With the release of seasonal beers being pushed ever earlier on the calendar, mid-August usually marks the appearance of Oktoberfest on the shelves. I even saw one in mid-July this year. While some will grouse about this seasonal-creep, I don't mind so much. I would gladly drink Oktoberfest beers all year long. Here are a few dishes I like to cook up when I've got Märzenbier on hand.
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Munich's Oktoberfest began not as a beer festival, but with a royal wedding—on October 12, 1810, Crown Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria married Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, and Bavaria rejoiced. Everyone in Munich was invited by the Bavarian National Guard to enjoy the five-day party. The field in which most events were held became known as Theresienwiese, in honor of the princess. In fact, it was so much fun (and remuneratively rewarding for Munich's city fathers) that it was decided to celebrate the royal couple's anniversary each year in similar style.
I set out this year to try some of America's best märzens. These beers are just the ticket for getting you into a fall mood. They're rich and crisp, reminiscent of cool fall breezes and rustling autumn leaves. Check out our recommendations—but also keep in mind that freshness is king. If your local brewery makes a märzen, check it out now. If they've got one on tap, order a steinful straightaway.