Chris Hall reviews Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Marzen
Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Marzen
Yet another Munich brewing legend, for there are many, Hacker-Pschorr dates back to 1417 (that’s 99 years before the enactment of the Rheinheitsgebot, German brewing law fans). Hacker-Pschorr’s brewers claim their process has remained largely unchanged since the brewery’s founding, which may help to explain why their traditional Oktoberfest Marzen is so much better than so many others.
Marzens should be brewed in March and matured until Oktoberfest, making them stronger, more complex and just plain better than the regular lager beers being brewed elsewhere. Whilst many brewers decline to follow these specifications for their own so-called Marzens nowadays, Hacker-Pschorr are refreshingly traditional. For one thing, it’s a beautiful, coppery liquid, with a thick, tight head of white, like a Marzen should be. There are richer, roastier, sweeter aromas from this beer. The hops, whilst pleasantly bitter and spicy to smell, are utterly dominated by a deliciously malty and caramel-scented bouquet.
If you’re wondering if it can deliver on such an appetising aroma, then worry no longer. This is a proper, full-bodied, copper lager. There is just enough toffee sweetness, and an almost nutty dryness to it that is normally found in English best bitter. The complexity never gets in the way of the liquid’s drinkability, and its strength is reined in nicely by a delicate but balanced palate of sharp, bitter and sweet. For an authentic, true Oktoberfest Marzen, you need look no further than this exemplary and unashamedly old-fashioned classic from Hacker-Pschorr.