Marzen / Oktoberfest
German Marzen beer is a style that was originally brewed in Bavaria. The beer style was traditionally brewed in the spring, more specifically March, hence why it was named Marzen, which is the German translation of March. So that explains traditional Marzen beer, but what is Oktoberfest beer? Well, sometimes the Marzen style beer would be aged or lagered through the summer and served in the fall under the name Oktoberfest beer or Oktoberfest Marzen.
In a time before refrigeration was really around, the heat and bacteria made it virtually impossible to brew Marzen beer in the summer. The Marzen Oktoberfest beer would remain in cold storage through the spring and summer time, or it would be brewed at a higher gravity so that it would last longer.
Let's talk about the name Oktoberfest, I'm sure many are, but to anyone unfamiliar, it has to do with the Oktoberfest Germany beer festival. Since the Oktoberfest beer style gets aged through the summer and is ready in the fall, the Oktoberfest beer festival is the perfect place to celebrate it. The festival is an annual event to celebrate autumn, and the harvest and agriculture that come along with the season, overall making it the perfect time to tap into that years local Marzen Lager. If you ever wondered how much beer is sold at Oktoberfest you may be shocked to hear that it is on average around 7.5 million liters of beer and slightly increases year after year.
Almost always offered as a seasonal, the Marzen beer style and Oktoberfest beer express the autumn period that lies between the shift from crisp light and summery to hearty warming and wintery all with a dose of toasty spicy malt flavors. The ABV of Marzen beers and Oktoberfest ABV usually ranges from 5-6.5%, however some Oktoberfest beers may be brewed slightly stronger. Nevertheless, both favor cold weather and a festive atmosphere. The festival version seen today is much lighter than what most American brewers would consider a traditional Oktoberfest.
The Marzen recipe is rich in Pilsner, Vienna, and Munich malts that offer a toasty biscuit like aroma and flavor. The hop aroma and flavor are very low using slight German Noble hops for balance and a medium bitterness. As a whole the pale gold to medium amber brew is rich and toasty with a full body.
At the beer fest, you will most likely enjoy your beer out of an Oktoberfest beer stein, but an Oktoberfest and Marzen beer glass can also refer to a flute or mug like a Seidel. We believe the best Marzen/Oktoberfest beer is served by the half liter and consumed in a Bavarian-style beer garden.
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