Its been a few weeks since my last review so I will continue with a relatively new addition to the Irish brewing scene with a 5.7% ABV Märzen Lager from Kilcoole in County Wicklow by Larkin’s Brewing Co.
A small bit of brewing history first… Märzen/Märzenbier is a combination of the German word for March and beer (d’uh) when traditionally the Märzen beer was brewed and then lagered over the next few months and consumed towards the end of the later summer months (due to a ban on brewing in the summer months to avoid the risk of fires from wood fired brewing mash tuns and kettles) and then the final bottles would be served around September until October of that year.
Traditionally and typically by style the Märzen is a darker coloured, malty lager with a somewhat dry and clean finish – little to no hop bitterness, it doesn’t rely on sweetness like that of a traditional bock a toasted flavour from the malt is a characteristic of Märzens alongside a toasty bready aroma and a balanced finish overall.
Larger use of Munich malt gives it its bready and toasted aromas and adds to its colour nicely. Vienna malt used in a much smaller proportion than that of the Munich malt adds its very slight sweetish taste.
Now, on to the beer itself.
I found this particular offering from Larkin’s to be pretty much true to style.
Colour-wise it was spot on. Copper in colour while clear in appearance, its not as dark as some other Munich lagers like the Dunkel in my opinion (the common commercially available and most famous example of a Dunkel being from The Erdinger brewery)
Aroma is bready and toasty as a more of a dominant feature and its there in just the right amount.
No noticeable hop aromas or bitterness, again true to style its more about the malt profile in these beers.
The taste is not overpowering or sickly sweet by any means, its fantastically balanced by the use of noble German bittering hops (Im presuming Cian used Hallertau here) and keeps body of the beer in check throughout and finishes exactly as it should – clean and dry.
Märzens may not have been brewed specifically so you could drink a few of them in one sitting but yes, you could. They aren’t too full bodied that you need to switch to something lighter or too high in alcohol that you have to go home.
Im not German so I can’t be 100% sure but I’d guess Larkin’s Märzen lager would pass both a German beer judges test and the BJCP guidelines too.
Cian (The brewer at Larkin’s) seems to have somewhat of a liking for all things lagered and the range contains a Dopplebock, a Munich Helles lager, a Baltic porter and this Märzen which is unusual but impressive in the current day for an Irish brewery to follow this route.
There seems to be a keen attention to detail paid here in terms of style and getting it right.
What’s remarkable about these three styles is they don’t appear to be one offs (?) while they still offer the usual craft favourites of a pale ale, an IPA and a saison too.
I expect solid and consistent things to come from Larkins over the next while and if you’re a fan of traditional beers brewed to style then definitely pick up some of the German beers coming from them.
Available in most good beer outlets across the country right now