5 Wisconsin Bratwurst and Oktoberfest Beer Pairings by Nolechek’s
Oktoberfest is a celebration of all things beer and wurst held every fall in Munich, Germany for almost 200 years. The first festival was actually a celebration of the wedding of the Crown Prince Luitpold I and Princess Theressa of Bavaria. Today, a whopping TEN MILLION pints of beer and upwards of 750,000 sausages are devoured each year at this festival. It is a 16-day celebration that includes festive costume parades, a tapping ceremony by the mayor, brass bands, church services, concerts, gun salutes, and plenty of cries of “O’zapft is!” or cheers of ‘Zicke zacke, zicke zacke hoi hoi hoi!”
Germans are very particular about their beer. The base style of the copper-colored lager that represents the biggest beer-themed celebration is called a Märzen, which means ‘March” in German and was required to be brewed in the same month. In Germany, rules dictate that only six breweries located within Munich can use ‘Oktoberfestbier’ on their product sold at the famous beer tents at the Wiesn (the local word for the festival). Other German brewers can serve their ‘festbiers’, but not to the same scale as the big six, which are: Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräuhaus, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, and Spaten.
So, how does this tie into Wisconsin beer and bratwurst? Just because we’re not in Germany, doesn’t mean we can’t have our own celebration that revolves around two things we do best in Wisconsin! In celebration of everything beer and bratwurst, Nolechek’s has put together the best Wisconsin specialty bratwurst and Oktoberfest beer pairings we could come up with and the rest is up to you. Oh, and put down those pumpkin themed beers…Oktoberfest is officially in the house.
1. Paulaner Oktoberfest-Märzen
Among the original six beers poured at the inaugural Oktoberfest, this one stays true to the style. Notes of toffee, bread, and a touch of Hallertauer Tradition hops, Paulander Oktoberfest is a timeless classic. It features a toasty malt flavor with a finish that is rich and nutty.
We recommend this one with our timeless classic, Nolechek’s traditional fresh bratwurst. This bratwurst is a Wisconsin tradition and was developed by Nolechek’s founder, Bill, Sr. Just like the timeless styles of German beer, our recipe has remained the same for over 65 years and has been recognized with multiple state and national awards.
2. Surly Brewing Oktoberfest
In the United States, breweries aren’t encumbered by German brewing laws. This allows for the testing of tradition and this release does just that, featuring a five-malt mash (Pilsner, Munich, Vienna, Carafoam, Acidulated) and Spalt Select German hops. This perfectly golden beer is big, bold and finishes with slight bitter notes for balance.
A big, bold beer deserves a big, bold Wisconsin bratwurst and Nolechek’s is proud to pair our Chaddywurst with Surly Oktoberfest. This fresh bratwurst is rich with flavor and combines Nolechek’s Hickory Smoked Honey Cured Bacon with a hint of onion and garlic, finished by our traditional bratwurst seasoning. We take it one step further and pack it full of creamy cheddar cheese. You’re welcome.
3. Fair State Festbier
The Midwest offers so many authentic German beer interpretations, its no surprise that we’ve included two from Minneapolis in this list. Fair State created this Märzen that is appreciated for it’s Munich and Vienna malts and noble hops, which create a dry bready finish that makes this an easy, enjoyable beer. Festbier is crisp and not overly sweet or heavy, which is perfect for fall harvest gatherings in Wisconsin.
The lightness of this beer complements the richness of Nolechek’s Fresh Bratwurst with Smoked Gouda from Marieke Gouda. We start with Nolechek’s traditional fresh bratwurst seasoning and add Marieke Gouda’s award-winning 2-4 month Young Gouda that has been smoked in-house over natural hickory chips. The depth of this bratwurst pairs deliciously with the Fair State Festbier.
4. Left Hand Brewing Company Oktoberfest
Left Hand Oktoberfest is a true-to-style Märzen lager that sports a higher ABV at 6.6%. The brewers at Left Hand pride themselves in using a traditional yet time intensive decoction mash process, which gives this Oktoberfest it’s color and complex flavor. It is full of biscuit flavors with very little residual sweetness, leaving the finish dry and spicy. Just the way an Oktoberfest is supposed to be.
Nolechek’s recommends a Wisconsin specialty bratwurst of ours that covers any brat lovers bases and keeps them coming back for more. Our Green & Gold Fresh Bratwurst is seasoned with our traditional family recipe and then takes flavor to the next level with a hint of spicy jalapeños, cool green bell peppers, and melty cheddar cheese to finish.
And in the tradition of not cutting corners, Nolechek’s takes pride in crafting our fresh bratwurst by hand, not cutting any corners, which delivers a gourmet, quality product every time.
5. Samuel Adams Oktoberfest
Sam Adams may be in Boston, but they know how to celebrate Oktoberfest just like the Germans. Their version of Oktoberfest is celebrating its 30th season and it’s no surprise that people enjoy this drinkable beer that contains two classic German hop varieties. The balance of light malty sweetness and a slight bitterness on the finish creates a beer that is creamy and clean. And if you really want to get in on the Oktoberfest games, check out the Sam Adams website and find out if you have what it takes to be a steinhoisting champion!
This traditional take on Oktoberfest deserves to be paired with a Nolechek’s take on the classic Wisconsin duo, bratwurst and sauerkraut. Some wonder if it gets anymore Wisconsin than a bratwurst with the sauerkraut in it! Well, decide for yourself if Nolechek’s Brat ‘n’ Kraut isn’t the most Oktoberfest food you’ll have all year! We pair authentic German barrel-style sauerkraut with a hint of caraway and brown sugar to create this fan favorite! It’s tart, with a touch of sweetness, rounded out by our traditional bratwurst seasoning that has just the right amount of white pepper.
Now all that’s left for you is to order your Wisconsin specialty bratwurst from Nolechek’s, pick up a six pack of your favorite Oktoberfest and then sit back, relax, and enjoy the fall festivities! Prost!