Paste Magazine: 55 Oktoberfest/Märzen Beers, Blind-Tasted and Ranked

“Since 1950, the traditional celebration of Munich’s Oktoberfest has been kicked off with a cry from the incumbent mayor of the city: “O’zapft is!” Loose translation, from the Austro-Bavarian dialect: “It’s tapped!”

He’s speaking, of course, about beer—traditional German festbier in particular. Märzen or Märzenbier, often simply referred to as “Oktoberfest lager” in the U.S.A., is the traditional beer of the event, and has been a German, Austrian and Bavarian staple since the 16th century. And like other German beer styles, it made the journey to America with German immigrants, who eventually brought along the clean-fermenting German lager yeast used in its construction. In the American craft brewing industry they’ve long been a staple seasonal beer style of the early fall—the kind of style that few breweries produce year-round, but many produce from August-October…

13. Great Divide Brewing Co. Hoss Oktoberfest Lager
City: Denver, CO
ABV: 6.2%
The verdict: This beer was once just referred to as a “rye lager” as a part of Great Divide’s year-round lineup, but now it’s being recognized for the style it really was the whole time as a seasonal: A märzen. Regardless it’s still some excellent stuff. The rye is unsurprisingly easier to perceive when the tasting isn’t completely blind, but it comes across as a sort of unusual earthiness more than with the predicted peppery spice of dark rye bread. More than that, we get a light, well-balanced caramel maltiness here, mildly sweet but still quite drinkable. Grainy flavors are present on the back end, in an oktoberfest that makes a pretty ideal example of the American approximation of the style. With a drying finish, it’s the kind of pint that’s liable to disappear much faster than you realize or intend. Not flashy, just solidly constructed… ” Read the entire article and see the full list here.

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