As we eagerly await our favorite party of the year, we’re also anticipating one of our favorite beers. Our Oktoberfest lager is an homage to the Märzen style served in Bavaria and throughout Germany for their Oktoberfest celebrations.
So what exactly is Märzen style? Back in the day – like, way back, in 1553 – there was a Bavarian ordinance that said beer could only be brewed between the end of September through most of April. Since there was no mechanical refrigeration, brewers took advantage of the cold climate to brew the beer underground in cellars or in cool caves. The process of lagering is to let the beer mature in cold storage for a long period of time. In fact, “lager” means “warehouse” in German. “Märzen” is the German word for “March,” one of the last cool months to brew beer to enjoy in the Fall.
Eventually this style became what is traditionally served at Oktoberfest – which take place in September! (Another fun fact: the last day of the Bavarian festival is always on the first Sunday of October.)
According to our head brewer Tom Abercrombie, this year Oktoberfest Lager was brewed in July (since we do have the ability to control the temperature) and lagered over six or seven weeks. The beer changes quite a bit during that time, giving off a lot of sulphur-y compounds at first and then dissipating, which is true of most lagers. The result is a malty, smooth and complex beer with a beautiful amber color.
What makes Oktoberfest lager so special? Here’s what Tom had to say:
“To me it’s the time and effort that goes into making it that traditional way. That’s important to us as brewers. I think it’s fun in the ever-changing beer market with so many trends, to slow it down for a minute and create something that’s true to tradition.”
This lager was so popular last year that our brewpubs sold out of it! This year, we’re excited to offer our Oktoberfest lager in a can for the very first time. After September 21, you can grab a 4-pack at any of our brewpubs or the Tasting Room. For a sneak preview before Oktoberfest on September 21, come try it fresh off the canning line at Fresh Fill Friday on September 20!