In honour of Oktoberfest, have a Märzen or Festbier
By Malin Norman
Summer is slowly coming to an end, which means that Oktoberfest is just around the corner. The 187th edition of the world’s largest folk festival takes place in Munich from 17 September to 3 October. Originally a celebration of the wedding between Crown Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen in 1810, Oktoberfest now attracts millions of visitors every year who come to enjoy the fair, the parade and, of course, the giant beer tents.
Did you know that the festival beer, Oktoberfestbier, can only be served by breweries located within the city of Munich? This means that only six breweries can sell their beer at Oktoberfest; Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner and Spaten. Many breweries around the world make Oktoberfest-style beer though, so you will not miss out!
To meet consumer preferences, the typical beer served at Oktoberfest has changed over the years. Märzen, an amber-coloured, rich malty lager, was the standard festival beer style until 1990. Traditionally brewed in spring (‘Märzen’ means ‘March’), the beer was lagered in cold caves during the summer months to be consumed in autumn.
Since 1990, the majority of the beer served at Oktoberfest is of the more modern style called Festbier, a golden version of Märzen with a lighter, toasted character and less intensity overall. It’s a smoother, more drinkable beer to be enjoyed by the litre in the packed beer tents.
In honour of Oktoberfest, lots of festivals take place around the world – like Scandinavia’s biggest Oktoberfest event in Oslo, Norway. Why not join in the celebrations with a delicious Märzen or Festbier?
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