Easter Sunday I had the chance to brew one of my favourite beer styles, a VMO. Well I guess that the style guidelines have change a bit over the last year but for now I will still call it a VMO (Vienna Märzen Octoberfest). I tend stick to the Märzen end of the style. It is a lager which is amber in color and the taste is malty but not sweet and also has a toasty favour.
“In the Middle Ages, brewers had a difficult time brewing good-tasting beers during the hot summer months when the brew could easily become infected with air-born bacteria. To have an ample supply of saleable beer on hand during the summer, brewers worked overtime in March to brew an extra strong and well-hopped beer that would keep for a long time. Märzen is German for March, so the beer came to be known for the month in which it was brewed.
In time, the March beer turned into an October beer. When the summer was over and it was safe to resume brewing again, the brewers needed to empty their kegs to make room for the new brews. That meant that Märzen had to be finished off in a hurry. Throw a little bit of merriment into the mix, and you’ve got an Oktoberfest with a Märzen beer party. Modern Märzen, like Oktoberfestbier, is always well-aged, usually for at least four to eight weeks. It is usually amber in color and has an alcohol content of 5 to 6.2%.”
– German Beer Institute