Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Märzen (500ml, 5.8% ABV)

If you believe what you read in the press – and who does? – the average wedding in Britain now costs a wallet-shredding £27,000. Compared to Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, though, this is chicken feed. He got hitched to the lovely Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in 1810, and effectively the celebrations are still going today. This is the origin of Oktoberfest, the epic knees-up that takes place in Munich every year, tempting 6 million people to join in the fun and drink themselves silly.Oktoberfest. It’s like a stag do that never ends.

Hacker-Pschorr are one of the Munich breweries that create a special beer for the event. The ‘Märzen’ of the title refers to the month of March – the traditional end of the brewing season in Germany. (The boiling process required by beer was considered too much of a fire hazard to risk during the summer!) The beer could then be cellared (or ‘lagered’) over the summer, ready for Oktoberfest. Which, of course, starts in September.

This beer is in the lager vein, with plenty of fizz on pouring, but it’s more of an amber once the bubbles settle. The aroma is biscuity, from what I assume is the famous Munich malt, plus a waft of fresh, grassy hops. On the tongue is full malt, with a significant throb of alcohol and a touch of caramel. Somehow it manages to remain light. The spritzy mouthfeel, perhaps?

The finish is what really wows – a crisp, herby bitterness that builds and builds as you drink. It’s a reminder that hops is a plant, and whatever variety this is, it has a distinctly different character to English or American hops. This is a beer that starts out very pleasant, but increases in deliciousness with every sip.

Congratulations, Prince Lu1dwig!

Written by Richard Salsbury

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