Bavarian Origins to American Interpretations
Oktoberfest beers are seasonal beers with deep roots to the Märzen style. Märzen originated in Bavaria prior to the 16th century, where it was mandated in 1539 that it may be brewed only between September 29th and April 23rd. Over the Summer season, the beer would be stored in a Lager such as caves and stone cellars. Ice from nearby frozen ponds would help keep the bottom-fermenting lager yeast active, aging the brew to its proper, dark brown, full bodied disposition. Upon the arrival of Autumn, Märzen beers would be enjoyed with the fall harvest and the remaining beer would be enjoyed during one of Germany’s most important celebrations: Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest was first celebrated in 1810 in Munich, Bavaria, Germany in celebration of the marriage of the Crown Prince of Bavaria. The fairgrounds that house the event is called the Theresienwiese after the royal bride. For sixteen to eighteen days out of the year, the festival runs from late September through the first weekend of October and sees approximately five million visitors each year drinking almost seven million liters of Oktoberfest beers throughout the festivity.
Oktoberfest beers are trademarked and only beer brewed within the city limits of Munich are served at Oktoberfest. This makes a tight list which include the “big six” Munich breweries: Augustiner Bräu, Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu GmbH, Löwenbräu, Staatliches Hofbräuhaus, Hacker-Pschorr, and Paulaner brewery. All of which welcome global visitors to their giant Oktoberfest festival tents.
The celebration of Oktoberfest during the fall months extends throughout the world, and even though the official festival limits Oktoberfest brews to Munich beers, breweries around the globe celebrate the style with their own interpretations.
Märzen beers are characterized by their clean dry finish and malty flavor, medium to full body with colors that range from pale to amber and even dark brown at times. Alcohol percentage is usually in the 5 to 5.8% range, considered a strong alternative for its time.This section of the site celebrates Oktoberfest brews from the original Munich breweries to global representations of the style, including American interpretations that remain honest to the classic style to simply outrageously unique!
And if you happen to enjoy a particular Oktoberfest stule, please scroll down and share with us your favorite seasonal brew by filling out the form below.
American Oktoberfest Styles
Seasonal Autumn Beers