A fest that started in 1810 on the occasion of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese’s wedding, the Oktoberfest should definitely be on your bucket list. Lined up with tents, the fair offers a variety of alcohol and food, beer being the most loved for obvious reasons.
Here are 9 Märzens – lagers that originated in Bavaria – that you absolutely must guzzle for a true feel of the Oktoberfest.
“O’ zapft is!”
Samuel Adams Oktoberfest
The Boston microbrewery’s Märzen version is the most popular domestic Oktoberfest on the market. And we can’t wonder why not! The creamy lager blends five roasted malts and is highlighted by notes of toffee and toast. Bavarian Noble hops are added for a final touch of bitterness and authenticity.
Spaten Oktoberfestbier Ur-Märzen
Spaten has been a part of the official Munich festival for as long as it has existed. Recognized by its beautiful golden brown color, it is an aromatic delight; a complex malt profile coupled with lemongrass hops that are low in bitterness. The flavor profile flourishes with sweet caramel, toasted biscuit, and zesty citrus. As elaborate as it sounds, Spaten Oktoberfest has a crisp and refreshing finish, and is possibly one of the easiest Märzens to drink in succession.
Lighter in color than most Oktoberfest beers, Festbier is a full-bodied brew topped with a thick crop of white foam that leaves plenty of residual froth. Festbier is far more balanced, with a stronger hops presence than your average Oktoberfest, marrying the bitterness with underlying honey malts. The beer pairs great with traditional Bavarian food and, as such, is a fall beer garden staple.
Paulaner is one of the most popular beers in all of Deutschland, and the brand’s Oktoberfest-Märzen is a staple at Munich Oktoberfest. The clear, amber-colored lager is similar to Festbier in its transparency and frothiness, with a prominent flavor that can best be described as “bready.” The sweet, toasted malts are finished with zesty herbal hops and a nice amount of carbonation.
Tucked in the southeast region of Texas is a place called Shiner, home to the Spoetzl Brewery, which produces a fine line of German-themed beers. Included in the bunch is Shiner Oktoberfest, a deep amber Märzen brewed with fresh German malts and hops. Shiner has a pleasantly sweet taste with all the toasty notes you love about Oktoberfest, while it’s also light on bitterness.
Fun fact! Beck’s Oktoberfest is unique in that it is forbidden from being sold in Germany, simply because it is not brewed in Munich. Hurt you right in the gut, didn’t it? But Deutschland’s loss is the Eagle’s gain. Avery pleasnt dry lager, Beck’s Oktoberfest is a bright copper lager topped by a creamy off-white head. It’s got a sweet floral aroma and the taste has some serious spice to it, followed by a grainy flavored finish.
A darker amber color distinguishes the beer from its Bavarian-brewed counterparts, but there is no slacking in the makeup. Brooklyn Oktoberfest is brewed with authentic Munich malts and hops. It has the toasty aroma that’s been prevalent on this list, but is also highlighted by crisp carbonation that makes the beer a refreshing option at seasonal parties.
Great Lakes Oktoberfest
The Cleveland-based brew is a frothy, delicious amber lager that combines toasty malts and spicy hops as well as any of its predecessors did before. The beer’s delicate medium-full body has a dry finish, highlighted by fragrant noble hops. For novelty’s sake, Great Lakes incorporated raisins into the malting process – they combine with sweet caramel and toffee for one heck of a flavor profile.
Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier is probably the lightest on the Märzen color scale, but also one of the strongest—6.3% ABV due to its noticeably higher hop count. It’s still packed with all the rich malt components of its competitors, highlighted by nutty and fruity flavors. It’s another crisp, clean brew that pairs well German comfort food.