Derived from the Vienna style, Märzen and Oktoberfest beers can offer similar flavors and feel. Known as Märzenbier, German for “March beer,” this German lager was developed in the 1840s, before refrigeration. It was traditionally brewed in the spring and stored in cool cellars for consumption over the warmer summer months. Remaining supplies of Märzenbier were then consumed during Oktoberfest celebrations. The color ranges from clear, deep gold to orange-red, with a foamy, off-white head. Vienna and/or Munich malts contribute to the darker hue and characteristic toasty malt sweetness of Oktoberfest beers, and background Noble hop bitterness keeps them from being cloying. With malt character potentially rich and complex, the best Oktoberfest beer exhibits a clean, smooth lager character. While some are available year-round, most beers of this style are only available seasonally to ring in the fall months.
Characteristics: Malty, sweet, toasty, smooth, medium-bodied
ABV range: 5-6.5% IBU: 18-30
Popular Märzen/Oktoberfest-style beers: Spaten Oktoberfest Ur Märzen, Paulaner Oktoberfest, Hacker Pschorr Oktoberfest, Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier, Samuel Adams Octoberfest, Flying Dog DOGtoberfest Märzen, Heavy Seas Märzen
Serving Temperature: Cool, 46-54°
Cheese Pairing Ideas: Emmental, Gruyère, Jalapeño Jack
Food Pairing Ideas: Hearty dishes including sausages, pork, fried chicken and Mexican entrees