Today’s article on The Pizza Press Beer Blog is about the Oktoberfest style of beer (also known as Märzen, Marzen, Maerzen, Marzenbier, Festbier, or Oktoberfestbier… whew) and its food pairings!
Oktoberfest | Maerzen Beer History
Before refrigeration, it was nearly impossible to brew beer in the summer due to bacterial infections that would occur from brewing in hot weather. As a workaround, Maerzen beers were brewed in March, cold-stored in caves for 10-12 weeks, and ready to drink by the late summer and early fall. The original Maerzen was described as “dark brown, full-bodied, and bitter”. Today, Oktoberfest biers tend to be lighter in color and body than the traditional Maerzen style.
Oktoberfest | Maerzen Flavor
How does a Maerzen taste? It’s a flavorful Bavarian Lager with a distinct German malt aroma and flavor. It generally has moderate hop bitterness and flavor, a medium to full body, and a rich, toasty finish. Maerzens vary from dark brown through amber, to pale in color. The common Munich Oktoberfest beer served at Wies’n (the location at which Munich celebrates its Oktoberfest) contains roughly 5-6% ABV (alcohol by volume).
Oktoberfest | Food Pairings
The first of our recommended pairings is the humble soft pretzel with mustard. A Maerzen’s bready malt flavors are the perfect complement for the pretzel. Since sweet malt is a great foil for spice, make sure to dip those pretzels into hot mustard between sips!
Our second Oktoberfest food pairing is sausage with sauerkraut and onion. The caramelized flavor of the malts matches perfectly with the sausage’s savory browned edges and crispy skin. Plus, the sweetness of the Maerzen is wonderful for taming acidity from the sauerkraut and onion!
If you don’t like German food, there are still delicious pairings out there for you. Oktoberfest beers are perfect with any tomato-sauce topped pizza at The Pizza Press! The yeasty crust of the pizza latches onto the malty core of the Maerzen, and the beer’s slight sweetness cuts the acidity of the sauce. The light hops and crisp carbonation keep the meal from being cloying. Top it off with mushrooms, onions, and grilled red bell peppers for an unbeatable combo.
And that’s it for Oktoberfest food pairings. We have delicious smooth craft lagers available at each of our locations, come to The Pizza Press and experiment with your own beer and food pairings through Oktoberfest and beyond!
Edited by Mary Ahn