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Märzen or Märzenbier, literally translated as "March beer", is a style of lager beer which has its origins in Bavaria, probably before the 16th century. A Bavarian Brauordnung (brewing ordinance) decreed in 1539 that beer may be brewed only between Saint Michael (Michaelmas, 29 September) and Saint George (23 April) and the reason for this requirement was the increased danger of fire during the warm and dry summer months.

The original Märzen was described as "dark brown, full-bodied", as intended, the beer was often kept in the cellar until late in the summer, and remaining bottles were served at the Oktoberfest. In order to last so long, either the original gravity and alcohol were increased or the hopping was strengthened.


The style is characterized by a medium to full body, a malty flavour and a clean dry finish. In Germany, the term covers beers which vary in colour from pale Helles Märzen, through amber to dark brown Dunkles Märzen. Brewers in the Czech Republic also produce pale, amber and dark beers in the Märzen style, called respectively 14° Světlé Speciální Pivo, Polotmavé Speciální Pivo and Tmavé Speciální Pivo.

The North American style normally exhibits a stronger, though not aggressive, hop aroma and bitterness balance; the Austrian style closely resembles a Helles in color, body, and flavor balance, and is the most popular beer style in Austria.

Common names for Märzen include Märzenbier, Wiener Märzen, Festbier, and Oktoberfestbier.

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Märzen / Oktoberfest,