Good afternoon! Fall is upon us … sort of. I keep hoping for more fall-like temperatures and I’ve found it in the morning and sometimes at night, but I wish the daytime would bring it too! I’m tired of 85-90 degrees.
It’s officially football season now. College football in two weeks in and the NFL began. Oktoberfest beers are flowing from taps across the United States and can be found in beer stores everywhere. This is one of my favorite styles of bier (beer). They have a lot of flavor yet they are still easy to drink. Having so many new and delicious biers to drink at the beginning of a beer season certainly is a lesson in temperance.
For those who don’t know, here is some background on Oktoberfest and Oktoberfest-style biers:
Oktoberfest is a German festival dating from 1810, and Märzen are the beers that have been served at the event in Munich since 1818, and are supplied by 6 breweries known as the Big Six: Spaten, Löwenbräu, Augustiner-Bräu, Hofbräu-München, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr. Traditionally Oktoberfestbiers were lagers of around 5.5 to 6% abv called Märzen – brewed in March and allowed to ferment slowly during the summer months. Originally these would have been dark lagers, but from 1872 a strong March brewed version of an amber-red Vienna lager made by Josef Sedlmayr became the favourite Oktoberfestbier. Since the 1970s the type of beer served at the festival has been a pale Märzen of 13.5 to 14º Plato and 5.5% to 6% abv. Though some Munich brewers still brew darker versions, mostly for export to the USA. The color of these lagers may range from pale yellow to deep amber, with the darker colors more common in the USA. Hop levels tend not to be distinctive, though some USA examples may be firmly hopped. Modern beers sold as Oktoberfest and Märzen in Europe are mostly pale in color.
Before refrigeration, it was nearly impossible to brew beer in the summer due to the hot weather and bacterial infections. Brewing ended with the coming of spring, and began again in the fall. Most were brewed in March (Märzen). These brews were kept in cold storage over the spring and summer months, or brewed at a higher gravity, so they’d keep. Märzenbier is full-bodied, rich, toasty, typically dark copper in color with a medium to high alcohol content.
The common Munich Oktoberfest beer served at Wies’n (the location at which Munich celebrates its Oktoberfest) contains roughly 5.0-6.0% alcohol by volume, is dark/copper in color, has a mild hop profile and is typically labeled as a Bavarian Märzenbier in style.
Here the ones I’ve had either this year or year’s past:
Left Hand Oktoberfest
Magic Hat Hex
New Belgium Hoptober
Red Brick Octoberfest
Samuel Adams Oct
Warst Octoberfest Boot
Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
What is your favorite Oktoberfest Bier? Let me know so I can try it!