Did you know that the official Oktoberfest celebration in Munich, Germany, can't begin until the Mayor of Munich taps a beer keg and shouts those words? Unsurprisingly, the German phrase translates to "It's tapped!"
Oktoberfest is officially kicked off ushering in a harvest celebration of
drinking Märzens and festbiers. And while many Oktoberfest celebrations around
the world have been canceled, Untappd invites you to join in on the fall fun by
safely hoisting a stein or two of beer from one of the six traditional Munich
How to earn the badge:
Check in a beer from one of these Munich-based breweries: Paulaner Brauerei, Spaten-Franziskaner-Löwenbräu-Gruppe, Staatliches Hofbräuhaus München, Augustiner-Bräu München, Hacker-Pschorr
The badge is active between: September 18, 2021 - Oct 3, 2021.
T-minus one day until Hop Culture's fourth annual festival celebrating women in the beer industry: Beers With(out) Beards, Presented by YETI.
In 2018 Hop Culture and Untappd's Managing Editor Grace Weitz launched Beers With(out) Beards as a part of her graduate school thesis capstone project at NYU. Over the last three years, this revolutionary festival has attracted over 3,000 attendees and 50 women-led breweries. In the same period, the fest has featured 30 events aimed at celebrating the achievements of women across all aspects of the alcoholic beverage industries.
With the festival just around the corner we're getting excited to share a beer with you and participate in some fantastic events (virtually of course!). This year we're featuring a panel on how to take your brewing passion pro with Samuel Adams, a photography class with Two Roads Brewing Co.'s social media and content creator, a tasting workshop with the women of Allagash, a guided beer tasting of Russian River's Pliny the Elder, and so much more. You can check out the full schedule of events here. And then tune in at 1:00pm ET to the festival livestream here… for free!
To celebrate and support the fantastic women of craft beer we're releasing a collaboration "Beers With(out) Beard" badge with YETI. To earn this badge, check-in any beer from the festival (see the full list below) tomorrow Saturday, Sept. 18th, 2021. This badge will only be live for one day so unlock it while you can.
On the latest episode of Virtual Happy Hour, Harrison talked with Ann Obenchain, Marketing & Communications Director for the Brewers Association. Ann shares why it's so important to drink local beer and most importantly how you can make a difference at your neighborhood brewery, taproom, and brewpub just by drinking a pint. You must tune into this fantastic conversation.
Tune in at 7:00PM ET tonight as Drinking Socially podcast host Harrison Hickok (@harrybeerbeard) chats with Ann Obenchain, the Marketing & Communications Director for the Brewers Association. Fresh off the Great American Beer Festival's (GABF) awards ceremony last Friday, Ann joins us to share some of this year's winners and why now more than ever it's important to get out and drink local beer.
Think about it. What makes for a better beer, exactly? Is it how cold it is? Or maybe the lip-smacking "ahhhh" that follows the first sip?
For us and the Brewers Association, a better beer goes way beyond what's in the glass. A better beer keeps local people employed. A better beer gives back to the community. Heck, a better beer creates community right in the taproom where it's poured. A better beer doesn't just taste better, it does good.
Thursday marks the official start of the 186th Oktoberfest celebration. Normally, this annual festival attracts millions of visitors to Munich, Germany to imbibe a very specific style of beer, eat roast chicken, and host massive stein holding competitions. Unfortunately due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city cancelled this year's Oktoberfest festival. But, that doesn't mean that we need to forgo fall altogether.
For our part, we wanted to recognize the holiday by digging into its history. Above all, we'll clarify the exact difference between Oktoberfest, Märzen, and festbiers. Lastly, we'll give you a few of our favorite classic German and modern American versions to try.
But first, a little history lesson.
What Is Oktoberfest?
Essentially a lesson in German royalty, Oktoberfest started with a wedding. Bavarian Crown Prince Louis (later King Louis I of Bavaria) married Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen on October 12th, 1810.
