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Earn a New "Celebrate Oktoberfest" Badge with These 20 Best Märzens/Festbiers of 2022

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This past Saturday, Sept. 17th, 2022, marked the official start of the 187th Oktoberfest celebration. It's the first time since the global pandemic that the annual festival that attracts millions of visitors to Munich, Germany, to imbibe a very specific style of beer, returns in person. 

And you can bet that there are toasts, aka prosts, and beer steins clinking aplenty. 

But just because you might not be able to make it across the pond this year doesn't mean that you can't find a way to celebrate. 

For our part, we wanted to recognize the holiday by releasing a new badge.

To earn the "Celebrate Oktoberfest (2022)" badge simply check-in any (1) beer with the style of märzen or festbier between September 17th until October 3. 

What is a märzen or festbier? And what is the difference between the two styles you ask? 

Well, that's a great question!

What Is the Difference between Märzens, Festbiers, and Even Oktoberfests?

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Photography courtesy of Paulaner

The answer is a little complicated. In Germany, Oktoberfest means beers that are brewed specifically for the Oktoberfest event in Munich. 

According to European Union regulations, only beers brewed by the big six Munich breweries can use the label "Oktoberfest" (much like real champagne can only technically come from the Champagne region of France). All other breweries must call their seasonal lagers Oktoberfest-style beer. But that hasn't stopped American brewers from using terms like Oktoberfest, märzen, and festbier pretty much interchangeably. To further confuse things, American breweries will often sell beers with punny variations such as Oaktoberfest, Octoberfest, etc.

Historically, the beers served at Oktoberfest can only come from the large breweries inside Munich's city limits including Augustinerbräu Münche (Augustiner), Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, and Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu (Spaten). 

"Paulaner brewery is a real traditional Munich brewery and has always played a big part in the history of the city's culture," says Christian Dahncke, head brewmaster at Paulaner. "[So Oktoberfest] is an event dear to Paulaner's heart." 

Since 1818, Paulaner has brewed its Oktoberfest Bier, but it actually didn't gain popularity at the annual celebration until much later. 

Actually, during the first sixty or so years the darker Bavarian dunkel dominated. But by 1872 Spaten brewery introduced the more amber-hued märzen, which became the official beer of the fest. And in the mid 1960s Paulaner's golden-colored Oktoberfest Bier, considered a festbier, began to take over.

Today, Paulaner's Oktoberest Bier is the most-served beer at Oktoberfest in Munich. Although still slightly malty, these lighter-bodied festbiers are super drinkable and perfect for the two-week-long celebration. 

But in the States, Oktoberfest is often used as a catchall encompassing märzens and festbiers. The märzens here in America typically feature Munich and Caramel malts for beers that tend to be redder, maltier, and slightly sweeter.

Basically, the Oktoberfest-style beers brewed in America are actually nothing like those made for the real Oktoberfest in Germany. Instead, they align more closely with the original styles served in the 1870s.

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Photography courtesy of Tröegs Independent Brewing

Here's how it breaks down:

Oktoberfest (Oktoberfestbier) – Any beer formally brewed by one of the six big Munich brewers and served on the Oktoberfest grounds. Over the years these beers have evolved from dunkels to märzens to festbiers. Today, they're light gold in color and easy bodied.

Märzen – German amber lagers typically anywhere from chestnut to russet in color. Smooth, toasty, bready, slightly spiced with a bit of a Noble hop bite. Märzens hit around 5-6% ABV with a dry finish. First brewed by Spaten in Germany, in America this is the most common style of what we've come to call Oktoberfest or Oktoberfest-style beers.

Festbier – A strong golden German lager similar to a helles, just maltier. The floralness and spiciness of Noble hops are more prevalent in this style. And they're slightly meatier at 6-6.5% ABV. First pioneered by Paulaner, today in Germany festbiers are THE official beer of Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest-style – Normally falling under the style of märzen, these beers are brewed outside the city limits of Munich. Again, if you buy an Oktoberfest-style beer in America, it will most likely be an amber märzen. Technically only beers brewed by one of the six original breweries in Munich can officially use the term Oktoberfest (Oktoberfestbier).

With all this in mind, whether you're camping out with a classic Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Amber Märzen from the original Munich brewery or enjoying a modern 3 Floyds Brewing Company Munsterfest from the premier Midwestern brewery, we've found the best märzens and festbiers to help you ring in the season and earn that "Celebrate Oktoberfest (2022)" badge! 

Here are Untappd's 20 Top-Rated Märzens/Festbiers of 2022

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Photography courtesy of New Glarus Brewing Company

1. Staghorn Octoberfest - New Glarus Brewing Company

Staghorn Octoberfest label

Staghorn Octoberfest

New Glarus Brewing Company

Märzen

Total (?) 80,395

Unique (?) 50,615

6.25% ABV

N/A IBU

(3.8)

45,574 Ratings

2. Ultimate Oktoberfest - Founders Brewing Co.

Ultimate Oktoberfest label

Ultimate Oktoberfest

Founders Brewing Co.

