Essential Info

  • Color: Bronze to copper
  • ABV: 5%-6.5%
  • Commercial Examples: Paulaner Oktoberfest-Märzen, Spaten Oktoberfestbier Ur-Märzen, Paulaner Oktoberfest-Märzen Brooklyn Brewery Octoberfest

Literally, this one translates to “Oktoberfest/March” beer, and it’s something you’re very likely to encounter anywhere there’s a man in Lederhosen at a fall festival. But Märzenbiers, aka Oktoberfests, are more than a fun bit of German cultural history—they actually go back to a pretty cool innovation in brewing. Back in the mid-19th century, before refrigeration was widely used, brewing in Germany ended in the spring—warm months meant spoilage, i.e. no new beers, and good luck holding onto the ones you’d brewed. But some enterprising Munich brewers figured out they could store the last beers brewed in March (Märzenbier) in cold caves, and they’d usually last until around October—when the last of them were ceremoniously gulped down. And they’re easy to gulp—malty and robust, with a bit of toast and residual sweetness that gives way to a refreshingly dry finish.