Those of you who are married probably think you had a pretty nifty wedding day. Now imagine you had a wedding reception that was still famous over 2 centuries later… that’s Oktoberfest!
It all started in 1810 when Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria married Princess Theresa of Saxony. Their wedding reception set such a gold standard that people of German descent – and others! – have been celebrating it pretty much ever since.
Oktoberfest/Märzen beers are a specific sub-group of the “lager” category. They are brewed in March – lending their alternate name of Märzen – to a higher ABV (5% to 6%) and they must comply with the infamous Reinheitsgebot, or Bavarian Beer Purity Law, of 1516. These beers started out as dark coloured, but have slowly become lighter and lighter in colour as time has gone by due to drinkers preferring the beautiful caramel-golden colour now typical of an Oktoberfest beer. Part of the mandate of the Reinheitsgebot was that no brewing could take place in the summer months – roughly April through September – hence these beers being brewed to higher strength to survive the long, cold storage. This extended lagering period from allows for a crystal-clear beer without filtering, and grants it a very clean finish.
With the ongoing explosive growth of craft breweries, there are now many more options of Oktoberfest beers available, Technically, if it’s brewed outside Munich it should be called an Oktoberfest-style beer – so here’s a nice long list of Oktoberfest-style beers courtesy of Beeradvocate.
With so many Alabama stores now allowing you to make your own 6 pack you can easily try several different beers in styles that are new to you, without worrying about breaking the bank. It’s also a lot of fun sitting down with a friend or loved one to share the sample pack and compare notes – you may be pleasantly surprised by the results!