In the days before refrigeration, brewing in the warm spring or summer months proved difficult to protect against spoilage. March was an important time to brew a large supply for the busy summer months ahead. In response, märzen beers were developed. These relatively high gravity lager beers could be stored safely away in cool cellars or caves to slowly ferment over the next couple months.At the end of the summer, when the new brewing season began, any beer left in storage was ceremoniously consumed. The pouring of the special märzen coincided with the fall harvest festival, making for one big party. The traditional German märzen is a medium-strong, reddish amber lager, with a malty body and aroma. It has been lagered, or conditioned, an unusually long time. Since the end of the twentieth century, all Oktoberfest beers brewed in Munich have been golden in color with a slightly sweet, malty nose, medium body and low to medium bitterness. These beers are sometimes called “Helles Festbiers,” since “helles” means “pale” in German. Our Helles Fest Bier is a modern version offered in honor of the old ways. We brewed it in the spring with 2-Row malted barley, CaraHell and Vienna malts, hopped it with German Tradition, and fermented it at low temperatures with lager yeast from a monastery brewery near Munich. After it conditioned for weeks in our cellar, it was moved to cold storage for further aging until its release in late summer. As one would expect, Fest Bier’s mildly sweet flavors are the perfect accompaniment to German foods—weisswurst and sweet mustard, roast chicken, turkey legs or pork. Its delicate maltiness and light hopping complement even the mildest of shellfish, and it will even work with salads.
Fest Bier is available on August 1st in 1/2 & 1/6 bbl kegs.
Malts: Idaho 2-Row Pale Malted Barley, German CaraHell & Vienna
Hops: German Tradition Magnum
Original Gravity (Plato): 14.0°
International Bittering Units: 24
Alcohol by Volume: 6.0%