Drinkers everywhere will soon raise a stone in honor of Oktoberfest, the most famous beer festival in the world.
The German tradition began in 1810 as a wedding party for Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen and has taken place every year since except in times of war, cholera and especially the COVID-19 pandemic.
The typical Oktoberfest beer is a malt-forward, amber-colored lager called Märzen, which translates to March or the month it was historically brewed and then enjoyed in the fall. But if you visit Munich’s Oktoberfest, which was canceled this year due to COVID-19, you will not often find Märzen there. Instead, beer tents serve party bees, a lighter, golden-colored style introduced by Paulaner in the 1970s and deliberately designed to be “more bankable,” according to the brewery.
When it comes to Märzen, breweries tend to stick to tradition, so grab one while you can pair it with the beer drinking season.
Prost Brewing Co.’s March
Prost means “cheers” in German, and as this brewery in Denver suggests, it is heavily influenced by Germany’s brewing heritage. It includes in most cases compliance with the country’s purity law Reinheitsgebot, which dictates beer may only be made with barley, hops, water and yeast. Prost’s Märzen is a medium-sized amber stock with a tasty malt taste and a clean finish.
Now available in six packs of cans throughout Colorado.
Bierstadt Lagerhaus’ Oktoberfest
What better place to look for a lager than a brewery that specializes in making them? For its Märzen, Bierstadt used a German brewing method called decoction, in which breweries repeatedly take up part of the bog, heat it and then return it to the mash tuna to bring the herb up to temperature. The result is a rich, 5.6% ABV amber stock with enough hop bitterness to offset the malted sweetness and finish dry.
Available on tap and in cans for a launch party Sept. 18 at the brewery (2875 Blake St, Denver) as well as on casks and cans throughout the Denver region.
Irwin Brewing Co.’s Amber’s Warehouse
Amber’s Warehouse from Crested Butte’s Irwin Brewing Co. is as traditional a German-style Märzen beer as they come-with a gold medal from the Great American Beer Festival in 2020 to prove it. Expect notes of toast and caramelized sugar along with the stock’s characteristic crispness from this 5.5% alcohol brew. Fun fact: The brewery keeps this recipe year-round, so Oktoberfest is not limited to one season.
Now available on tap and in cans at the brewery’s taproom, Public House (202 Elk Ave., Crested Butte), as well as in cans in liquor stores throughout the Gunnison Valley.
Dry Dock Brewing Co.’s Docktoberfest
This wisely named beer, which boasts a biscuit-like aroma and rich malt flavor, will be one of several German styles on tap during the Dry Dock Brewing Co’s annual event of the same name. September 18, stop at the South Dock location (15120 E. Hampden Ave., Aurora) to enjoy a ceremonial barrel carving of the city’s mayor and tribesmen from Docktoberfest, Helles, Hefeweizen and Dunkel, among others.
Available Sept. 18 on draft at both Dry Dock locations in Aurora, as well as to take in pots.
Ska Brewing Co.’s Oktoberfest
Ska Brewing Co’s recipe, made exclusively with Munich and Vienna malt, won a gold medal in the Vienna Stock category at the Great American Beer Festival 2018. The wines are typically bitterer than the traditional Märzen and slightly lighter in body, although the malt is still the star, making the style for a suitable mating for the season.
Now available in six packs of 12 ounce cans throughout Colorado.
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