It’s hard to believe but Oktoberfest is right around the corner. As a matter of fact, if you don’t have your tickets to the Kingsport Oktoberfest, we highly recommend you check it out. These last few years it seems as though sometime around August 1st we start seeing Märzen style lagers hit the shelves (and the pumpkin beers) and while I do enjoy this style, I tend to put off picking any up as it’s an admittance that summer is over. Then again, it’s pretty tasty stuff.
For those that may not know where the Märzen style comes from I’d like to quote a great beer philosopher – ME! Oktoberfest beer is typically a Märzen style lager – this translates into “March” beer which has its roots in Bavaria and reflects when they’d brew it – March! Why March? Way back when (think 16th century) beer could only be brewed between September 29th and April 23rd. Why? Because fire was a big deal and during these colder months, the chances were a lot lower of causing an issue – i.e. burning the town down. Now, Märzen style beer is a lager, which we all know has to be brewed and stored at a lower temperature than ales. Also keep in mind that way back in the 16th century they couldn’t just throw the beer into the controlled freezer or fridge – they had to use nature to their advantage. So caves were used to store and brew beer and as things started to get warmer they’d take ice out of frozen waterways and toss ‘em into the cave – the modern day equivalent of running down to Weigels! Now, a lot of these brews had a bit higher gravity so they’d keep over the warm summer months and everyone would pop ‘em open in mid-to-late September at Oktoberfest – just before the brewing started again. Sounds like a clearing of the cellar party to me! There, now you learned something, on with the review!
A few years ago I wrote a lot about Märzen beer – and ranked ’em too. I don’t believe Shiner Oktoberfest was in our market at the time – or at least I didn’t see it. While I hadn’t intended to get back into that this season, this beer may force me to go back to my top few contenders and re-evaluate the title. First of all, this beer from Shiner pours with a great amber color with a text book head. On the nose I immediately get a sweet scent of caramel with a few distant notes of fruit. On the tongue – wow, this is a smooth beer. It isn’t too sweet at all and at 5.7% ABV, it’s very drinkable. While I rarely have two of the same beer back to back, as you can see I have both the can and the bottle variety here and I’m seriously considering cracking the bottle as my glass is almost empty.
Final snobs: If you like Märzens, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with this beer from Shiner. While I’ll be the first to admit I may have doe eyes with this being my first Märzen of the season, I’m cracking the second bottle right now….