The nuptials included a raucous party open to the citizens of Munich on the fields in front of the city gates. Named Theresienwiese or Therese's Fields, the Wiesn, or outdoor meadow, hosted days of drinking and horse races. In the midst of the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815), this party aimed to unite Germans during a tumultuous time.
Oh, and did we mention the royal family provided beer and food free of charge? In conclusion, so much fun was had by all that the festival became a yearly celebration.
Hurdles like cholera and now the COVID-19 pandemic have stymied some Oktoberfest celebrations. But for the most part, over the past two centuries, every year people gather in Munich to sip overflowing steins in huge beer tents and eat roasted chicken.
What Is the Difference between Oktoberfests, Märzens, and Festbiers?
The answer is a little complicated. In Germany, Oktoberfest means beers that are brewed specifically for the Oktoberfest event in Munich.
Historically, the beers served at Oktoberfest can only come from the large breweries inside Munich's city limits including Augustiner-Bräu Münche (Augustiner), Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, and Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu (Spaten).
But over time, the official beer style of Oktoberfest has changed.
For instance, during the first 60 or so years, the darker Bavarian dunkel dominated. But by 1872 Spaten brewery introduced the more amber-hued Märzen, which became the official beer of the fest.
Over the decades, brewers continued to innovate, using paler malts. In the early 1970s, Paulaner introduced a golden-colored beer called festbier. After that, this style slowly gained popularity.
Today, festbier is the official style of all beers at Oktoberfest. Although still slightly malty, these lighter-bodied festbiers are super drinkable and perfect for the two-week-long celebration.
So, What Does the Term Oktoberfest Actually Mean?
According to European Union regulations, only beers brewed by the aforementioned six breweries can use the label "Oktoberfest" (much like real champagne can only technically come from the Champagne region of France). All other breweries must call their seasonal lagers Oktoberfest-style beer. But that hasn't stopped American brewers from using terms like Oktoberfest, Märzen, and festbier pretty much interchangeably. To further confuse things, American breweries will often sell beers with punny variations such as Oaktoberfest, Octoberfest, etc.
Today in the States, Oktoberfest is often used as a catchall encompassing Märzens and festbiers. The Märzens here in America typically feature Munich and Caramel malts for beers that tend to be redder, maltier, and slightly sweeter.
Basically, the Oktoberfest-style beers brewed in America are actually nothing like those made for the real Oktoberfest in Germany. Instead, they align more closely with the original styles served in the 1870s.
Of course, there are some brewers in the United States that do adhere more closely to the paler, modern German Oktoberfest styles. But for the most part, if you're drinking an Oktoberfest in America, it's probably a copper-hued, toasty Märzen lager.
Wait, I'm Still Confused Can You Recap Everything For Me?
Heck yeah! Basically…
Oktoberfest (Oktoberfestbier) – Any beer formally brewed by one of the six big Munich brewers and served on the Oktoberfest grounds. Over the years these beers have evolved from dunkels to Märzens to festbiers. Today, they're light gold in color and easy bodied.
Märzens – German amber lagers typically anywhere from chestnut to russet in color. Smooth, toasty, bready, slightly spiced with a bit of a Noble hop bite. Märzens hit around 5-6% ABV with a dry finish. First brewed by Spaten in Germany, in America this is the most common style of what we've come to call Oktoberfest or Oktoberfest-style beers.
Festbiers – A strong golden German lager similar to a helles, just maltier. The floralness and spiciness of Noble hops are more prevalent in this style. And they're slightly meatier at 6-6.5% ABV. First pioneered by Paulaner, today in Germany festbiers are THE official beer of Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest-style – Normally falling under the style of Märzen, these beers are brewed outside the city limits of Munich. Again, if you buy an Oktoberfest-style beer in America, it will most likely be an amber Märzen. Technically only beers brewed by one of the six original breweries in Munich can officially use the term Oktoberfest (Oktoberfestbier).
With all this in mind, whether you're camping out with a classic Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Amber Märzen from the original Munich brewery or enjoying a modern 3 Floyds Brewing Company Munsterfest from the premier Midwestern brewery, we've found the best beers to ring in the Oktoberfest season. Prost!
