Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project was started by Chad Yakobson in Denver, Colorado in 2010. Yakobson, who wrote his Master’s thesis on Brettanomyces and their use in brewing, uses a “progressive brewing approach [that] blends science and art through creativity and passion.”
They are known for making some of the best sour and barrel-aged beers in the nation, especially brews that use Brett yeast.
However, today I don’t have one of their sours or Bretty beers. Instead I have a traditional fall classic that was just released for spring time - Märzen. The brew was packaged on March 9th, has a nice 6% ABV, and cost me $6 for the 16 ounce can.
Every Märzen I’ve ever had has been consumed around Oktoberfest, so this will be the first time I drink one outside of September/October…let’s see how it goes.
Crooked Stave’s Märzen poured a clean and clear copper color with just about a finger of eggshell white head appearing. The head doesn’t stick around long though, as soon all that remains is a single cloud in the middle with a small accumulation of bubbles collected on one half of the glass.
The aroma is packed with caramel and honey notes that play well with the malt profile. The grist offers up a heap of bready/crackery notes while also allowing a hint of hoppiness to peek out. Those hops provide a dash of peppery spice and just a touch of grassy resin that are noticeable on occasion but stay well underneath the honey and caramel characteristics.
Each sip is incredibly light and crisp and begins with a subtle blend of hops and honey. A tingle of black pepper hits first but is almost immediately washed away by a wave of caramel. That sweet flavor is made even sweeter when some of that wildflower honey joins the party after a few seconds.
From there, the taste really doesn’t change much. The honey and caramel are non-stop before they slowly begin to fade out after a good 5-10 seconds on the palate.
What really shocked me was just how light and crushable this brew was. Normally when you have a beer this sweet, there is a bit of stickiness to it on the backend. But not this Märzen…nope, this one finishes insanely clean with no dryness, no sticky feeling, and no long-lasting aftertaste. It all just fades out slowly.
This was an amazing beer. Crooked Stave has convinced me this style is not just for Oktoberfest anymore…nope, nope, nope. This is an all-year beer that I can’t wait to get my hands on again! So light yet still so flavorful. So sweet with no stickiness. So damn good.