Vienna Märzen Beer (“March Beer”) is a cooper/bronze coloured beer that is balanced between bready, malty, sweet and bitter, making it quite a complicated but worthwhile beer. Originally linked to Oktoberfest, as it was a beer prepared in March so it would be ready for the harvest, Märzen Beer has another variation called Oktoberfest Märzen (or Festbier) that is lighter on the caramelized malt flavours, and distinguished by its light golden colour. Unfortunately, the terms are rather interchangeable, so if you want a true Vienna Märzen beer, you may have to look closely.
Pairing Vienna Märzen with Food
The caramel and bread flavours Märzen is a perfect match to the grilled steak, grilled sausage, or juicy burger. The hops cut through the fat, while the caramel and bread flavours pair well with the meat. It you are putting a ton of toppings on your burger, like ketchup and pickles, Märzen probably isn’t your beer, and you should probably go for something with more hop to it, like an IPA or Amber Ale.
Venison and Pork are two other favourites, as long as they aren’t accompanied by a fruit sauce. An Elk burger, venison stew, or a nice cut of pork at a pig roast will pair with this well balanced beer.
Pairing Oktoberfest Märzen with Food
As we mentioned above, Oktoberfest Märzen is lighter version than Vienna Märzen , in both colour and flavour. However it does have enough malty flavour to love just about everthing that is grilled, which is why it’s such a popular beer at Oktoberfest. Enjoy this beer with grilled chicken, grilled sausage, grilled hamburgers, shish kabob, pork and even grilled fish. The sweet flavours of grilled zucchini, peppers and onions will love the malty character of this beer as well.
While Oktoberfest Märzen beer does love grilled foods, it won’t love grilled tomato due to the fruit’s sharp acidity. However Märzen beer does like the sweeter tomato flavours of tomato sauce for pizza. The bready flavours of the beer mingle with pizza crust, and the malt should go well with any topping, as long as it isn’t acidic, like pineapple or mango. Speaking of bread, Märzen loves most things on a bun or in a wrap, like ham sandwiches, burritos, cold cuts, lightly loaded burgers, and soft shell tacos (that aren’t overly spicy).
Foods that don’t pair well with Märzen Beer
Both Märzen types will not pair well with spicy food, including spicy sausages. As we mentioned above, this is not a great food with acidic foods like tomato, pineapple, or an acidic based sauce like A1 Sauce. I wouldn’t pair this beer with light fish, however, it does go just fine with battered fish, crab cakes, and smoke trout.