Join Club

Your Beermonger: The Difference Between Oktoberfest, Marzen and Festbier

This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

This year, more than ever, I’ve been fielding questions about the difference between an Oktoberfest, Marzen and a Festbier. Short answer? Not much. OK, thanks! Short column this week — I am on vacation.

Wait, you’re still here? You say: “Todd, it’s not that simple. In those small differences, there are big details and centuries of history.” OK, that is true. I guess I can get a little more into what you’re getting in the bottle, can or on tap when you see these words on the label.

First off, Oktoberfest is a celebration, tied to a time and a place, and by association, has come to describe a type of beer. The original Oktoberfest took place in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria and his bride and was a five-day festival. Over the years, fairs, horse races, and many booths selling food and drink were added.

The drink most associated with the festival? Beer. In Germany, the name Oktoberfest is protected, and there are only six breweries in Munich that are allowed to serve beer at the celebration and make use of the name on their label. That name is then tied much more to the time and place than to the style of beer itself.

A photo of my last Rothaus

Traditionally, the styles served would have been Marzen, named because the beer was brewed in March before the advent of refrigeration and brewing was put on hold during the warm summer months. Now, typically when we think of Marzen, the rich amber-colored lagers of the fall come to mind. A personal favorite of mine is Port City Oktoberfest. However, if you were one of the few lucky enough to pick up some of the Rothaus Eiszäpfle when it landed, you know that German Marzen can be quite clear and golden as well.

The modern Festbier style has much foggier origins. The most repeated story leads back to Paulaner’s introduction of their strong golden Weisn style, but there is further research out there tying the introduction of this lighter style to the change from ceramic steins to clear glass. The fact of the matter is that this style is the current beer of the moment at Oktoberfest and is growing in popularity with many American brewers as well. Our friends over at DCBeer recently did a taste test of many Oktoberfest offerings, and it was interesting to note that a modern Festbier from Union was the winner.

The confusion between names and styles is understandable in many cases, so feel free to keep asking your Beermonger. Do you prefer the more American take on the Marzen style, or are you a purist who wants the modern Festbier that will flow in Munich hopefully again in 2022?

Recent Stories

Morning Notes

Knife Incident Along I-66 — “Scanner: Arlington and state police on scene of incident along I-66 near Rosslyn and the Key Bridge. A man reportedly came out of the woods…

Good Monday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 10824 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…

The Sun Gazette newspaper has not published new articles on its website since Friday and may have printed its last edition. Several sources tell ARLnow that the free weekly paper,…

Carjackings appear to be rising again in Arlington and across the D.C. area. An uptick between 2019 and 2020 spurred Arlington County Police Department to focus prevention efforts on robbery,…

Have you noticed a striking sculpture at Monroe Street and Wilson Boulevard? It’s the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington’s newest installation, _Make Your Mark_ , by Arlington artist, Adam Henry. This sculpture celebrates MoCA Arlington’s rebranding and brings the museum’s energy outdoors.

On February 11, come inside when the museum’s galleries reopen with two new exhibitions: Rebecca Rivas Rogers: Grey View and Crisis of Image.

Grey View, in the Wyatt Resident Artist Gallery, is an homage to “gray” and a snapshot of the artist’s process. Consisting of photographs, collage, and a site-specific installation, this show is an outgrowth of Rivas-Rogers’ visual investigations into places you see on your way to somewhere else.

On the main level, Crisis of Image features artists who seek equity in today’s saturated visual world by developing new methods related to the production of images.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Its February and you said you would start your journey to a healthier you, last month! If you are struggling and do not know how or what to do to get started, we are here to keep you accountable. At Aspire Higher Training, we offer 1-1 Personal Training for ALL fitness levels, Semi-Private Group Training, Sport Specific Training and Injury Prevention/Post-Physical Therapy Training. Monica and her team of trainers are available across Arlington, Va.

If you don’t have access to a gym, no problem, we are located in South Arlington, but if you want to workout from your home gym, we also offer that flexibility. We make it as convenient as possible to ensure your success. Before getting started, we offer a free 15-30 minute consultation call to see how we can best help you towards your health and fitness goals. Let’s get started on your health and fitness goals today by setting up a call at your earliest convenience:

https://www.aspirehigherfitness.com/contact

Submit your own Announcement here.

Valentine Pop-Up at George Mason University

Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village

Standup Comedy Showcase Starring Matt Ruby (Comedy Central)

Dead Horse Comedy Productions brings together top comedians from the DMV and beyond for a live standup comedy show!

Matt Ruby, Headliner

Matt Ruby is a comedian, writer, and filmmaker from New York City. His comedy has been filmed by

×

Subscribe to our mailing list