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Why Does Märzenbeer Brewed Around the World Vary So Much From Its Munich Equivalent?

What really started as a celebration of matrimonial alliance between royals in Munich over two hundred years ago is now an annual global celebration involving loads of beer, sausages and pretzels. Despite Munich being the birthplace of the Oktoberfest event, there are lots of countries in the world like the U.S. who look forward to celebrating the festival with just as much fervour. And yet, the Oktoberfest beers around the world are distinctly different from the ones brewed in Europe.

For one, they tend to have less of that ideal malt-hop balance and lean more towards the sweeter side. The reason behind this is the fact that brewers outside Munich tend to use caramel malt instead of the traditional Munich malt which gives the beer a sweeter caramel flavour.

Many beer connoisseurs also believe that it could be because international brewers don’t age their Oktoberfest lagers for months on end like the brewers in Europe do with the traditional German equivalent – and this is why they don’t always have as crisp or clean a flavour profile as they ought to.

At the Munich Oktoberfest you’ll only find beers that meet the strict Munich purity standards that date back to 1487 and the “Reinheitsgebot” (German Beer Purity Law) of 1906, substantially restricting any potential foreign influence. Right now, there are six breweries: Augustinerbrauerei, Hacker-Pschorrbrauerei, Löwenbrauerei, Paulanerbrauerei, Spatenbrauerei and Staatliches Hofbräuhaus — that are known meet those standards, and they all make their own beer specifically for the 18-day long celebration: a so-called 6 percent-ABV Märzenbeer that’s served only in one-liter steins and can win the heart of pretty much any hop fanatic!

Globally, outside Munich, Oktoberfest brews are simply seen as a popular seasonal selection to be served between the last week of September and the first week of October. Perhaps this is why microbreweries across the world decide to make a sweeter, more sessional variant of the original beer to appease a wider variety of palates.

Now the whole world may not be Munich, but if you’re in India and want to celebrate the spirit of Oktoberfest, here are some microbreweries in India who are serving their own versions of Oktoberfest beer! Check them out!