Ah, the leaves are changing, the temperatures are dropping, and is it just us or is everyone dreaming about fresh hops? All this can only mean one thing: Oktoberfest. For those of you who have been living under a rock (no offense), Oktoberfest is an age-old celebration that began in Munich to honor the wedding of their Crown Prince. That party has since died down, but the tradition has clearly been kept alive by beer drinkers. Oktoberfest has turned into a 16-day festival celebrating the beloved beverage and is now held annually all over the world.
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Starting in late September and heading into the first weekend of October, the festivities can range from massive street fairs to small celebrations at craft breweries, and even include the occasional concert. One thing is for sure, though, there's never a shortage of new beer when it’s time for Oktoberfest. Breweries are quick to come up with interesting brews that coin the signature fall flavors of Oktoberfest. Whether you’re into Sam Adams' Octoberfest, which has a hearty flavor with just a touch of bitterness, or Saranac’s Octoberfest Lager with its spicy hops and subtle lemon notes, or even if you’ve never held a bottle of beer to your lips, there’s bound to be something for everyone when Oktoberfest rolls around.
Things can get confusing if you’ve never had a beer before and if you’re one of those beer drinking virgins, Oktoberfest may elicit sweaty palms and an immediate sense of claustrophobia. The vocabulary alone of beer can be intimidating for those who stick to wine and liquor, but in reality, beer is nothing to be afraid of! It’s easy to catch on to the flavors of a beer, and it’s simple enough to learn the basics in a brewery tour. Try not to think of Oktoberfest as an overwhelming party celebrating the one drink you’ve avoided up until this point. We’ve come up with six ways to get your beer basics down before your friends haul you off to the party.