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The 5 Best Märzenbiers

marzen beers
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The Germans love their beer. Perhaps the only thing they love more than that magical elixir is coming up with rules for their beer. The most famous German beer ordinance is of course the  Reinheitsgebot, or German Beer Purity Law. The Reinheitsgebot maintains that the only ingredients in beer production can be water, hops, barley and more recently, yeast. But there are plenty of other special classifications put in place by German beer authorities, such as a true Berliner Weisses can only be brewed in Berlin or that specific subtleties can only be attributed to the Munich Helles lager.

The Märzenbier, or Marzen for short, has its own place in this class system as it’s a beer that is brewed during March (or März in German) to be enjoyed in the fall for the German Oktoberfest season. Since current brewing methods allow the style to be brewed in any month, the Beer Judge Certification Program puts the Märzenbiers and Oktoberfest beer styles into the same category.  Märzenbiers range from an amber to deep brown color, have a full mouthfeel and are highlighted by malt-forward sweetness.

As we make our way into the fall season, look for these five marzens from American breweries to help you celebrate autumn with good flavor.

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Service Brewing Co. Teufel Hunden

This Savannah, GA based brewery covers all the bases by classifying this beer as an “Oktoberfest-style Marzen.” Teufel Hunden pours a touch cloudy with a deep copper color. The flavor profile is sweet and nutty with a slight warm toast note. The finish is subtle and dry.

Surly Brewing Co. Surlyfest

Billed as “Not a German Style Oktoberfest Bier” by the brewery, three types of rye malts are included to make a spicy variation on the traditional theme. Taking it further, Surly dry-hops the beer with Sterling Hops for an unexpected floral aroma.

Holy City Brewing Smoked Märzen

To make its mark in the Märzen world, this Charleston, South Carolina, brewery uses smoked malts to enhance this 5.7% fall weather pick me up. Vanguard hops complement the smoky flavors by adding a woody aroma.

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Great Lakes Oktoberfest

A four time World Beer Championships winner, Great Lakes’ Oktoberfest is a mostly traditional take on the style with a slightly sweet, honey and biscuit-like malt backbone, accented by spicy hop bitterness.

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Cigar City Oktoberfest

Described by Cigar City as a “German-style Festbier,” this is a traditional Märzen option from a typically untraditional brewery. If you are looking for a Märzen in a can, this is your best bet.

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Lee Heidel
Lee Heidel is the managing editor of Brew/Drink/Run, a website and podcast that promotes brewing your own beer, consuming the…
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