Here are Untappd's Top-Rated Oktoberfest/Märzens of 2021.
To the window, to the wall, to the...port? Is that how the song goes? Nope, but it's not important. Because here's what is important: Porters are more than just, "that other dark beer". Over the past decade or so craft beer consumers have sprinted down a dark, windy, roasty, path of the stout. From barrel-aged to fruited to breakfast variations to those infused with lactose and cake, stouts have become a darling of modern American craft brewers. But along the way we've forgotten that porters are kind of like the OG dark beer.
Originating during the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century in London, porters take their name from the London working class that first enjoyed them: boatmen, punters, and porters.
The style then spread over to the former colonies in America and a stronger, export version became associated with the Baltic. Strong porters also gave rise to those aforementioned stouts that are so wildly popular in today's American craft beer scene.
With that in mind after dominating England during the 1700s, the style lost popularity in the early 20th century and faded away until being semi-revived as a style during the rise of craft beer
Drinking Socially podcast hosts Harrison Hickok and Jon Dispenza bring porters back to popularity on this week's episode of Drinking Socially as they tackle the To The Port badge.
To plunge into this badge Harrison and Jon are drinking Drayman's Porter from Berkshire Brewing Company (B.B.C), a very well balanced and full-bodied dark ruby-brown ale. With slightly sweet notes of chocolate malt and mocha married to a delicate hop bitterness, this beer is porter perfection.
To earn this badge, try five beers with the style of Porter: American, Baltic, Coffee, English, Imperial/Double, Imperial/Double Baltic, and Imperial/Double Coffee. Try five more to level-up. You can work your way all the way up to Level 100!
Go ahead, put down the stout and pick up a porter!
Tune into Drinking Socially on YouTube or listen wherever you grab your favorite podcasts to hear all about the new features.
This past weekend the Brewers Association (BA) awarded 290 medals to 265 breweries across the country during the 2021 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) awards ceremony. The largest competition to date covered the best beers in ninety-seven categories covering 175 different beer styles from juicy or hazy IPAs to fruited American sour ales to German-style wheat ales and beyond.
During the thirty-fifth edition of the storied competition, judging took place in thirty-four sessions over seventeen days with strict health and safety measures in place.
Celebrating all of the fantastic beers in the competition has been an amazing bright spot among the countless challenges the craft beer industry has faced during the past year and a half.
"Despite being forced to cancel the festival portion of GABF, our brewing community rallied together to make this year's GABF competition one for the books—our largest competition judged to date," said Chris Swersey, competition director, Great American Beer Festival in the BA's press release. "Judges continue to be impressed with the quality and innovation of all entries they evaluated. The Brewers Association is proud to honor this year's deserving winners. We look forward to celebrating in person together next year."
2022 will be an extra special year for GABF as the event celebrates its 40th anniversary October 6-8, 2022.
Our local breweries need us! Now more than ever. Let's think about it. What makes for a better beer, exactly? Is it how cold it is? Or maybe the lip-smacking "ahhhh" that follows the first sip?
For us a better beer goes way beyond what's in the glass. A better beer keeps local people employed. A better beer gives back to the community. Heck, a better beer creates community right in the taproom where it's poured. A better beer doesn't just taste better, it does good.
At the largest worldwide cleanup event of the year, Bird Brewery lovers will come together to give the world a big cleanup! On this day, Bird Brewery will make the world a little greener by planting a tree for every bin bag full with collected waste.
Bird Brewery has brewed a special beer for the occasion: Kolibier. Kolibier is their fourth special in 2021. It's a fresh and hoppy Double IPA with lots of fruitiness. The double doses of hop ensures a delicious bitterness, a beer for every hop lover. Check in one of the Bird Brewery beers to unlock the World Cleanup Day badge!
Order your World Cleanup Day box online here. Want to help clean up the world with Bird Brewery on 18 September? Sign up at one of the clean-up locations at https://birdbrewery.com/opruimen/
How to earn the badge:
Check in any beer from Bird Brewery from Sep 9 - 18, 2021.
