Autumn is a favorite season for many, for a variety of reasons. Whether
it is the ephemeral nature and changing of the season, the fiery
landscape, reflective ambience or impeccable weather, the seasonal amber
lagerbiers are simply a perfect accompaniment. Pumpkin and fresh hop ales, both of which fit the bill of “harvest” beers, have recently become eagerly anticipated offerings for many. But it is the venerable Märzen/Oktoberfest genre that has served autumnal revelers for centuries. Märzen, the historical designation, was made in the waning cool of spring; Oktoberfest, the more recent appellation, was brewed to savor during the changing season. They have come to be the essentially interchangeable names for the evocative burnished-gold to coppery, malty lagerbiers that favor brisk weather and festive ambience. They represent a lineage of adaptation, innovation and cooperation. Rooted in Germany, Austria, and even England, this stylistic transformation coincided with the explosion of brewing technology and regional style development during the mid-19th century.