Style of the Month Oktoberfest Beers

Toast the start of fall with rich and toasty Oktoberfest-inspired lagers brewed right here in Ontario. Prost!

Ready to Explore?
Oktoberfest or Märzen (“March beer”) lagers are traditionally made in the spring and cold-aged for up to six months so that they’re ready to tap for the iconic fall fest held in Munich. Crafted with Munich malt which imbues a caramel complexity, Märzens are a bit stronger than your average lager.

Oktoberfest, the world’s biggest beer fest attracts more than 7 million revellers who sip steins of toasty lagers crafted exclusively by six Bavarian breweries. But you can celebrate without going to Munich. Now there are Oktoberfests in cities and towns around the world and chances are your local brewery is making an authentic Märzen-style lager and throwing a party to mark the occasion.

You May Taste
Ranging from medium gold to deep-auburn, these lagers are bursting with flavour but are also delicious with a medium body. Expect aromas of freshly baked baguette, toasted bread, digestive biscuits or pretzels. German hops provide a crisp counterbalance to the rich bready notes and are often a bit spicy, herbaceous and/or citrusy.

Sip Them With
 Märzen’s caramelized malt flavours shine when paired with grilled meat like chicken or pork as well as grilled fall vegetables like acorn or butternut squash. Pizza made with a sweeter, American-style tomato sauce is also a great match for a Märzen — just make sure to skip the pineapple as it will clash.

Serving Tips
A Pilsner flute or tall pint glass show off Märzen’s bubbly, brilliant clarity. Beer steins are festive, however traditional steins can hold two pints of beer so make sure to measure out your pour. Sip them straight from the fridge or let them warm up for ten minutes to dig onto the lager’s malty complexity.

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Beer FAQs

Your Top Questions Answered

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What is craft beer?

Craft beer is made by small-scale breweries, often independently owned, that practise traditional artisanal brewing techniques to create authentic and uniquely flavourful beers. These craft brewers may focus on either classic or lesser-known styles of traditional beer, or create innovative new modern brews. 

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How many calories are in a beer?

A standard 340-millilitre or 12-ounce beer that has five per cent alcohol by volume has about 150 calories. Styles of beer that contain more alcohol, such as IPAs, have more calories — up to 170. Light beers, which have less alcohol, have around 100 calories. While darker beers sometimes have a higher alcohol content and therefore more calories, that’s not always the case: consider Guinness Draught, a dark stout, which has just over four per cent alcohol by volume and 125 calories per 12 ounces. 

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How many beers are in a keg?

Most standard North American kegs hold 58.7 litres: in terms of standard 340-millilitre or 12-ounce bottles or cans, that’s 165 servings; if you’re counting by 16-ounce pints, its 124 servings. European beers often come in 50-litre kegs, yielding 140 340-millilitre glasses or 105 pints. Smaller 30-litre kegs (sometimes called “pony kegs”) give 82 standard beers or 62 pints. Mini-kegs (Heineken, for example) hold five litres: that’s about 10 pints or 14 glasses. 

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How is beer made?

All beer is made with four key ingredients: barley (or other grains), water, hops and yeast. First, barley is malted (meaning the grains are sprouted and then kiln-dried) to get ready for brewing. The malt is then mashed, or cooked with warm water, to create a sugary liquid called wort. The wort is boiled with flavouring hops, and then in the final step, it’s fermented with yeast, which creates the alcohol and finished beer.

There are many different styles and regional traditions of brewing, but to simplify, they basically fall into two categories: for ale, the beer is stored at room temperature while the yeast feeds on the sugar in the wort and produces CO2 and alcohol as by-products; for lager, fermentation is the same, but it happens at cooler temperatures so the process takes a little longer

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How long does beer last?

Check for an expiry or best-before date on bottles and cans: “best” is best when consumed fresh. Bottles and cans stored at room temperature are safe to drink for at least four months after purchase and up to eight months when it’s stored in the refrigerator or a cool place. Draft or craft beer stored in a glass bottle keeps for two or three days in the refrigerator when tightly capped. And remember, keep beer away from light: it can develop a “skunky” flavour from a chemical reaction to UV light, which is why it’s usually packaged in cans or dark glass bottles.

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What is beer made of?

Most beer is made from just barley, water, hops and yeast. That’s all! Each ingredient contributes to the beer’s flavour, as do the specifics of the production process. Some brewers may use other grains, such as corn, rye, rice, wheat or even oats, to produce different types of beer. Some styles even incorporate additional flavouring ingredients, including fruits and herbs.