Beer Review 0498: Paulaner Oktoberfest Märzen

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You’ve heard of breweries ran by Trappist monks, well here’s a brewery ran by Minim friars. Paulaner, located in Munich, Germany, were established by order of the Neudeck ob der Au cloister in 1634. The brewery is named after Francis of Paola, founder of the order. Like the Trappist monks, the Minim relied on brewing to fund their religious activities.

The Neudeck Cloister was abolished in 1799, and the brewery was converted to a penitentiary. However, the brewer for the cloister, Franz Xaver Zacherl, wanted to continue brewing and eventually purchased the building.

Paulaner is one of the six original breweries commissioned in 1810 by Ludwig I, Crown Prince of Bavaria, to make a beer in celebration of his wedding. Now known as Oktoberfest, it’s celebrated worldwide, yet only the original six Munich breweries that first produced the celebratory beer are invited to serve their beer during the celebration in Munich.

Brewed to 5.8% ABV (alcohol by volume), Paulaner Oktoberfest is brewed year-round.

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The pour produces a small, soapy head that is bright white and quickly diminishes. The beer is kind of an optical illusion as it is very different in and out of light; in light, it’s a lighter shade of amber that has some golden highlights. Out of light, it’s very amber and fairly dark. It’s a great looking beer that is brilliantly clear, featuring no particles or sediment. Lacing is sparse, leaving only a couple pods of suds.

On the nose, we’ve got classic Oktoberfest: sweet caramel, bready malts, and earthen yeast with hints of herbal and spicy hops with some orange peel. I can’t describe the scent of the beer any better than that. The aroma is quite nutritious and spot-on for the style. Very nice.

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The taste very much follows the nose, if a bit shaky and weak at first with some watery caramel and doughy yeast. But it picks up nicely and deepens, with toasted notes and more, sweeter caramel and crusty bread. There’s a hint of tart green apple, which transitions into the finish that presents some dull bitterness, clean caramel and bread notes. And just like that, the flavors disappear, readying you for the next sip. Paulaner’s Oktoberfest is light-bodied, with a thin, creamy mouthfeel.

It may seem like I don’t have a lot of thoughts about this beer, but know this: it’s solid and a nice representation of the style that I wouldn’t mind having a few of over the course of an evening. Two thumbs up!

Paulaner Oktoberfest Märzen, 90 points. Price: $1.99 US for one twelve ounce bottle.

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