The Long March Of Marzen

Actually, despite the melodrama of this title, it would be better to call this the long leisurely stroll down Oktoberfest lane. Of course in most cases, Oktoberfest beer refers to Marzen, that often amber coloured, malty brew that appears each fall, not only in Munich, Germany, but nearly everywhere else, since numerous breweries create their own versions of the style.
When I was younger and more foolish, I use to think What is the best Oktoberfest beer? But after many years I discovered  such judgmental analysis is a waste of time, because  Oktoberfest, in all of its variations, is a beer of love kind of thing.
Left Hand Brewing Oktoberfest was one of the earliest to appear this year. A smooth malty traditional that is a bit stronger than usual (6.6%abv), but completely focused.
Dundee Oktoberfest is Rochester, New York’s take, a densely malted recipe that puts emphasis on the orange-citrus notes and reminding me that malt is good for the soul.
Point Oktoberfest from Wisconsin, has an approach a bit brighter, but still very traditional. Another nudge to the fact that beer is food to be enjoyed with other food.
Heavy Seas Marzen from Clipper City Brewing in Baltimore, is a year-round available tribute to the style, once called “MazHon”  that is malty smooth with a long gentle finish.
Leinenkugel Oktoberfest, from the craft beer division of Molson Coors, is a deliciously doughy version, expertly balanced with four specialty hops. Munich, Pale and Caramel malts give this recipe finesse.
Bells Octoberfest is lighter coloured (almost pale lager) version of the Fall classic. A pleasant reminder that not all the beer featured in Munich is deep amber in colour. This reminds me of the Lowenbrau recipe. A 5.5% quaff-able to be sure. Good from start to finish.
Saranac Oktoberfest is a tribute to German heritage. Like much of what is made at Matt Brewing, this beer is expertly done, achieving a marvelous balance between malts and hops.
Samuel Adams Octoberfest is the one most Americans will notice, due to its national visibility. And what a recipe it is! Over many years this recipe has been refined, so that it achieves sophisticated balance, which is a remarkable achievement considering the scale of production.
Moerlein Fifth & Vine Oktoberfest is a great Cincinnati take on Marzen, although it is not (as yet) produced here. A copper coloured beauty that is simply a pleasure to consume.
There are so many more, and as this season unfolds I will attempt to try as many as possible.
Hey, it is a job, but somebody has to do it.
Thank You.
The Beer Doctor

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