Teisnacher 1543 Festmarzen |Teisnach, Germany
When I pulled it out of the box I got real excited. I really like Marzen-style beers. Is there a difference between a Marzen and a Festmarzen? Don’t know, but I don’t think so. So what is a Marzen? I turned to my handy Oxford Companion to Beer (you got to buy this for your favorite beer lover for Christmas). It’s got a lot of stuff on Marzen.
Ah, the plot thickens. Under marzenbier it says “also see Vienna Lager.” Yesterday’s calendar beer was a Wiener Lager or “Vienna Lager.”
Marzen” comes from the term Beers of March because they had to make a lot of beer before it got too hot. These brews made in March where often a bit stronger so they could store long into the summer months. Sounds like the stronger IPAs the British would brew so they could survive the trip to India.
The Oxford Companion under the marzenbier section reiterates the term “March Beer” but says “a golden to deep amber lager style with a full body and a moderate bitterness, which is related to both the oktobefestbier and the Vienna Lager.” There is a bunch history that I was going to skip over but I noticed the line “The historical origins of marzenbier lie in a decree issued in 1553 by the Bavarian ruler Duke Albrect V, in which he forbade all brewing between April 23 and September 29.” That falls in line with the intent of the purity laws because he was trying to keep nasty stuff from growing in the beer during warm weather. So if you started brewing your Fall beers in late September you might run out. Better start in March. But back to my point for including this: 1553 is 10 years after this brewery got its start. Like I said before, you can’t talk about the history of brewing without talking about Germany.
I checked my desktop full of empty cans and bottle I intent to post a review on and found my favorite Marzen of this year, Bell’s Octoberfest. I won’t review it now but got to say I did not let one of the bottles from its 12-bottle case go to waste. I also have a Samuel Adams Festbier Smooth Lager. The Teisnacher falls in line with these two. My tasting notes say simply “Marzen.” This tastes like a Marzen that I’m familiar with. I think the Bell’s has an edge just because it was in a bottle and didn’t get shipped overseas.
It does have that nice malty start and that light bitter edge on the second and third sip and toward the finish. Some Marzens to me kinda “slam shut” after the first taste: Starts off real smooth and malty then quickly turns bitter. This one gently walks that way. It’s in no rush.
The Teisnacher unfortunately is not appealing to my eye. It looks a dirty brown with a strange hue. Their website says “A malt-accentuated, naturally cloudy speciality, roundly drinkable with a slight sweetness of harmonious aroma and beautiful amber color. Original gravity: 13%, alcohol content 5.4 % vol. Goes well with fried fish, roasts and sweet desserts.” I totally agree up until the “beautiful amber color.” Plus I’m not sure I would fry up some fish to see how well it pairs.
But if I could find a bottle of this in the US I would have to give it a try to see if the color is better. The “Best Buy Date” on the bottom is the same on all of the beers so far: March 2023. I don’t know of many American brews, other than the high gravity brews, that have a Best By that far out. But if they are following their German roots, which I am sure they are, their Marzens should last for a while.
The can (which is very similar to the label on their locally sold bottle) says “Gebraut nach Altbewahrtem rezept. Tradionelle Braukunst.” which translates as “Brewed according to ancient recipe natural lees. Traditional art of brewing.”