As you enjoy your Octoberfest beers this fall, be sure you pick up one of the classics. To me, the Ayinger brewery in Bavaria represents a benchmark of German beer excellence. Their marzen is a classic to be consumed during Oktoberfest season. Interestingly, one would never see Ayinger at the real Oktoberfest in Munich, as that event doesn’t allow breweries outside its city limits to participate. (Instead, Ayinger flows freely at smaller festivals held in the countryside outside Munich.)
Thankfully, most decent beer stores carry the Ayinger line and their “OktoberFest-Marzen” during fall months. Go find it. It’s brewed to traditional perfection. Here’s what to expect:
Deep gold in color. A stark white head is big at first, but diminishes to a faint film. Lacing isn't significant, but usually isn’t for the style. The aroma smells of caramel, bread, faint brown sugar, and a little spice.
The taste is simple but fulfilling. Notes of biscuit and caramel balance the moderate bittering hops. The yeast is a little spicy. Overall it leans a tad to the sweet side, and enjoyable so. The mouthfeel is appropriately on the lighter side, but it’s soft, and even a bit creamy. The drinkability is easy-going and – if you want an odd food pairing idea – I found it to go oddly well with sweet onions dipped in hummus. Don’t grimace until you try it.