The Best Oktoberfest Beers in Madison (2023)
School has started, the days are breezy, and the nights are cool. In our world, that only means one thing:
It’s time to dig in the back of the closet for our lederhosen.
Some of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations in the world happen in Wisconsin. It’s a great excuse to exercise our festive spirit and enjoy the good weather. All the local Oktoberfest events won’t happen until late September. But many Madison breweries have released their special Oktoberfest brews. So of course, we had no option but to try them all and report our findings.
Add these breweries to your Oktoberfest bucket list:
This Marquette/ Willy Pub is right off the local bike path. It’s a fun stop for a beer and a bite. At 6.4%, the Stackenblochen Oktoberfest Lager at Working Draft will make you forget your troubles pretty quickly.
Vintage Brewing Company
Subtle German hops and smooth malts make Vintage Brewing Company a favorite pick of 2023. Be sure to get to the brewery early in the evening to snag the coveted couch seat.
Delta Beer Lab
The lab tried a new experiment this year, and the result is a huge success. Their Oktoberfest Lager is somehow both malty and fruity. There’s even a slightly spicy taste to the pallet. The brew is both classic and original at the same time.
Karben4 dares you to resist jumping into a freshly raked pile of leaves after consuming their annual “Oaktober” brew. The ale is created in a whiskey-soaked American Oak cask, and the experience is delightful. There are slight toffee notes, with an aftertaste of freshly baked bread. Take note that their taproom sometimes sells out, but when I’m doubt you can find the famous Oaktober at Total Wine in the West Towne Mall.
Great Dane Pub
Great Dane has achieved a lighter, sweeter Oktoberfest lager this year. It has medium-bodied hops and heavy malts.
Capital Brewery went heavy on the malts this year. The brew is extremely rich, and pairs perfectly with a soft pretzel.
Hop Haus Brewing
Hop Haus is the best place to grab an Oktoberfest beer in Fitchburg. Their “Let’s Fest” lager goes down easily. It’s crisp, clean, and malty, and will get you in the festival mood.
The Lone Girl
Lone Girl’s Oktober brew is a little different. So much so that they named it “Oktoberish”. It features classic German malts but is made with ale yeast instead of lager yeast. It’s a bright and cheery beer that tastes great on a sunny day.
Why did we start celebrating Oktoberfest?
The first Oktoberfest happened in Munich, Germany in 1810. The festival celebrated the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festivities lasted five days and included:
- An agricultural fair
- Food and drink
- Horse having
The celebration was such a hit, that the city decided to make it an annual event.
In America, we now celebrate Oktoberfest the same way we celebrate St. Patricks Day or Cinco de Mayo holidays. But Oktoberfest is extra special in Wisconsin. 42% of Wisconsinites have German heritage. It’s a way to celebrate ancestral traditions. And, of course, it’s always a good time!
Mark your calendars for Madison’s Oktoberfest Events!
Thirsty Troll Brew Fest- September 9, 2023
Beer lovers from all over the mid-west travel to the small town of Mount Horeb for the annual Thirsty Troll Fest. Live music and beverage sampling will keep you energized throughout the day. Oktoberfest-themed games and crafts are always a laugh. Make pretzel jewelry or compete in the annual Masskrugstemmen contest and see how long you can hold a full stein.
Wauktoberfest- September 14-17, 2023
If you only go to one Oktoberfest event this year, make it Wauktoberfest. The celebration has a jam-packed itinerary of fun. Highlights include:
- Sausage Shuffle 5K
- Blessing of the Beer
- Chicken Dance Contest
- Sauerkraut Eating Contest
- Brat Toss
- Pop-up Market
- Dachshund Dash
Essen Haus Oktoberfest- September 16, 2023
Essen Haus’ event is less of a festival… and more of a party! Live polka music and dancing will be rocking the haus from noon til 8:00 pm. Food and drinks will be constantly flowing. Don’t forget to wear classic german attire!
Fall Beer Taste- September 23, 2023
Sun Prarie will host this tasting event. Over 20 local Sun Prarie businesses will be pouring samples of Oktoberfest beers, ales, and cider. The event will take place on Main Street, in the heart of the village. Tickets are only $35!
Hometown Brewdown- September 23, 2023
Games, bouncy castles, and beer. What more could you ask for? Verona’s Oktoberfest event will take place in Hometown USA Community Park. Get tickets here.