By Leslie Kelly
September 15, 2016

Oktoberfest kicks off Sept. 16, a two-week celebration of German beer and flavors that scream fall. Sauerkraut smothered bratwurst, huge slabs of crispy fried schnitzel, and Schweinshaxe (braised pork shanks) are outstanding Oktoberfest fare, but what if you're in the mood for something slightly smaller? After all, a savory bite or two leaves more room for Pils, Kölsch, Weissbier, or a stein full of Dunkel, JA? Here are a few amazing snacks that make German beer taste even better -- without filling you up too fast.

Photo via Facebook

There's a little bit of heat from the chopped pepper, but don't be alarmed. This is like a jalapeno popper for those who don't like it too hot. Instead, the chewy pretzel ball gives way to a cheesy center that make this one the life of the party.

Sipping suggestion: A lighter beer like a Pilsner balances out the richness of this dish while bringing out the very best in the bits of bacon.

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Photo by Christina

A carnivore's dream, these nuggets of porky goodness get a crispy finish in the oven. They love to be dunked in spicy brown mustard, but can absolutely fly solo.

Sipping suggestion: The strong flavors of these bites can stand up to a Dunkel, which is sometimes referred to as black lager.

edited 2605807 bacon wrapped bratwurst photo by Tina Lynne Wolf
Photo by Tina Lynne Wolf

Think not-so-Sloppy Joe, this flavor bomb is an easy-to-make cousin of the Bierock, a meaty German turnover featuring sauerkraut. Serve the meaty mixture on a steamed slider bun for two very satisfying bites. Even better, make a batch of Pretzel Rolls for a double shot of Euro yum.

Sipping suggestion: The malty wheat quality of a Weissbier is just the bright counterpoint to the beefy burger.

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Photo by SunnyDaysNora

When it comes to pork-stuffed dough, everybody goes nuts for pot stickers, but this Old Country classic also deserves a spot in the Dumpling Hall of Fame. These krullers filled with sauerkraut, bacon bits, and chopped apples are rolled up, pinwheel style. That means you can make each serving as small or large as you'd like. No matter what size, they're so juicy, you'll probably need a knife and fork to tackle each flavorful dumpling -- and an extra large napkin.

Sipping suggestion: Just say ahhh to the brilliant flavors of Kölsch. The signature brew from Cologne, Germany, makes every bite shine.

edited krautkrapfen photo via facebook
Photo via Facebook

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