Left Hand Oktoberfest Märzen Lager
Product description: This is no festivus for the restuvus – on the contrary – we start brewing in the Spring and it takes a full two months to reach lagered perfection. Biscuity, malty goodness dominates upfront while the noble pedigree hops lend a properly spicy, dry finish. Zicke zacke, zicke zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi. Time to roast your chicken and upend your stein before the air gets crisp, the leaves flame and fall and the skies fade to black. Auf geht’s!
Left Hand Brewing – Left Hand Oktoberfest Märzen Lager – 12 oz. bottle poured into specialty glassware – 6.6% abv.
From a 12oz bottle, Left Hand’s Oktoberfest is crystal clear amber with thick, yellow foam that persists for a long while. This is what I usually envision for Märzen, which if you were to split apart from traditional German Oktoberfest/Festbier, is darker colored and more focused on Munich or Vienna malt. For this beer, it’s Pilsner malt for the base and Munich malt for color and that essential melanoidin (think caramelized sugar) character.
The aroma brings dried black cherries, prunes, and dates coupled with dark bread to give it a fruitcake character. The flavor begins with rich caramel, light toast, and honey rolls moving to a neutral mid-palate and then finishing neutral with no lingering sweetness at all. Overall, the beer is clean with no alcohol character or fermentation character. Bitterness/hop character is for balancing only and goes unnoticed. It is well-executed and easy to enjoy.
After some non-traditional takes on German lagers from Surly and Ninkasi, Left Hand’s is a nice return to sanity. This is probably the most straightforward and brewed to style Märzen I can imagine. It’s perfect on visual aesthetics, super easy drinking, and gets the Munich malt character right. This is a great example of the style and a perfect introduction to Märzen if it is new to you.