Although it didn’t begin as a bier festival, beer is certainly a major part of Oktoberfest these days. In fact, bier is so important to the festival that the only type allowed during the celebration is bier that was brewed within the city limits of Munich. This is because, at its core, Oktoberfest is a celebration of Bavarian culture and traditions.
But this isn’t the only rule regarding bier at Oktoberfest. There are also regulations surrounding the alcohol content of the Munich-brewed bier: it must adhere to the Reinheitsgebot, meaning it contains only hops, yeast, barley, and water.
Six main breweries provide official Oktoberfest bier. These breweries are known as the Big Six. If you can’t make it out to Munich to taste these biers in person, here is a little bit of information about each one:
- Augustiner: One of the oldest surviving breweries in Munich, Augustiner has been brewing bier since 1328, and is considered by many Munich’s best brewery.
- Hacker–Pschorr: This brewery has been around since the 1970s.
- Lowenbrau: This bier, which translates to “Lion’s Brew,” has been served in Munich for almost 700 years.
- Paulaner: This is the largest brewery in Bavaria.
- Spaten: Spaten’s quintessential Oktoberfest bier was first introduced to festival-goers in 1872.
- Hofbrauhaus–Munchen: This brewery was founded by Duke Wilhelm V in 1589. It is a major tourist stop for those visiting Munich.