9/29/21: Paulaner's Oktoberfest Märzen

4:41 PM

Prost! We come now, at last, to the end of our Oktoberfest 2021 journey here on the blog. It's been a wild month, with a ton of great beer (although, admittedly, some were better than others. You'll have that). It's finally time wrap it up and get ready for the beers October has in store (namely, pumpkin beers, a lot of pumpkin beers).

To see the season off in style, I've tracked down another official Munich-approved Oktoberfest lager. Last year, I tackled Paulaner's Oktoberfest Bier, a traditional staple of the festival. Today, I'm breaking into the brewery's Oktoberfest Märzen. 

This is the part where I tell you a little about the brewery, complete with fresh research into who they are. Paulaner is, much like its beer during Oktoberfest, a staple. The brewery can trace its history back to 1634, although Paulaner beer's been around since before then--1634 simply marks the year when it was first mentioned in written form. They've been serving beer at Oktoberfest since 1818, when beer first began to grace the festival. Over the years, Paulaner's been a driving force in the beer world and you can grab a pint of their beer in seventy countries around the world. Here's their "The History of the Brewery" page for more info (and there's a ton more info).

With that out of the way, let's get to this year's only official Oktoberfest. While it's no longer served at the festival proper, Paulaner's Oktoberfest Märzen (which is available year-round in the US--news to me!) follows the traditional style originally created to celebrate Oktoberfest over two centuries ago: The Märzen. Märzens were originally brewed in March and lagered over the hot summer months. Amber in color, today's lager (according to my bottle) boasts an ABV of 5.8%.

Let's pump the breaks here so I can address the elephant that you might have noticed in the picture above: I'm drinking Märzen out of a mug. This is an official Oktoberfest (or, was) and I wanted to give it room to breathe in a mug. It just so happened that I found this kickass hand-thrown mug at a Goodwill back in June or July for like $2. The mug's older than I am, by the way. Oktoberfest 1989.

Märzen has quite the bouquet on it. I find straw, biscuit, caramel, honey, and a touch of apple. It's intoxicating. Purrl gave the bottle (before I poured the lager into my mug) nine whiffs, meaning she could take it or leave it. All the more for me, I guess.

That straw I noted in the nose comes out swinging in the beer's flavor profile. It's followed by honey and caramel, which linger into the finish until there's a sudden, hoppy bite. Märzen tastes phenomenally. It's subtle. It's expertly crafted. It's all thriller without any hint of thriller. 

The mouthfeel here is rich, full, and smooth. A quaff of the lager feels like a quaff of a lager. Each swig is its own reward.

I've talked before about the time I told my German buddy what American Oktoberfests are like, right? If I'm misremembering (or if you haven't heard), I told him about the crummy macro lagers featured predominantly at our meager celebrations. This was all text-based communication, but I can only imagine that he, at least, scoffed before telling me that what I was drinking wasn't Oktoberfest beer and that I'd have to make it out his way to give the real stuff a go. Well, I'm drinking the real stuff tonight. I still want to go to the actually Oktoberfest and give the rest of the bier a try.

Look, I've had a lot of Oktoberfest and Oktoberfest-style beers in my time. Just do a quick search of the blog to see all of the one's I've featured here. I'm prefacing what I'm about to say with that so you have a good idea of the gravity contained within the following statement: Paulaner's Oktoberfest Märzen is the best Oktoberfest (or Oktoberfest-style) beer I've had. Full, filling, and a perfect balance of sweet malt and bitter hops. If I could only drink one Oktoberfest for the rest of my life, it'd be this. 10/10. I'd rate it higher if my scale allowed. This gets my heartiest recommendation. Now, if you don't mind me, I have a mug of it that I'm sure to finish in an unbelievably short time. Again, prost!

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