With Oktoberfest in full swing and celebrations underway, why not create your very own Oktoberfest with traditional German beers? However, before you move forward with any party plans, one term you need to know about is “Märzen,” so sit back, grab a beer, relax and keep reading to learn more.
“Märzen,”or “Märzenbier” refers to a lager that originated in Bavaria. It has a medium to full body and may vary in color from pale through amber to dark brown. Six traditional German beers that fall into the “Märzen” category include: Augustinerbräu Oktoberfest Bier, Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Märzen, Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier , Lowenbräu Oktoberfestbier, Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier and Spaten Oktoberfest Ur-Märzen.
As a result, these six beers are must have items to create your very own authentic Oktoberfest.
From the end of September to the middle of October, in Munich, Germany, thousands of people celebrate Oktoberfest and its history on a yearly basis. The party, which originated 200 years ago, resulted from the October 12, 1810, wedding of prince Luis de Baviera – later King Luis I of Bavaria – and Teresa of Saxony and Hildburghausen. The great celebration was held outside the royal palace, to which all citizens of Munich were invited. Although the event has changed significantly over the years, its origins remain the same.
The Märzen Style
Nowadays, Oktoberfest is synonymous with gastronomy, music, tradition and, above all, beer, especially the authentic Märzen-style beer from Munich, Germany. However, back in the day, this beer was once produced to be preserved during the summer months without worrying about fermentation, which is typically slow or low. This process also helped to avoid heat damage during a period of time in which refrigeration was not an option.
Another component to “Märzen,” that must be adhered to are several rules that derive from “Reinheitsgebot,” an edict of purity that originated in 1516 in Bavaria. This law, although more than 500 years old, still rings true today in Munich by prohibiting local beers to be manufactured with anything else other than water, barley and hops. The law also dictates that beer consumed and appreciated in Munich must have regulated prices to avoid competition between bakers and brewers of wheat and rye. Both laws have been preserved to this day.
The Six Chosen Ones
Any Oktoberfest beer that is had during a party and consumed both directly from the barrel, served in large jars, or is bottled – must have the Oktoberfest name on its label to be authentic. Oktoberfest is the registered trademark of beer brewed exclusively with the Märzen method in Munich. Augustinerbräu, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Lowenbräu, Paulaner and Spaten are the only six breweries in the city that have this centennial permit, which guarantees a specific alcohol content of up to 6%, along with a unique body and strength of taste, and dark color.
The six beers consumed during Oktoberfest can be purchased internationally in gourmet shops that specialize in beer. Personally, as a fervent admirer of German beer, I definitely recommend these beers. These beers are different and unique due to there fine malt aroma, which boasts a sweet smell, reminiscent of cookies, and for the consistency of its foam and color, which varies between gold and amber. The taste is always round and malty, with a mellow bitterness of hops, while the body is medium and moderately carbonated.
To really appreciate the traditional taste, the beers must be consumed between 7 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Of the six, I especially like the Spaten Oktoberfest Ur-Märzen for its medium body and impeccable taste of toasted malt. I also am fond of the Oktoberfest Bier de Paulaner for its for its sweetness and soft bitterness derived from its malt.
Now that you know about the different types of traditional beers consumed during Oktoberfest, you can create your very own party at home without the hassle of flying to Munich, Germany. Cheers! ■