Oktoberfest Perfection
A Review of Oktober Fest-Märzen by Ayinger Brewery
Posted on 9/20/2011 by Brew's Your Daddy
I think it would be safe to say that I have made it pretty clear that Oktoberfest beers are my favorite seasonals in existence. And if I have left any doubt along the way, let me help you out by saying, again, that Oktoberfest beers are my favorite seasonals in existence. Now while there are numerous breweries that make their own versions of an Oktoberfest beer, not all Oktoberfest beers are indeed true Oktoberfest beers. In order to be authentic, an Oktoberfest beer must fall into the ''Märzen'' category.

As with a lot of beers, there is some interesting history behind how we ended up with this particular style. It is widely believed that the origin of the Märzen is in Bavaria, sometime before the 16th century. A Bavarian brewing ordinance decreed in 1539 stated that beer could only be brewed between September and April. The reason for this ordinance was the increased danger of fire during the brewing process in the warm and dry summer months. During the summer months, the beer had to be stored in a Lager (storage container) in caves or stone cellars. Often these locations were built into the sides of mountains or hills, and chosen because there was a pond nearby. In the winter, when the pond had frozen, blocks of ice would be cut from it and put into the cave or cellar. Think of it as taking all winter to cool the storage area, and in essence turn it into a large icebox. This process was usually possible through March. Then in March, the beer was brewed, and stored there during the ''unbrewable'' summer. This beer was often kept in the cellar until late in the summer, with supplies of it only being removed as needed. Then, at the end of summer, the remaining bottles were served at the Oktoberfest. This is where the term ''Oktoberfest beer'' actually comes from.

Now that we have that brief history lesson out of the way, let's take a look at what is perhaps one of the most amazing examples of this ''true to style'' beers known to exist. The Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen. In the glass, this beautiful beer takes on the look of a crisp, clear apple juice. If you view my helpful pic, pay more attention to the area just below the head, as well as just up from the base. Somehow the middle of my glass got all nice and condensation covered, which gives the beer a slightly hazy look. It isn't. Trust me. And speaking of the head, it sits on top of the beer all fluffy and white, and stays with you for almost the entire session with the beer.

As far as the aromas go, I find this beer difficult to explain. Don't get me wrong. I know what I smell, and this beer is as spot on as it gets. But is there a way for the aromas to be both light and bold at the same time? What I am trying to say is that they come across as light and distinct, but they run very deep. Yeah, that's it. I like that. Now the specific aromas that are running light but deep consist of caramel, toffee, toasted bread, and fresh biscuits. They are all doing a little dance in the glass, each doing their own thing, but all working together as to not get in the way of each other. If you go a little deeper, you can pick out a slight passion fruit layer in there. It is simply letting you know that there is just a bit of hops laying way down deep, below everything else.

When you go in for that first taste, you realize why I love this style of beer. All those aromas come through in the taste department just in just the same manner. The mouthfeel of the beer is light and crisp, while all the tastes are bold and delicious. The toffee and caramel are sweet and upfront in the flavor train. They give way to the toasted malts and bready flavors that are typical for the style. And then at the very end there is a bit of a fruity tinge and just the slightest hint of a hops tingle. There is a crisp, and almost dry finish to this beer, and only the faintest hint of sweetness left behind in the aftertaste.

I always try to be as objective as possible when I review a beer, due to the slightest possibility that someone might actually use one of my reviews to try whatever beer it is that I am reviewing. That is one of the reasons that you rarely see a perfect score from me on any beer. If there is even the slightest window for improvement, I like to leave that window open, but make it known. That being said, it really is hard to criticize beer perfection. And that is exactly what the Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen is. True...beer...perfection. All beer fans should seek out this beer while it is here and in season. There is absolutely nothing about it that isn't absolutely spot on. Those new to the better beer game can see what beer heaven is like, while the more experienced drinkers can...well...also see what beer heaven is like. My only word of caution is this: If you see, buy it. I am out there in the beer world with you, and I am buying everyone I spot. If I beat you to it, I will feel no remorse.

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Oktober Fest-Märzen by Ayinger Brewery
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