Oktoberfest beer and cheese pairing guide

The Cheese Guide to Oktoberfest

It’s that time of the year to switch out crackers for German pretzels (to enjoy with cheese).

Whilst Oktoberfest traditionally occurs from late September and into October, the German festival is usually celebrated all month long across the globe. Beer and German culture is celebrated, including lederhosen, oompah bands, dancing and noshing on freshly baked pretzels.

Pretzel with gouda

Here’s your ultimate guide to German beer and cheese pairings:

Marzen (Amber Lager) - Considered the beer that founded Oktoberfest, is also one of the most common types of beer served at the festival. This malty amber coloured beer goes well with nutty cheeses such as gouda or swiss styles (or any semi-hard cheeses), and any white mould cheeses such as camembert or brie.

Pilsner (Pale Lager) - Arguably one of Germany’s most popular beers pairs well with more subtle flavours to compliment its mellow notes. This includes cheeses like bloomy rind goat cheeses, ricotta or even fresh mozzarella.

Bock or Doppelbock (Dark Lager) - This beer is known for its strong flavour and dark colour. The sweet almost caramel flavour of Doppelbock pairs well with blue cheese, aged gouda (or any nutty aged cheese), swiss styles and camembert.

Hefeweizen (Wheat Ale) - This light-bodied, cloudy and fragrant beer pairs well with fresh cheeses such as chevre, burrata and mozzarella.    

Saison (Pale Ale) - This particular beer is a Belgian style ale that is carbonated, as it was originally produced for the summer. The fruity, spicy and earthy notes pairs very well with blue mould cheeses such as gorgonzola but also with ripened goats cheese and camembert. A bonus of this German beer is that the carbonation helps to cleanse your palate as you go.

Kolsch (German Ale) - A clear top-fermented beer that has a slightly fruity as well as malty flavour complements cheeses that have either a sweet or spicy note. These cheeses include swiss style alpine cheeses such as edam or caraway spiced gouda.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to pair things that are similar in flavour or strength, so as not to drown out one over the other. You want to be able to enjoy both as one harmonious experience, but that accentuates the other in the pair.

This just goes to show that wine isn’t the only beverage that goes well with cheese. It certainly doesn’t hurt to explore outside of the box, (especially the cheese box!) because you’ll be surprised at what can go well with cheese. Challenge your tastebuds and grab hold of a stein today - Prost!

Oktoberfest lion with beer