When you attend Oktoberfest in Munich, there are loads of beer tents where you can choose to spend your time and money. These tents are operated by six legendary German breweries. We wanted to determine which of these delicious creations paired best with the Quesada Oktoberfest cigar; a stick born to be paired with this style of brew. Unfortunately, we could’t locate every single Oktoberfest beer from these six companies, as Nashville doesn’t have the greatest beer selection. Even still, we do have a beer representative from each, with Löwenbräu Original and Augustinerbrau Edelstoff standing in for their Oktoberfest brethren.
How did the test work? You may notice there are two cigars in the above photo. Both Nick and myself smoked and consumed the beers above. Don’t worry, we split each beer so we were only moderately intoxicated by the end of the test. Which beer reigned supreme? Let’s find out.
Be sure to click on each beer to see how it looked poured into a half liter stein!
A traditional Munich Helles Lager, the Löwenbräu is a very mild brew with a slight bitterness and a hint of hop. There isn’t a ton of flavor here, which really puts the focus on the cigar. The pairing isn’t bad but it doesn’t really enhance the smoking experience beyond what you might expect from a beer. We regret that we couldn’t get our hands on the traditional Oktoberfest variety, and apologize to the Löwenbräu family. However, what it lacks in flavor, it makes up for by being an excellent beer for making Radler. Try mixing 6oz of Löwenbräu and 4oz of Sprite in a glass. When the inevitable smile hits your face, feel free to send us a thank you card.
The only other non-Oktoberfest beer we tested, the Augustiner-Bräu Edelstoff is slightly smoother than the Löwenbräu. There is a hint of citrus, boarding on lemony, which is a little bit at odds with the flavors in the Oktoberfest cigar. It’s a very light beer, but not in a Bud Lite way, so it won’t ruin the cigar experience. Honestly, though, it doesn’t really add anything either.
Now this is more like it. Talk about a shift from the previous two beers! The Paulaner is a thicker, more full flavored beer with hints of caramel, bread and a slight fruitiness as well. It’s smooth going down, with a little hoppyness to keep things interesting in your throat. This is the first to really make us understand what Quesada was going for with their cigar, and it works well.
Similar in style and flavor to the Paulaner, the Spaten distinguishes itself by being a little less smooth – and in a good way. Those same bread and sweet caramel flavors are present but with a definite edge to it, resulting from a spicy nutmeg kick on the finish. This super creamy and the spicy edge makes for an interesting, delicious, and complimentary pairing.
While it may look similar to the Paulaner and Spaten, the Hacker-Pschorr is a different beast. Easily the darkest of the beers tested, it’s focused less on the bread and more on the sweetness. With notes of vanilla, pear and apple being the forefront of the profile, this is a beer that brings fall to mind. The flavors are delicious and pair very well the Oktoberfest cigar.
This is the beer that challenges your expectations of Oktoberfest beers, as it’s nothing like the dark, amber beers you’ve come to expect. There’s not a whole lot of sweetness but it’s crisp and hoppy with a slightly bitter finish. There wasn’t a ton to love about the pairing, but the beer is fantastic and well worth drinking on its own.
Congratulations to Spaten Oktoberfest! You can’t really go wrong with any of the beers we tried, but Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr and Spaten are the three we’d recommend most. The spicy, nutmeg kick of the Spaten is just enough of a differentiating factor for us to deem it the winner. Luckily, Spaten Oktoberfest is one of the most widely available Oktoberfest beers out there, so there is no reason for you to avoid this pairing. What are you waiting for?