and pleasant clear beer with fall flavors; you can DEFINITELY drink more than one.
If you talk to your local brewmaster, there’s a good chance they’ve had Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest – a well-respected festbier that reappears every year. Here are eight Pittsburgh-based breweries with a local take on the festbier.
Oktoberfest beers from Pittbsurgh Breweries
Festbier @ Hofbrahaus [Southside]
Beer Name // ABV: Festbier // 6.3% ABV
Know Before You Go: During non-COVID times, Hofbrahaus would normally lean into Oktoberfest season – both with their beer and a robust events schedule. Although we can’t safely gather and singalong to the live band this year, Festbier is available at Hofbra for both (limited) on-site consumption and takeout.
Festbier @ Dancing Gnome Beer [Sharpsburg]
Beer Name // ABV: Festbier // 4.5% ABV
About the Beer: The DG team has done an incredible job exploring traditional styles and flexing their portfolio of capabilities in 2020 with Kolsch-style ales, Red Rye Ales, Barrel-Aged Lagers, and more. This year’s Festbier includes an addition of Bloody Butcher malted corn, which increases the floral and spice characteristics from the German hops.
📅 Dancing Gnome will release their Festbier on September 15, 2021.
Danville Train @ Cinderlands Beer Co [Strip District]
Beer Name // ABV: Danville Train // 6.1% ABV
About the beer: Described as rich, bready and drinkable, the Danville Train is a golden lager festbier that you can pick up at Cinderlands in the Strip District.
Oktoberfest @ Penn Brewery [Northside]
Beer Name // ABV: Oktoberfest // 5.5% ABV
About the beer: This award-winning seasonal beer is available at Penn Brewery and can be found on tap at lots of places around town.
Know Before You Go: After a pandemic hiatus, Penn Brewery’s annual Oktoberfest event returns to the brewery on September 17.
Oktoberfest Lagerbier @ All Saints Brewing Company [Greensburg]
Beer Name // ABV: Oktoberfest Lagerbier // 5.7% ABV
About the Beer: Per All Saints, this authentic German Festbier has the perfect balance of malt sweetness, hop bitterness, and toasted crispness. You’ll catch a light copper color and light body with a clean, crisp finish. Per tradition, Oktoberfest Lagerbier is brewed with 100% German malt and hops.
📅 All Saints Brewing will host an Oktoberfest celebration on September 25, 2021.
OFest @ Allegheny City Brewing [Northside]
Beer Name // ABV: OFest // 5.7% ABV
Know Before You Go: A late entry that I did NOT want to exclude – Allegheny City has OFest on right now for both on-site consumption (beer garden) and takeout. This traditional Oktoberfest lager registers at 5.7% ABV and – if you’re an ACB regular – you’ll know that these guys book some awesome food trucks. Plan to eat and get cozy in their outdoor beer garden. Pro Tip: peep ACB’s Facebook page for updates including draft lists, hours of operation and food truck availability.
📅 Allegheny City Brewing will host Ofest Celebration on September 25, 2021.
More Oktoberfest options around town
Lorelei // East Liberty
One could argue that Lorelei in East Liberty celebrates Oktoberfest year-round. Lorelei specializes in German and alpine beer and food, even the decor is a take on the traditional beer hall. Keep an eye on their social media for Oktoberfest updates and while you’re poking around, check out this delightful review from City Paper on the Lorelei Sausage Kart program.
This post was originally published on September 22, 2020, and has been updated for Oktoberfest 2021. Know of an Oktoberfest beer that should be on this list? Please let us know. Email [email protected]