It’s almost that time of year again; time for Oktoberfest – a true beer drinkers holiday. Oktoberfest celebrations will be held all over the world in the month of October, but the official dates for this year’s celebration from the home of the holiday in Munich, Germany are September 22nd to October 7th.
A special beer is brewed and served at the event called a Märzen or Maerzen. Märzens are lagers that are usually a bit darker and stronger than the more typical styles of lager beer served in Munich, and made to be drunk in large quantities. In 2006, 6.1 million liter mugs of beer were sold at the festival. The beer usually ranges from light to dark amber in color with sweet malts as the dominant characteristic of the style.
Two of my favorite Oktoberfest import brews are from two Munich brewers, Spaten and Paulaner. They are readily available at many supermarkets and beer stores in my area and start appearing in the shelves in early September. Both are a medium amber, very sweet and malty with very little hops. I am not positive that these are the exact beers served at Oktoberfest, but both taste great to me and are very drinkable.
A domestic Oktoberfest brew I enjoy is Saranac’s Octoberfest lager. When poured into glass Saranac’s version of a Märzen has a medium amber color a and light tight head. The nose is malty upfront with a peppery undertone of German Saaz and Tettnag hops. The taste is full of sweet roasted malt that tastes like caramel with a hint of vanilla that is cut off by the spicy bitterness of German hops that pleasantly linger on the pallet. Overall this beer is much more hoppy than German import Oktoberfest Märzen, but equally drinkable.
So grab your favorite Märzen, invite some friends, and have your own little Oktoberfest.
[techtags: OCTOBERFEST, OKTOBERFEST, BEER, BEER REVIEW]