Seasonal Beers: Marzen, Pumpkin Ale and Bière de Noel
BE Autumn Leaves

The last part of the year witnesses some of the most interesting season beers reach the market all over the world.

In Germany, the stores receive, with great pleasure, a huge volume of lightly toasty, lagers with great malt character, called Märzen. The name of this beer means March in German and comes from the time of the year most of the breweries brew the last batches before the European winter. Back in the day ,before refrigeration, it was impossible to brew beer in the summer. So brewers used to storage their beers in the cold mountains during the spring and summer months to serve it in the festivals during the months of September and October. Some people know this style as Oktoberfestbier, due to the famous beer festival in Munich.

These beers is full-bodied, rich, toasty and comes in typically dark copper colour.

During almost the same time of the year, the American shelves are flooded with a very typical seasonal recipe: Pumpkin Beers. In fact some of these beers were released in August in order to fulfil the market’s demand.

Pumpkin beer is a very important part of the American brewery’s portfolio, making up to 20% of the annual sales, in some cases. The Brewers Association says that, even the most popular craft beer style in the US, IPA, takes a backseat once the pumpkin beer season starts.

And some brewers are already thinking outside the box, creating recipes with the famous vegetable in different styles - nowadays we can find imperial stouts, Belgian ales and even barrel-aged brews.

And of course, we need to mention the Bières de Noel or Christmas Beers. Also known as winter beers, these recipes come with large amounts of spices, some sweet notes and some intense dark colour.

The month of November marks the end of the malt and hops season. And, in the earlier days, the brewers had to clean out the warehouse to open space for the new crop. This is the main reason that the Christmas beers have the tradition to be heavier in malt and in hops, and with higher alcohol content, compared with average European beer from that time.

And in some cases, the malts and hops weren’t fresh, so the brewers had to add spices and even some sugar to compensate, creating the typical flavour of these beers.

All three beer styles are rich not only in history, but also in strong flavours. A great opportunity to taste some different beers and get more involved with this fascinating world.
But some people just don’t like this type of beers because they are very different, compared with the commercial beers, IPA’s and light beers.

And what about you?
Do you like these beers? Any style in particular?

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