Think & Drink Like a German This Fall

Why Valley beer purveyors say “Prost!” to Oktoberfest Brews

It’s October—or, in the beer world, Oktober—which means Oktoberfest! The first such festival was held in October, 1810, to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig. All the citizens of Munich were invited to celebrate, though beer was not on the menu. Anniversary festivities were held annually from that point on, with small beer stands first popping up in 1818. By 1896, these began to be replaced by the first beer halls, and that’s when the hops-fueled festival really took off.

Fast-forward to today and you’ll find Oktoberfest traditions celebrated worldwide starting mid-September. Closer to home, we asked four of the Hudson Valley’s more prominent purveyors of German beer and food their thoughts on the Teutonic Tradition. Here’s what they had to say: 


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German beer is the best beer because…

My favorite German beer is…

Our Oktoberfest is the best because…

Pumpkin-flavored beer is…

Sean O’Brien
General Manager

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Schatzi’s Pub
Poughkeepsie & New Paltz

You get true hops, true malt flavors, and that allows them to shine for what they are. It is also cool that certain regions in Germany have specific beers only brewed there. And they are generally low in alcohol, under 5 percent, so you can drink them all day long.

Dopplebock in general, and Ayinger Celebrater is my favorite. Dopples are a little darker, with a very heavy malt.

We have a small, friendly staff, and you are treated like part of the family. We will have a few more German beers…and some food specials too.

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A little overrated and over-played. People take it to a level it shouldn’t be taken to. You can use pumpkin flavor as an adjunct, as opposed to drinking a glass of pumpkin pie.

Mark Ruoff


Mountain Brauhaus

Germans have been brewing longer than just about anyone else. The country’s purity laws keep them from veering from the tried and true ingredients.

Ayinger wheat beer. It has a fuller body—they use the same ingredients as everyone else, but something in their brewing process leads to more flavor and body, not overwhelming and still very drinkable.

We let Mother Nature do the work. We don’t really do a set Oktoberfest. The leaves change colors, the apples come in, the season does its part, and we just soak it in.

A road that should be gone down carefully. There are so many variations, and some people try too hard. It still should taste like beer

Dirk Schalle


Gunk Haus

Growing up there, I used to think it was the best. Since then I have come to appreciate other styles of beer. I enjoy German beer, of course. But I don’t think Germany distinguishes itself really.

Not available in the US. It’s a very small brewer from my region of Bavaria.The next best is the Konig [King] Ludwig weissbier. I have it on tap all the time.

It is year-round. What is Oktoberfest? It’s sausage, beer, pretzels, and an oompah band, and we have three of those four year-round.

The problem is that brewers often go overboard and make them too sweet. They taste like a pumpkin muffin. They should be refreshing, but should taste like a beer first.

Sam Leamy
General Manager


Wolff’s Biergarten
Albany & Troy

It’s full of flavor, has a wide variety of tastes, it’s clean, crisp, an all-around amazing beer experience.

Kellerbier, a style of unfiltered German lager. I like Hofbrau Zwickelbier [another name for kellerbier]. It’s refreshing, with a clean taste. I also like it in winter.

It’s an all-day block party. We attract more than 10,000 attendees from around the Capital Region, and it keeps growing.

It’s disgusting. It doesn’t belong anywhere near a brewery. It’s just gross.


Oktoberfest in the Hudson Valley

Oktoberfest Weekend at the Renaissance Faire
Oct 1-2; 600 New York 17A, Tuxedo Park, NY 10987 

Hunter Mountain
Weekends through Oct 16; 7740 Main St, Hunter, NY 12442

Bear Mountain Inn
Weekends through Oct 30; 3020 Seven Lakes Drive, Tomkins Cove, NY 10986

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