We Minnesotans hate seeing the Summer slip away, yet we revel in the upcoming season. We are as cold-blooded as they come, and we get enjoyment out of seeing the leaves change and adjusting to the new, chilly temperatures that are quickly on the way. We like to celebrate this time with a fine lager - cue the Märzen.
Join us for the first ever release of our Märzen - Funkenfest - and the Official Pre-Party for the St. Paul Oktoberfest this Friday, September 9th, at 3 PM! There will be a custom contest, German karaoke, beer steins and more. Find more info and RSVP here.
Why Celebrate Okotberfest?
Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. Horse races in the presence of the Royal Family marked the close of the event that was celebrated as a festival for the whole of Bavaria. The decision to repeat the horse races in the subsequent year gave rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest. (Source: http://www.muenchen.de/int/en/events/oktoberfest/history.html
The Beer of March
The term “Märzen” is a remnant from a time when the brewing season’s last beers were made in spring and stored until late summer or fall. “Oktoberfest” was attached in relatively recent times, as the release of the beer coincided with the famous fall festival in Munich.
The Märzen Was Born
In Germany and Austria, the brewing season before refrigeration lasted from the onset of the Fall chill (much like those here in Minnesota) until the last cool days of winter or early spring, usually in March. Why is that? Because lower fermentation temperatures resulted in cleaner, more stable beer, as microbiological spoilage was much less likely. Naturally, those brewed in fall and winter could be consumed relatively fresh, but those made in March had to be consumed either immediately or stored into the summer and fall, when brewing could resume.
Those destined for the lengthiest lagering period, and perhaps brewed to a slightly higher gravity, were designated Märzenbier. Luckily for them, long-term cold storage was not an issue. The areas using this method were near the Alps, and had either cold cellars or caves at their disposal. Under these conditions, strains of cold-tolerant, slow-working yeast were also unknowingly being selected and cultivated well before any sort of microbiology was understood. (Source: http://allaboutbeer.com/article/marzenoktoberfest/