Beer: Ohio Oktoberfest

John Ross, Columbus Alive

Oktoberfest beers have exploded onto beer shelves - and many Ohio breweries have put their mark on the traditional German style.

Historically, Oktoberfestbiers and Marzens were produced in early spring before the summer heat made it difficult to brew lagers. These more potent, hoppier beers were stored in cool cellars or caves and enjoyed until early fall. The annual Oktoberfest celebration was held so brewers could empty their casks to make room for other styles.

Here's a breakdown of five Oktoberfest lagers brewed in the Buckeye state.

Columbus Brewing Company


ABV: 5.5 percent

CBC brewers wanted a seasonal lager that fans could enjoy by the liter, and they succeeded with this amber-colored creation sold in beautiful, argyle packaging. Festbier is fairly dry - with robust carbonation and crisp bite - so it drinks much like the lagers you're used to.



ABV: 6.7 percent

This Cincinnati operation stays true to its German heritage by brewing a handful of great beers in traditional styles, including this Marzen. Pouring an inviting orange, it feels bright and almost airy on your tongue, with a touch of sweetness and bready yeast.


1810 Oktoberfest

ABV: 5.9 percent

Elevator sometimes puts out its best stuff only in kegs, but this amber elixir has the subtle complexity of the brewpub's best tap selections. It has a bready malt character that's backed with a good lager's crisp, hoppy bite.

Great Lakes


ABV: 6.5 percent

Slight whiffs of alcohol rise from the nose of this copper-colored beer from Ohio's most sought-after producer of seasonal selections. (Christmas Ale will be released Nov. 1.) The beer's decent booziness surrounds a malt backbone that tastes slightly like sourdough bread.


Thirsty Dog


ABV: Six percent

Slightly caramel notes join those of golden raisins and dates in this wonderfully robust beer. It's gloriously sweet, though not at all syrupy, and finishes more cleanly than any in the bunch. After a few of these, you'll be howling at the harvest moon.

Photo by Jodi Miller


If you can't raise a stein in Munich this year, head to Columbus Oktoberfest, which will feature keg-tappings, pretzels, brats, German dancing and an authentic bier-hall vibe. The event runs Friday-Sunday, Sept. 23-25, at the Ohio Expo Center. For info, visit