The Märzen style, or Oktoberfest, has its origins in Bavaria, most likely before the 16th century. For public safety and brewing quality concerns, the Bavarian Brauordnung was decreed in 1539, stating that beer could only be brewed from September 29th (Saint Michael) to April 23rd (Saint George). Over the summer months, beers were stored, or lagered, in caves and stone cellars. The evolution of Oktoberfest came from the last brews of the year, in March (or Märzen), as these beers would be ready to drink for a grand and traditional annual Bavarian celebration, “Oktoberfest.” This celebration marked the wedding anniversary of Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on 12th October 1810. All the citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate this happy royal event, hence known as “Oktoberfest.”
Today we continue to toast Oktoberfest in our hour long class. We will taste four beers in total, two German imports plus two German inspired American interpretations of this classic style.