Oktoberfest is a long-standing German tradition and, more locally, a popular American spin on a fall beer. Sierra Nevada, recently outposted in the North Carolina mountains with its new Mills River brewery, is putting a traditional emphasis on German heritage this year by collaborating with German brewers.

Each Oktoberfest offering from Sierra moving forward will feature a unique German partner and the first will be Augsburg’s Brauhaus Riegele, a brewery that’s been in the game since 1386. 

Yes, thirteen eighty-six — Brauhaus Riegele is a 600-year old, family-owned German brewery that recently won 2015 Craft Brewer of the Year at the Meininger International Craft Beer Awards.

“We’re honored that Brauhaus Riegele, a real cornerstone of German craft brewing, is kicking off this Oktoberfest collaboration with us,” Sierra founder Ken Grossman said. “We’re both family owned, our children are hands on, and we share a passion for great beer. 

“We’re aligned in so many ways, and we’re excited about the outstanding beer that’s emerged.”

Master Brewer Dr. Sebastian Priller-Riegele — Brauhaus’ 27th-generation (!) brewer — and his son Sebastian Priller-Riegele have consistently dominated the German-brewing scene with high-quality beer. 

“For years we’ve followed the great development of Sierra Nevada and we are really impressed by Ken and Brian’s fantastic beer culture,” Priller-Riegele said. “We are really looking forward to sharing this outstanding beer together that shows our passion and dedication to the art of brewing. It’s an honor to work with Sierra Nevada.”

We’re interested to hear the details of how the collaboration goes down. Will there be beer brewed and shipped from Germany to America and refined/bottled here? Or will the Germans set up shop in America (perhaps Mills River) to help the brewing process? Either way, the goal for creating “a Bavarian festival beer unlike any” experienced in America is certainly closer to attaining trough the collaboration.

Look for Sierra’s Oktoberfest on North American shelves in August and for a separate German barrel-aged collaboration to hit shelves there sometime soon as well.