The annual celebration of German beers is upon us once again, and while New Jersey isn’t quite Bavaria, we still have plenty of traditional and experimental Marzens to keep the celebration lively. Whether you’re searching for a historic Oktoberfest brew straight from Germany or an innovative example from the Midwest, there are plenty of tasty items on shelves now.
Ayinger Oktoberfest Marzen – A favorite among the craft beer community, Ayinger has been producing high quality German ales since the late 1800s. Expect a bold malt flavor with leafy hop tones and high drinkability, available in 500mL bottles.
Spaten Oktoberfest Ur-Marzen – One of the most popular and widely available seasonals from one of Germany’s largest breweries. Drinkable, smooth, and crisp with plenty of toasted malt flavor, look for this in 500mL single bottles, six packs, and twelve packs.
Great Lakes Oktoberfest – An amber lager from one of Ohio’s best breweries, this award winning seasonal has been attracting attention since its arrival in New Jersey this September. By taking the traditional style and adding a nice dash of noble hops, Great Lakes added a nice personal touch to the Marzen.
Victory Festbier – Downingtown, Pennsylvania’s Victory Brewing Company wasn’t about to be left out of the party, as their seasonal lager utilizes German malts and whole flower hops for a beer which is absolutely true to style. A bit sweet and nutty with a dash of hoppiness, Festbier is a medium bodied brew ideal for the season.
Great Divide Hoss – Inspired by the traditional Oktoberfest brew, Colorado’s Great Divide added in a splash of rye to give their seasonal a spicy, unique character. Roasted malts with dark fruit create a dangerously delicious flavor in this 6.2% alcohol lager.
Avery The Kaiser – This fascinating piece of Avery’s Imperial series takes Marzens to a new peak, as they ratcheted up the malt character and bold flavor along with a burly 9.3% alcohol. Available once each year during the Fall, The Kaiser rests upon a silky, beefy malt backbone with a punch of floral hops alongside a kiss of warmth.
Each of these beers varies in availability and pricing, but each should be relatively easy to track down throughout the Jersey shore area. Pick up some bratwurst, fire up the grill, and hoist a glass in celebration of one of Germany’s oldest drinking traditions. Prost!