Märzen

Total (?) 6,884

Unique (?) 6,050

10% ABV

N/A IBU

(3.92)

5,559 Ratings

3. OctoberFest - Samuel Adams

OctoberFest label

OctoberFest

Samuel Adams

Märzen

Total (?) 1.16M+

Unique (?) 473,162

5.3% ABV

16 IBU

(3.61)

419,827 Ratings

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4. Ayinger Otober Fest-Märzen - Ayinger Privatbrauerei

Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen label

Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen

Ayinger Privatbrauerei

Märzen

Total (?) 153,328

Unique (?) 115,032

5.8% ABV

25 IBU

(3.81)

104,501 Ratings

5. Oktoberfest Lager - Tröegs Independent Brewing

Oktoberfest Lager label

Oktoberfest Lager

Tröegs Independent Brewing

Märzen

Total (?) 13,610

Unique (?) 11,158

6.1% ABV

N/A IBU

(3.81)

10,178 Ratings

6. Munsterfest - 3 Floyds Brewing

Munsterfest label

Munsterfest

3 Floyds Brewing

Märzen

Total (?) 38,552

Unique (?) 31,709

6.2% ABV

20 IBU

(3.78)

28,732 Ratings

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Photography courtesy of 3 Floyds

7. Clawhammer Oktoberfest - Highland Brewing Company

Clawhammer Oktoberfest label

Clawhammer Oktoberfest

Highland Brewing Company

Märzen

Total (?) 39,739

Unique (?) 29,418

5% ABV

25 IBU

(3.66)

26,603 Ratings

8. Spaten Oktoberfest Ur-Märzen / Winter - Spaten-Franziskaner-Löwenbräu-Gruppe

Spaten Oktoberfest Ur-Märzen / Winter label

Spaten Oktoberfest Ur-Märzen / Winter

Spaten-Franziskaner-Löwenbräu-Gruppe

Märzen

Total (?) 255,283

Unique (?) 175,521

5.9% ABV

23 IBU

(3.65)

156,494 Ratings


9. Oktoberfest Märzen / Original Münchner Märzen - Paulaner Brauerei

Oktoberfest Märzen / Original Münchner Märzen label

Oktoberfest Märzen / Original Münchner Märzen

Paulaner Brauerei

Märzen

Total (?) 205,865

Unique (?) 147,818

5.8% ABV

20 IBU

(3.68)

132,348 Ratings

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10. Lager Town - Half Acre Beer Company

Lager Town label

Lager Town

Half Acre Beer Company

Märzen

Total (?) 24,245

Unique (?) 19,409

5.8% ABV

N/A IBU

(3.71)

17,487 Ratings

11. Copper Legend - Jack's Abby Craft Lagers

Copper Legend label

Copper Legend

Jack's Abby Craft Lagers

Festbier

Total (?) 55,860

Unique (?) 40,073

5.7% ABV

22 IBU

(3.66)

35,932 Ratings

12. Warsteiner Märzen / Oktoberfest - Warsteiner

Warsteiner Märzen / Oktoberfest label

Warsteiner Märzen / Oktoberfest

Warsteiner

Festbier

Total (?) 79,888

Unique (?) 61,677

5.9% ABV

21 IBU

(3.62)

55,201 Ratings

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Photography courtesy of John A. Paradiso

13. Oaktoberfest - Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Oaktoberfest label

Oaktoberfest

Firestone Walker Brewing Company

Märzen

Total (?) 56,898

Unique (?) 45,561

5.2% ABV

20 IBU

(3.59)

40,992 Ratings

14. Bitburger Festbier - Bitburger Brauerei

Bitburger Festbier label

Bitburger Festbier

Bitburger Brauerei

Festbier

Total (?) 15,871

Unique (?) 13,203

6.2% ABV

N/A IBU

(3.71)

12,006 Ratings

15. Oktoberfest Märzen - Hacker-Pschorr

Oktoberfest Märzen label

Oktoberfest Märzen

Hacker-Pschorr

Märzen

Total (?) 187,349

Unique (?) 135,491

5.8% ABV

N/A IBU

(3.69)

122,873 Ratings

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Photography courtesy of Firestone Walker Brewing Company

16. Octoberfest Beer - Bell's Brewery

Octoberfest Beer label

Octoberfest Beer

Bell's Brewery

Märzen

Total (?) 136,267

Unique (?) 97,641

5.5% ABV

N/A IBU

(3.66)

88,349 Ratings

17. Oktoberfest - Toppling Goliath Brewing Co.

Oktoberfest label

Oktoberfest

Toppling Goliath Brewing Co.

Märzen

Total (?) 11,657

Unique (?) 10,218

5.2% ABV

N/A IBU

(3.81)

9,340 Ratings

18. Oktoberfest - Great Lakes Brewing Company

Oktoberfest label

Oktoberfest

Great Lakes Brewing Company

Märzen

Total (?) 196,880

Unique (?) 114,787

6.5% ABV

20 IBU

(3.67)

103,856 Ratings

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19. Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier - Staatliches Hofbräuhaus München

Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier label

Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier

Staatliches Hofbräuhaus München

Festbier

Total (?) 237,598

Unique (?) 176,117

6.3% ABV

23 IBU

(3.6)

159,080 Ratings

20. Weihenstephaner Festbier - Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan

Weihenstephaner Festbier label

Weihenstephaner Festbier

Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan

Festbier

Total (?) 141,263

Unique (?) 109,405

5.8% ABV

26 IBU

(3.61)

99,399 Ratings

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