Schlafly Dry-hopped Märzen is an international creation, born of a fifty-year relationship between the sister cities of Stuttgart, Germany and St. Louis, Missouri.
As planning started for the Grand Fiftieth Anniversary of this historic partnership, it was quickly apparent that a collaboration between breweries in both cities was key, so the relationship began. We teamed up with Calwer-Eck-Bräu, a brewpub in downtown Stuttgart, and agreed to brew a beer that reflected the heritage of both cities and countries. One of my favorite styles is Oktoberfest, also known as Märzen, so we combined the elements of this classic German beer style with an innovative procedure and common practice of the American craft brewing movement—dry-hopping.
Dry-hopping is often reserved for IPAs, American Pale Ales and of course whatever works for the brewer, but we had not experimented with dry-hopping a lager regularly. The natural choice of hops, of course, was to select some tried-and-true German hops, Hallertau Mittelfrüh and Hallertau Tradition. Using our standard dry-hopping technique, we threw caution to the wind and mustered our usual courage that this was going to turn out exactly as we had planned, and produced a beer that was met with great enthusiasm and fanfare.
Naming Schlafly beers has traditionally been left to giving it the name of the beer style, but this one earned the additional dubbing Trocken Hopfen Märzen, which I later learned would not be done “auf Deutsch”; the Germans refer to the style of dry-hopping as “stuffing” the tank, as in Hopfen Stopfen Märzen. This naturally led me to want to combine the two names to achieve the delightfully playful moniker Trocken Hopfen Stopfen Märzen, which is best said aloud after a pint of it.
This is our sixth year brewing this beer, customers look forward to it every year, and it’s best enjoyed in an environment that evokes camaraderie, such as in this video taken during our visit to Stuttgart to celebrate our sister city relationship (the St. Louis delegation can be spotted at about 1:26, and Mayor Slay around 1:42). Being onstage in the huge Grandl’s Hofbrau tent with Mayor Francis Slay belting out “ich bin ein Stuttgarter” was a most memorable experience indeed.
It was a blessing for me to be included in Mayor Slay’s delegation to Stuttgart in May of 2010 to honor the quinquagenary friendship between the two cities. A few weeks prior in April, we hosted the Stuttgart delegation led by Lord Mayor Wolfgang Schuster, where I had the chance to get to know the brewmaster of Calwer-Eck, Ole Endler, who has become a dear friend over the years. There were many fabulous events planned during their visit, but one of the most memorable apparently was the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which caused major air traffic interruptions for the entire Stuttgart delegation. Selfishly, it gave me the chance to get to know Ole better during the extra week he stayed here with other friends; if you find yourself near Lörrach, Germany, look him up at the Lasser Brewery where he resides as brewmaster. Lörrach is a quarter-hour’s drive from Basel, Switzerland, or more significantly a brisk 10 km. walk from Saint-Louis, France. And after a walk like that, you’ll no doubt have earned having a pint or two of our Schlafly Dry-Hopped Märzen.
Schlafly Dry-Hopped Märzen will be available starting May 29th, at both of our locations, for a very limited time.