About Bird Brewery
As a fast-growing brewery, Bird Brewery aims to make an impact on the beer market. They do this not only with their award-winning beers, but also by consciously doing their part for nature. Together with partners, they have planted 70,000+ trees and donated 2.7 million liters of drinking water.
English mild ales are anything but mild. Think of this style of beer more like Clark Kent, an unassuming reporter at the Daily Planet just waiting to rip off his shirt and don his cape at the first sign of trouble. Don't be fooled. There is an unsung hero in every one of these malt-forward, sessionable beers! 💯
A British style that originated in the 1700s, mild ales originally just meant any beer that was sold "young." Actually, the OG mild ales had nothing to do with the ABV of the beer. Today, this quintessential, historic beer is defined by roasty, toasty notes from various malts. A heavy focus on grains means this style typically clocks in at around only 3% ABV. Are English mild ales perhaps the old-world equivalent of a single-hop pale ale? Either way these beers are perfect for those days at the pub with your mates.
Drinking Socially podcast hosts Harrison Hickok and Jon Dispenza are pretty great mates. So, they're raising a modern mild ale called Brawler from Yards Brewing Co. as they dig into the history of this beer while working on the "Mild Mannered" badge.
To earn this badge, drink five different beers with the style of English Mild Ale. Try five more for Level 2!
Fancy a cuppa? Well, go drink a bloody English Mild Ale! (And yes, we are fully aware cuppa typically refers to tea. Just go with us here!).
Tune into Drinking Socially on YouTube or listen wherever you grab your favorite podcasts to hear all about the new features.
This new innovation allows you to discreetly check-in on the app, whether you're in a dimly lit bar or brewery or simply scrolling through the app right before bedtime. As we so often do.
For years our iconic yellow interface has been synonymous with Untappd. But many Untappd community users found themselves searching, rating, and reading about beers while hanging at their neighborhood bar or visiting their favorite taproom in the evening, when the cheery interface could be a bit too bright.
"Imagine you are in a dark taproom or bar setting. Your phone is at max brightness and you open up the previous version of Untappd. The very first thing you see is a blindingly bright orange and white screen with the Untappd logo that, while very iconic, is both screaming at the people you're with and screaming at the bartender that, Hey, you just opened Untappd," says Kyle Roderick, Executive VP of Product at Untappd.
By far the most frequent request we've received over the last four years, Dark Mode means you can now do things like unlock badges and check-in beers on Untappd in the dark.
We're so excited about all the work our engineering team has dedicated to Dark Mode over the past two years that we created an entirely new badge called "Check-In The Dark" to celebrate.
HOW TO EARN THIS BADGE - Between Sept. 7 and Oct. 7, 2021, check-in any beer with the app theme set to Dark Mode.
So take the elevator down to the Bat cave, hop in the Batmobile, and unlock the"Check-In The Dark" badge on Dark Mode in your Untappd app.
Have a few thoughts on how Untappd could improve? Looking to leave feedback for the engineering team? Reach out to [email protected] and we'll take a look! And as always, if you have questions, comments, or feedback for our team, reach out to us at [email protected] or on our Support page!
What beer do you think Batman drinks when he's hanging out in his bat cave after stomping on a bunch of baddies? We imagine if Batman did enjoy a craft beer or two, it would probably be as black as his bat suit. Something like a schwarzbier!
Sometimes called black lagers, schwarzbiers are similar to German-style dunkels, but drier, darker, and roastier. Literally translating to black beer in German, these lagers may actually be one of the oldest beer styles in the world. In 1935, archaeologists working in a 3,000-year-old Celtic tomb near Kulmbach in Northern Bavaria, Germany, uncovered an ancient jar (called an amphora) that contained remnants of some kind of black beer. 😱 These excavators (and modern day Indian Joneses) discovered the oldest evidence of brewing in Europe.
Now, we don't know exactly what type of beer that amphora contained, but we do know that monks in this area would eventually become famous for their Kulmbacher Kloster Mönchshof Schwarzbier, which literally translates to black beer from the monks' courtyard cloister.
