Brian’s Brews: Oktoberfest edition

In 1516, when the Reinheitsgebot – the German beer purity law – was instituted, they clearly did not have the Oktoberfest by Sante Fe Brewing in mind.

The Reinheitsgebot states that beer can only contain three ingredients: water, barley and hops. Sante fe’s Oktoberfest certainly meets those criteria, although not very well.

History of the Style

The märzen style – commonly referred to as Oktoberfest – goes back hundreds of years.

Märzen roughly translates to March, like the month, because that is when 16th century Bavarian brewers would brew this beer. They would brew it hearty so it would make it through the warmer summer until fall, when they would drink it.

In October of 1810, Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The entire city of Munich was invited. The peasants weren’t normally invited to such an affair. Imagine receiving an invitation to Jay-z and Beyoncé’s wedding.

The festivities took place in front of the Munich city gates and lasted five days, they tapped their supplies of märzen beer, and raced horses.

Oktoberfest still takes place every year in Munich, drawing millions of people from around the world. Since 1810 it has been moved back to mid-September, lasting until the first Sunday of October.


I had great expectations for this Oktoberfest beer. The design on the 12-ounce blue and white can is clean – like I expected the beer to be.  Its slogan under the logos of tyrolean hats and pretzels said: “Beer. Sausage. Polka. Repeat.” That is something I can get behind.

The beer poured a beautiful amber typical of märzen beers. The nose was a weak maltiness.

The first taste was crisp and malty, but lacking. It is just a little too sweet, a little too watered down. Something is off in Munich.

It’s brewed with pilsen and munich malts, like a most märzen beers. As it warms, that malty sweetness that those malts provides is just a little too overpowering. gives this beer a 70 rating in style and a 43 rating overall. I think that might be a bit generous in the style department. There are much better examples of a märzen available in Kansas.

Sante Fe’s Oktoberfest is just one step above a sink-pour for me. I’m going to need to eat a lot of pretzels and sausage to get the taste of this beer out of my mouth.

Final score: 2/5