My favorite season of the year is here! No, not fall or back-to-school or even football. I'm talking about the season synonymous with the beer style tapped about this time in breweries, restaurants and pubs around the world -- Oktoberfest!

Oxford Dictionary describes Oktoberfest as "an autumn festival held in Munich, Germany, in late September and early October, featuring the drinking of beer." According to Time, "Oktoberfest began as a wedding celebration more than 200 years ago when Bavaria’s Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on Oct. 12, 1810. The wedding was celebrated with multiple days of drinking, feasting and horse races." Today, the celebration continues to be held annually, with single-day or weekend-long festivities and events typically held sometime in September or October. No Oktoberfest celebration is complete without the beer of the same name. Usually served in the fall, Oktoberfest was actually originally brewed in the spring ("Marzen" meaning "March") and aged, or lagered, through the summer. Similar to a Vienna Lager, Oktoberfest is typically rich in malt, with a balance of clean hop bitterness.

So, with Oktoberfest season upon us, here are some of the Oktoberfest celebrations happening around Central Minnesota:

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Spilled Grain Brewhouse in Annandale announced that their Oktoberfest was available on tap as early as late August! Get yourself to the taproom for a pint in one of their cool football-shaped glasses!

Pantown Brewing Company in St. Cloud tapped their Oktoberfest beer with little fanfare. Their beer is available on tap to enjoy now, though they do welcome dirndls and lederhosen!

Saturday, September 18

Get yourself to Lupulin Brewing Company in Big Lake for the release of their Oktoberfest beer. They'll have food available, brand-new Oktoberfest steins to go home with you and live music from the Elk River German Band (3-6pm) and The Departures (7-10pm).

Friday, September 24

St. Joe's Bad Habit Brewing Company will be kicking off their Oktoberfest celebration Friday, September 24 with German sausage, giant pretzels, games and live music from The Krautmeisters Music (2-5pm) and Mark Stillman Music (5-8pm).

Saturday, September 25

Join Beaver Island Brewing for their 7th Annual Oktoberfest complete with German food, live music by the Chmielewski Funtime Band, and beer.

Goat Ridge Brewing in New London will also be hosting their Oktoberfest September 25 with a full day of music, special food, games and beer. The Brass Barn Polka Band will be playing from 1-3:30 pm, and DJ’s DJ Backpack and Bindlestiff will be rockin' from 4-7 pm.

Rustech Brewing in Monticello will be celebrating a full day of Oktoberfest with the release of their Oktoberfest Lager, several food trucks on-site and live music from Emily Williams (noon-3:00pm), Anthony Perry (3:30-6:30pm) and The Hero and the Villain (7-10pm).

Saturday, October 2

Foxhole Brewhouse in Willmar will be hosting its annual Foxtoberfest Saturday, October 2 with catered German food from Heglund Catering (3-8pm), bean bags, hammerschlagen, and live music from Jon Theis (3pm) and Charlie Roth (7pm).

Saturday, October 9

Nordic Brewing Company in Monticello taps their Oktoberfest beer with a big celebration featuring music from Luke Bakken, Cole Allen Band and the Maddy Braun Band. Doors open at 6:00pm.

Find a full list of Oktoberfest and other events happening at breweries around Minnesota here.

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To find the best beer in each state and Washington D.C., Stacker analyzed January 2020 data from BeerAdvocate, a website that gathers user scores for beer in real-time. BeerAdvocate makes its determinations by compiling consumer ratings for all 50 states and Washington D.C. and applying a weighted rank to each. The weighted rank pulls the beer toward the list's average based on the number of ratings it has and aims to allow lesser-known beers to increase in rank. Only beers with at least 10 rankings to be considered; we took it a step further to only include beers with at least 100 user rankings in our gallery. Keep reading to find out what the best beer is in each of the 50 states and Washington D.C.

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