When the leaves begin to change color, so do the displays of beer from Spoetzl Brewery at your local liquor store. The seasonal autumn hues of Shiner Oktoberfest take over, signaling the beginning of fall.
But it wasn't always that way. The märtzen-style ale has only officially been around for about a decade — unbelievable for Oktoberfest enthusiasts who now wait patiently through spring and summer.
Shiner Oktoberfest was first concocted in 2005, in anticipation of the brewery's 100th anniversary. Spoetzl brewmaster Jimmy Mauric says that it was originally called Shiner '96 — a nod to 96 years of brewing at the time — but that its festive flavor seemed just right to bring back as a yearly seasonal honoring the German Oktoberfest.
Traditional German malts support a dry, moderately hoppy finish, a combo that won Shiner Oktoberfest a gold medal at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival. At 5.7 percent ABV, it's also just right for stein-raising and polka-dancing, something that everyone should indulge in this time of year.