it’s a match

Pretzels & beer


Oktoberfest Originality: Exploring Pretzels, Beer, and the Unconventional Pairing with Wine Glasses

The air is alive with music and celebration. The scent of freshly baked pretzels wafts through the air, and the clinking of glasses resounds like a joyous symphony. Welcome to Oktoberfest, the world's grandest celebration of Bavarian culture. This year, we invite you to delve into the fascinating world of pairing beer with pretzels and take the unconventional yet intriguing approach of sipping your Bavarian beer from a wine glass.


A Background to Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest's roots go back more than 200 years to 1810, when Bavaria's Crown Prince Ludwig celebrated his marriage to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The festivities for this event were such a hit that they became an annual occurrence, evolving year after year until it became the Oktoberfest we know today.

As Oktoberfest developed as an event, food and drink emerged as a prominent theme, allowing goers to enjoy all sorts of authentic German cuisines alongside locally brewed beers. Today, we focus on one specific Bavarian treat - the pretzel, and how it can complement your Bavarian beer of choice. Between them, beer and pretzels are two staples that hold a special place in the hearts of Oktoberfest-goers, and there are a few steps you can take to take this pairing to new heights.

German beers and pretzel varieties

First off - beer. Bavaria is famed for its beer brewing, and Oktoberfest showcases some of the best brews the country has to offer. You'll find a delightful array of authentic Bavarian beer styles at the festival, with some of the most popular options including:

  • Märzen - a malty, amber lager with restrained bitterness and a rich, bready malt flavor profile.
  • Dunkel - a dark lager with a malt-forward flavor profile, featuring notes of chocolate, toffee, and roasted grains.
  • Helles - a pale lager that displays moderate hops and a soft malt character.
  • Weissbier (Wheat Beer) - a beer with a hazy appearance and a light, fruity taste.
  • Bock - strong, malty lagers with a noticeably high alcohol content, a hint of sweetness, and little to no hops.

Now, on to pretzels - the quintessential Oktoberfest snack. Soft pretzels are the classic pretzel style (as opposed to the American hard pretzel), often called the 'authentic pretzel.' This pretzel type features a crisp outer layer and a soft, chewy, bread-life texture on the inside, symbolizing both the hearty, comforting fare of the festival. A few styles of soft pretzel you can enjoy include:

  • Laugenbrezel - the classic pretzel and most iconic pretzel at Oktoberfest. It has a chewy interior, a shiny, deep brown crust, and a generous sprinkling of coarse salt.
  • Weisswurstbrezn - a pretzel typically larger and softer than Laugenbrezels. They often come with a white sausage (Weisswurst), making them a heartier snack.
  • Laugenstange - meaning "pretzel stick." These elongated pretzels are often topped with cheese and bacon but can also be enjoyed in the traditional pretzel style.
  • Käsebrezel/Cheese Pretzel - pretzels filled with gooey cheese, adding a delightful richness to the classic pretzel flavor.
  • Zuckerbrezel -sweet pretzels dusted with powdered sugar, offering a sweet and savory contrast to the traditional salty pretzels.

Pairing your beer and pretzels

There's a reason beer and pretzels have become inseparable at Oktoberfest. The flavors and textures of these two favorites harmonize in a way that's nothing short of magical. Pretzel's salty crust is the ideal foil for beer, but you can get even more specific regarding your beer and pretzel pairing exploits. Here are a few pairings that might make this year's Oktoberfest one to remember:
  • Laugenbrezel and Marzen. The rich maltiness and moderate hop bitterness of Marzen complement the salty exterior and chewy interior of a Laugenbrezel perfectly. The sweet caramel notes in Marzen contrast the pretzel's saltiness for a harmonious pairing.
  • Weisswurstbrezn and Weissbier. Weissbier's light and refreshing character pairs well with the savory white sausage inside Weisswurstbrezn. The banana and clove notes in Weissbier add a touch of complexity to the combination.
  • Brezelstange and Helles. The light maltiness and gentle hop bitterness of Helles enhances the flavor of Brezelstange without overpowering it. As a pretzel style often topped with cheese and bacon, you can enjoy extra savory notes from your pretzel that Helles lager always goes well with.
  • Käsebreze and Bock. The richness of the cheese inside Käsebrezel calls for a robust and malty beer, making Bock beer perfect for the job.
  • Zuckerbrezel and Dunkel. You have to be more careful when pairing sweet pretzels with your beers, as so many styles will clash with the sweetness of the pretzel. The best option among Bavarian beers is Dunkel, the toasty, caramelized malt flavors of which provide a lovely contrast to the sweetness of Zuckerbrezel.

Drinking Beer from a Wine Glass – A New Perspective

Once you've decided on your Bavarian an beer and pretzel of choice, it's time to select the glass you'll be indulging from.

As unconventional as it may sound, drinking beer from a wine glass is an experience that can elevate your appreciation of this amber nectar. Much like wine, beer can be influenced by the shape of the glass it's served in. Here's why it's worth a try.

  • Enhanced Aromatics. With tapered bowls and narrow rims, the proper wine glasses concentrate your beer's aromas, allowing you to appreciate its bouquet fully. This provides an opportunity to notice the subtle nuances of hops, malt, and yeast that might otherwise go unnoticed.
  • Improved Tasting Experience. A wine glass also offers a more controlled and refined tasting experience. The narrower opening encourages smaller sips, which can lead to a more measured and thoughtful assessment of the beer's flavors.
  • Experimentation. Trying different beer styles in wine glasses can be a fun experiment. With the beer variety you get between German beers, the glassware can accentuate the unique qualities of each brew. So why not embrace the spirit of Oktoberfest and sip your favorite beer from a wine glass at your next gathering?

Oktoberfest at Home

Hosting Your Own Celebration

You don't necessarily need to book a trip to Munich to capture some of the joy of Oktoberfest - you can recreate some of the magic at home! A couple of Germanic additions can be all you need to transform your humble adobe into a Bavarian beer tent.

In addition to selecting suitable beers and snacks, plus serving your beer in complementary glassware, you can transform the ambiance in your house with some authentic home decor. Create an Oktoberfest atmosphere with Bavarian flags and tablecloths, and capture the mood with traditional German folk music you might hear at the event. There are also food companions you can consider once you've had your fill of pretzels; complement your beer with other German delights like sausages, sauerkraut, and potato salad. You can even get dessert in on the act by finishing with a decadent Black Forest cake!

Whether you find yourself beneath the grand tents of Munich or in the comfort of your own home, you can make Oktoberfest an enriching experience by marrying your favorite German beer and pretzels, utilizing RIEDEL glasses to accentuate the qualities of your beer, and by getting creative with your decor. Prost to Oktoberfest and to celebrations done right.