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Editor's Note: This story is unlocked for everyone to read courtesy of the CRVA, our partner in nourishing culinary exploration for residents and visitors of the Queen City.

August 16, 2023

Charlotte’s August craft beer releases

Oktoberfest-style beers take center stage as summer winds down

by Brian Beauchemin

Although a variety of beers are introduced this month, Märzen and Festbiers dominate. The original Munich Oktoberfest occurred in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. Märzen, an amber lager, was the original Oktoberfest beer and continued to be so until the 1970s when, due to consumer demand and evolving tastes, the Paulaner Brewery introduced Festbiers, lighter in body and color. Over time, these lighter lagers replaced their heartier brethren as the festival’s highlight brew. Whether you’re looking for an early-fall festival beer or something different, a list of new and/or limited releases follows. Unless otherwise stated, all products are already available in taprooms and/or in the local market.

Birdsong Brewing

Party Starter is a traditional German-style Märzen or Märzenbier (which is German for March beer) lager with hints of toffee and a light floral aroma. It is rich on the palate with a smooth, crisp finish.

Blue Blaze Brewing

Alpine Wiesen Oktoberfest Lager, a German Märzen, releases August 25. The 5.3% ABV lager is amber-red in color and as refreshing as the cool, autumn air. This year’s release marks the first time the beer is fermented as a traditional lager instead of an ale. The resulting beer is crisp and clean and the light toasty/bisquity malt gives way to a medium hop aroma and flavor from German Noble hops.

Legion Brewing

Mango Juicy Jay was released to celebrate National IPA Day. A spin-off of the tried-and-true Juicy Jay, the 6.5% ABV IPA was brewed with mango purée featuring a bright fruity aroma and vibrant tropical flavor.

NoDa Brewing

NoDa Brewing is rolling out its Oktoberfest on September 1. Photo courtesy

Jedi Unicorn is a double juicy, hazy IPA with a whopping 9% ABV. A new hop from Hopsteiner, X62, is utilized in tandem with Mosaic Incognito, and Citra Lupomax. The combination boasts a huge berry and candy apple character alongside a backbone of citrus and tropical notes.

Brewers Coffee IPA is relatively low 4.8% ABV session IPA brewed with oats, dry hopped with Mosaic and Amarillo CGX hops, and then rested on coffee beans.

Carry On is a refreshing and subtly complex beer inspired by the number one style in Germany, helles lager (light lager). This traditional German beer is both malty and light-bodied with subtle German hop notes to compliment the biscuity, cracker, and clean malt character. Quite approachable at 4.9% ABV, the beer will be released August 18.

Golden Lotus is a 7.3% ABV hazy IPA with a release date of August 25. The beer was brewed in partnership with Hopsteiner to showcase the floral, citrus, and melon notes of Lotus and El Dorado Salvo hops.

Two traditional German beers will be released on September 1. Oktoberfest is a German Märzen lager utilizing all German ingredients including Bock yeast, Vienna, Munich, and Pilsner malts in tandem with German hops. The 6.3% ABV beer is full bodied, with a light amber color, malt-forward taste, and crisp finish.

Fest Fuel is a 6% ABV traditional German festbier. The lager boasts a solid malt backbone with subtle hop balance, yet is lighter in flavor and character than the Märzen. Fest Fuel is gluten-reduced to make it approachable to a wider audience.

Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

Mecktoberfest is a rich, malty, and smooth Märzen courtesy of Munich malt, noble hops, and a yeast strain from the oldest brewery in the world. This 5.4% ABV lager is a two-time Gold European Beer Star winner.

Sycamore Brewing

The brewery releases both a seasonal beer and cider on August 18. Pumpkin Latte Blonde is a blonde ale brewed with coffee and spices. The 5.8% ABV beer is brewed with house-roasted cold brew coffee, pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, ginger), and vanilla.

Apple Pie is a 5.1% ABV cider fermented with champagne yeast, wildflower honey and a plethora of spices: Saigon and Ceylon cinnamon, Jamaican allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and vanilla.

Town Brewing

Order Of The Sun is a coconut hazy IPA. The beer has a mellow, hazy, subtle IPA flavor with a hint of coconut on the finish and is rounded out with 7% ABV.

Rathaus Festbier releases August 19. The German festbier features soft, smooth, bready notes from Bavarian-grown barley. Pleasant noble hop character provides the perfect balance to the bready, toasty malt. The 5.8% ABV lager is crisp and refreshing.

Triple C Brewing

Sweet Cream is a 5.1% ABV vanilla coffee porter that is both dark and a bit sweet. This robust porter is brewed with coffee, vanilla, and lactose to give the beer a soft and creamy mouthfeel.

Oktoberfest is a traditional Märzen lager. The 5.5% ABV beer has a beautiful copper color and is fermented cold for a smooth and clean finish.

Rounding out the month, two different IPAs will be released on August 25. Back In My Day, a traditional west coast IPA weighs in at 7.3% ABV. Brewed with Cascade, Centennial, Citra, and Simcoe hops to provide dank, piney, and citrusy aromas and flavors but with a balanced malt component.

On the other end of the IPA spectrum, Debra is a 7% ABV hazy IPA. This hazy IPA was brewed with Ekuanot and Citra kettle hops for a citrus lemon-lime flavor. The beer was dry hopped with Mosaic and Sabro to showcase a tropical fruit medley aroma of pineapple, mango, coconut, and passionfruit. A bit dry and hoppy, with a mild back-end sweetness.

Wooden Robot

The latest batch of What She’s Having is an 8% ABV double IPA. The bold DIPA is brewed with Mosaic, Luminosa, and Galaxy hops, providing rich tropical fruits, pine, and bright refreshing citrus.
Czech Check is a Czech-style pilsner. The pale lager is fermented cold and slowly, brewed with 100% North Carolina pilsner malt and Zuper Saazer hops. Despite the light color, the beer exhibits a surprisingly rich mouthfeel and malt character. The 4.5% ABV pilsner is best enjoyed by the mug, poured from the brewery’s Lukr side-pull faucet.

Comet Down is a 7% ABV west coast IPA. This clear and crisp IPA features Comet and Strata hops laid over a very light malt base. Passion fruit, grapefruit, and resiny hops give way to a finish with a clean bitterness.

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