Today, these beers are known for their distinctive copper to chocolate to charcoal color from Munich malts. But despite pouring an inky black, these beers have a surprisingly light body. Much like Batman's triple-weave kevlar suit. It's just so breathable.
And unlike other dark beers such as porters and stouts, schwarzbiers actually feature a good amount of noble hopping to provide a longer bitterness. A dry finish caps off this style known for its rich coffee, chocolate, and cocoa notes.
In modern-day brewing, this style isn't uber popular by any means. But like a dark knight, we find this obsidian style to be kind of an unsung hero.
On the latest episode of Virtual Happy Hour, Kenny talked with Atinuke "Tinu" Akintola Diver, the director and producer of the film This Belongs to Us, a documentary that explores how American craft beer culture became synonymous with white, male identity and how black, Southern craft brewers are reclaiming this space. Tinu shares more about the barriers in our industry and most importantly how BIPOC brewery owners can overcome them. You must tune into this incredible conversation.
Have you ever seen such a beautiful kombucha? Super Berry Allkind Kombucha is packed with organic blueberry, raspberry, acai, elderberry, and a dash of ginger. Bright and bubbly with a clean finish, this SCOBY Fermented, hard kombucha is positively alive! Find Allkind Super Berry Hard Kombucha on draft and in 6-packs near you: Booch Finder.
Feeling lucky? For your chance to win an Allkind skateboard, text SK8ALLKIND to 44222. Rules (through 10/31). Contest details here.
How to earn the badge:
Check in 1 Allkind Super Berry Hard Kombucha to unlock this badge between September 3, 2021 to November 3, 2021.
It's that time of year again. Dogfish Head Punkin'
Ale is back, and this year with a glow-up … literally. Brewed with real
pumpkin meat, brown sugar and your favorite fall spices, this 7% ABV sipper
is the perfect beer to warm up with as the weather cools down. And this time
Off-Centered Art Series artist Ryan
Besch has taken Punkin' Ale to electrifying new heights with this year's
6-packs featuring a glow-in-the-dark element that illuminates when the
lights go out.
"The annual return of our Punkin Ale is a seasonal ritual
I always look forward to, way more than turning back the clock an hour … the
spicy, earthy aromatics of this big brown ale and the reddish golden hue of
the liquid itself looks and tastes like vibrant, autumnal foliage squeezed
into your pint glass. It's the perfect accompaniment for a hearty
dinner or a sunset hike," says Dogfish Head founder & brewer Sam
Calagione. "When I first homebrewed what is now Punkin Ale nearly 27 years
ago, before the inception of Dogfish Head, I never imagined it would one day
become a well-loved, seasonal staple for craft beer fans from coast-to-coast.
Each year's re-release is truly a heart-warming reminder of Dogfish Head's
First brewed in 1994, Punkin Ale gets its name from the
legendary east coast event, the World Championship of Punkin Chunkin. If
you're not familiar, the event not only brought people from around the world
together to see who could hurl a pumpkin the furthest, but it also featured a
pumpkin-themed baking competition, in which Punkin Ale claimed first-prize.
"It was actually kind of comical to watch my homebrewed pumpkin beer beat out
all these beautiful, decadent pumpkin-themed desserts – cakes, pies, cookies
and more," says Sam. "I don't think a beer had ever been entered into the
contest, let alone been chosen as the winner … but folks were really diggin'
it, so I knew I was onto something!"
Punkin then made its commercial debut in 1995 and it has
been re-released every year since. Tried and true, Punkin's original recipe –
to this day – remains unchanged.
To bring the glow-up full circle, when you check-in to a
Punkin' Ale in the month of September, you'll unlock Dogfish Head's animated
Punkin Ale badge that's as entertaining to view as watching your friend try
and see the glow-in-the-dark packaging in broad daylight.
Now available, check out the Fish Finder to find
some in your neck of the woods!
How to earn the badge:
Check-in one Punkin' Ale by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery anywhere between September 2 and October 2, 2021.