Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival or Volksfest that takes place in Munich, the German state of Bavaria. This festival lasts anywhere from 16 to 18 days from mid-September to the first weekend in October and attracts people from all over the world. The festival has been held here since the early 19th century and began as a celebration of the marriage of Kronprinz Ludwig (who would later be King Ludwig I) to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810.
This event first took place in the fields at the city of Munich’s front gates and were given the name “Theresienwiese” (meaning Theresa’s Meadow) after the new Crown Princess. To this day, Oktoberfest still takes place in Theresienwiese and the surrounding areas, though locals have since shortened and abbreviated it to “Wiesn” or “Wies’n”.
Originally, the celebration was intended as a one-time event to celebrate the newlyweds and its ending was marked by a horse race of 30 horses along a 3,400 m /11,200 ft racetrack. The following year in 1811 the festival was held again, but the festivities were expanded to include an agricultural show to bolster Bavarian agriculture. This agricultural show is still a part of Oktoberfest today and takes place every 3 years.
Throughout the years since the first Oktoberfest many additions and changes have been made to the festival. Attractions like carousels, swings, and Ferris wheel were included; the expansion of beer stands to beer tents and halls to accommodate entrepreneurial breweries, live music, and dancing; the addition of a fun fair (much like state and county fair attractions); and the discontinuing of the annual horse race have all been milestones to the celebration that has spanned more than 200 years!
The Oktoberfest beer style (Oktoberfestbeir) is one that is still brewed and served today and traditionally called Märzen (March beer). This beer was brewed in the spring and stored in cool locations like caves and cellars to last through the summer months. When the time came to store the newly brewed beer from the seasons harvest, the leftover beer from the prior season needed to be exhausted to make room for more beer.
The beer that had sat since spring was a well-aged brew that ranged from a dark golden to deep amber color and ranged in alcohol content from about 5% to 6.2%. With the modern advancements in brewing, these traditional styles have been reinvented and the beers served at the Oktoberfest festival range to include many different styles.
Though there have been changes, there are still breweries today that hold on to the tradition of the Märzen-Oktoberfest flavors and brewing styles. One of these beers is Imported by a member or the Craig Stein Beverage portfolio Merchant du Vin and is simply named Oktober Fest – Märzen brewed by Ayinger Privatbrauerei in Aying, Germany, approximately 24 km (just over 19 mi) southeast of Theresienwiese.
Bavarians have been celebrating harvests with Volksfest (beer festivals) since the 14th century. Ayinger’s Oktober Fest – Märzen follows in this tradition by starting brewing in March to be ready for fall festivals of September and October.
Ayinger Oktober Fest – Märzen is a deep, satisfying, and hearty lager with a clean and pure malt flavor that is medium to full bodied with a deep and inviting pure malt flavor, bready nose and a wonderful ode to barley with a touch of warming alcohol to finish. This beer has a soft dryness that will leave you wanting more from its long maturation process. This beer isn’t around for long though.
Only available from September through November, should supplies last so long. Find this brew in 4-packs of 330 ml bottles (11.2 oz), 500 ml bottles (16.9 oz), and on draft in 30 L (8.1 gal) kegs at your favorite C-Store, bottle house, or Public House (pub and/or bar) or ask for it where you find your favorite brews at.
The Street “Ten Most Popular Oktoberfest Beers,”, October 3, 2017
Hopculture “Ten Best Oktoberfest Beers For Celebrating Without a Plane Ticket,”, September 27, 2017
Beer Connoisseur Magazine “Top Ten Oktoberfest Beers,”, Fall 2017
“Top-rated – Number One of 55 Oktoberfest/Märzen Beers Blind-Tasted & Ranked,” Paste Magazine, September 13, 2016
Chicago Tribune: “Oktoberfest Pick,” September 1, 2016
NBC TV, New York City: Oktoberfest (video) with NBC TV and John Holl, September 18, 2016
“World’s Top Oktoberfest,” Ratebeer.com February, 2015
Five out of Five Mugs – “We rated Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen the “best of the fests” a few years ago and we stand by that judgment. This 5.8% beer remains tops in its class. ” Modern Brewery Age, Septemer 30, 2014
“Best Märzen and Oktoberfest Beers,” SeriousEats.com, October, 2014
93 points, The Beer Connoisseur Magazine, Fall 2014
“Best Oktoberfest Beers,” Men’s Journal Magazine, September, 2014
“Best Fall Lager,” Paste Magazine, October 5, 2013
Fox News – “Top-Ten Oktoberfest Beer”, September, 2013
Gold Medal “Top-Rated Märzen/Oktoberfest” – World Beer Championships 2012
Five out of Five Mugs – “Best of the fests.” Modern Brewery Age, October, 2011