Franconia's Oktoberfest: So You Never Need to Drink a Pumpkin Spice Latte

Oktoberfest Beer: It's Beer, in September. And October.
Oktoberfest Beer: It's Beer, in September. And October.

Steven Harrell

While America begins to post about the return of the Pumpkin Spice Lattes on Facebook, craft brew enthusiasts turn their attentions to another autumn-heralding beverage -- Oktoberfests. 

Oktoberfest-style beers (more traditionally known as Marzen) are one of the most popular seasonal releases in the craft beer market.

See also: Five North Texas Beers to Drink This Fall

Oktoberfest is a German fall festival that, oddly enough, usually takes place in late September. Along with St. Patrick's Day, it's one of those wonderful holidays that can be celebrated worldwide without any regards to historical context or obligation to do anything beyond drink an excessive amount of beer. It probably celebrates the end of summer or a harvest, or maybe some hated Bavarian monarch being trampled by a stampede of drunk horses. It doesn't matter.

Locally, our resident German brewer in McKinney makes a damn fine traditional Oktoberfest. Released over Labor Day weekend, Franconia's Oktoberfest is one of my favorite local seasonals, and for good reason too -- Franconia's brewmaster and owner Dennis Wehrman was born in the middle of Bavaria to a family of brewers, dating back to his great-grandfather. After earning a master's degree in beermaking in Munich, he moved to the U.S. and opened Franconia in McKinney in 2008, making him downright ancient in D/FW craft brewery terms. 

This year's version of Franconia's Oktoberfest is the same as every year's -- delicious. It pours fairly dark red, a brewed take on OU's crimson, and it tastes like toffee and roasted nuts. I could drink it for dessert or pair it with any decent fall meal. It's only 5 percent ABV too, so you don't need to pace yourself as much as you would with some of fall's other seasonal releases. Oktoberfests are meant for consumption during weeks of day drinking, at least in Munich, so we Texans ought to be able to make it all the way to kickoff through at least a few tailgating Saturdays. 

 So thanks, Big German Dennis, for bringing Bavaria to North Texas. Thanks to Pete Delkus, for hopefully bringing us a few sub-90 degree days in the coming weeks. Thanks to Germans, for making up a drinking holiday in the fall. And, last but not least, thanks beer, for being there in whatever season we need you.

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