Purchased on a whim. 4 pack, Belmont Beverage, Decatur, IN. $10.99 for the 16 oz servings.
To be fair, I was ready to hate this before I had tried it. In the end, I was not horrified!
I do hate the term, “American-Style Märzen Lager”, and a few reviews that I had read prior to opening suggested that this was a “hoppy märzen”. Quite correctly, that oxymoron brought horror to many, but in the end this beer really wasn’t anywhere that descriptor at all.
It’s a pretty beer (as most well-made märzens are), with a lovely, clear orange hue, and a pillowy head. So far so good. The nose does offer a little hop note that likely shouldn’t really be there, but it’s mild. Frankly, that sums up the tastes too, but for me the beer still has enough sweetness, enough malt, and enough genuine märzen-like character in terms of breads and bright, refreshing tastes, that it doesn’t alarm a traditionalist. The finish, more specifically the very back end, does offers another slightly hoppy, bitter bite that takes a little away from the style, BUT it’s pretty slight and I can live with it.
In the end (and I can hardly believe I’m saying this), “American-Style Märzen Lager” is kind of an accurate description! It’s NOT a classic in the märzen style, no way, and it does bring a hop profile which has no real place in a traditional beer of its type, BUT in the end this is absolutely recognizable has an O’fest, and it sits pretty well with me.
In the end I’m not horrified, and in this particular case, that’s a compliment! I wanted to hate it, and I didn’t. Don’t look for a classic in the style, but you’ll certainly recognize the beer it alleges to be.