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Gulp before they’re gone

These Oktoberfest beers are a festive but fleeting pleasure

By Mark Andel

Sure, you could celebrate the 1810 wedding of Prince Ludwig of Munich and Princess Theresa of Sachsen-Hildburghausen, as was originally intended with Oktoberfest beers. But since when did you need a reason to drink a delicious brew? Grab a massive stein, clink it with your neighbor and gulp these tasty Oktoberfest beers.

Weihenstephaner Festbier, $5
A smorgasbord of German Oktoberfest beers are on tap at Resi's Bierstube, but we recommend the Weihenstephaner. It's a sweet, rich classic lager with a yeasty redolence of sourdough bread with a bracing, astringent finish. Be careful--at 7.4 percent alcohol, it packs a punch.

Spaten Oktoberfest, $4.50
Consider oom-pahing your way up the street from Resi's to Laschet's Inn, where the featured Oktoberfest beer is the same one served in Munich: Spaten. Laschet's promises an early-September tapping of this storied draft with a flavor that one enthusiast claimed was "like whole wheat pancakes with maple syrup." It's the perfect accompaniment to a Westfalian ham sandwich on Bavarian rye with a dill spear.

Piece Oktoberfest, $4
Brewer Jonathon Cutler is a patient man who plans to wait until Oct. 1 to tap Piece's medium-bodied brew. The toasty-malt beer is a lager that walks on the light side but with enough body to stand up to grilled brats and sauerkraut. "Some American brewers tend to make their Oktoberfest beers really big and malty," Cutler says. "But real Oktoberfest beers should be made with hanging out and partying in mind."

Goose Island Oktoberfest, $4
Although this hometown favorite will be available in many bars, you might want to go straight to the source--the Goose Island Brew Pub on Clybourn Avenue. The beer is a traditional Viennese Marzen-style brew with German Karafoam malt and gentle Saaz Czech hops, which lend a crisp and rich autumnal flavor with hints of chocolate and smoke.

Koetzinger Oktoberfest, $5.50
Chicago Brauhaus has imported the German favorite,S Koetzinger Oktoberfest, a fresh and snappy brew delivered to your table by no-nonsense German waitresses in traditional garb. Management recommends the slightly salty veal shank to offset this brew's inherent sweetness. In fact, some customers have been known to pour a little salt directly into their stein.

Mark Andel is a metromix special contributor.