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Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, is known as the world’s most famous fall beer festival, rooted in the brewing season of spring. The traditional beer served at Oktoberfest in Munich, called Marzenbier, was brewed in March, aged through the summer, and tapped in the autumn. However, in recent years, traditional beer styles like Marzenbier have become more popular in the United States than in their original sources in Germany or Europe. American beer consumers have developed a taste for these traditional Bavarian beers year-round.

While the original Marzen beer served at Oktoberfest in Munich was strong, full-flavored, and had a rich amber color, the beer served at the festival today is a lighter, more easy-drinking lager. German brewers shifted to lighter lagers in the 1970s as the trend moved towards lighter beers globally. Despite this shift, breweries like Paulaner continue to produce both the traditional amber-colored Marzenbier and the newer light-colored lager. The Paulaner Oktoberfestbier is a seasonal beer served each autumn, identical to the beer served at Oktoberfest in Munich.

Steve Hauser, CEO of Paulaner USA, stated that American beer consumers have a strong demand for traditional Bavarian beers year-round, prompting breweries to continue producing beers like the traditional Marzenbier. The popularity of these traditional styles in the United States has led to their availability 12 months a year. Oktoberfest celebrations in the United States also feature traditional German beers like Marzenbier, allowing American consumers to enjoy a taste of Bavaria throughout the year.

The Oktoberfest festival in Munich, celebrating the autumn marriage of Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese in 1810, first introduced Marzenbier to the world. The beer was brewed to celebrate the harvest season, with barley and hops ready for harvest just as the beer was tapped. The celebratory nature of the autumn festival led to the widespread popularity of Marzenbier, which continues to be enjoyed by beer enthusiasts today. The original dark amber beer has evolved into a lighter, golden-colored lager, but the traditional full-flavored amber lager is still available for those seeking a taste of authentic Bavarian beer.

The trend of traditional beer styles becoming more popular in the United States than in their countries of origin has been observed by beer columnist Brett Peruzzi. American beer enthusiasts have developed a taste for traditional Bavarian beers like Marzenbier, making them popular year-round choices. Oktoberfest celebrations in the United States often feature traditional German beers, providing consumers with a taste of Bavaria without needing to travel to Munich. As the popularity of traditional styles like Marzenbier continues to grow in the United States, breweries are adapting to meet the demand for these authentic Bavarian beers.

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