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Link - article by Victoria Whyte and Avi Abrams
The popularity of our Cheers to Beers! series prompted us to ask a seasoned traveler and reporter Victoria Whyte to highlight the fabulous Oktoberfest, with various styles of fabulous beers and beer mugs (steins) served there.
200th Anniversary of Oktoberfest of Munich, Germany
Munich has been celebrating what we now know as Oktoberfest since 1810 when Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildurghausen. The festivities started on October 12, 1810 and lasted for one week. The party was such a success that the couple decided to throw the same type of festival annually. Then why is Oktoberfest in September? Eventually the celebration was moved to take advantage of the warmer weather in September, and therefore, in true Bavarian form, longer outdoor drinking hours!
While the event started off as a wedding extravaganza, Oktoberfest is now the undisputed, ultimate celebration of beer.
- the festivities normally draw in six to seven million visitors a year!
- girls and guys alike, dress in the traditional Lederhosen or Dirndls.
- the streets are full of music with the crowds singing along to the ever popular Bavarian drinking song Ein Prosit
- in addition Passion Play is performed in the city of Oberammergau - this only happens once every ten years!
- and of course most activities center around the many high quality beer options!
(actress Ingrid Pitt, image credit Life)
The Largest (and the Craziest) Celebration to Date!
This year was the 200th anniversary of Oktoberfest in Munich and it was expected to be the largest (and the craziest) to date. Visitors were not disappointed! The streets were full of crowds dressed in traditional Lederhosen and Dirndls and beer tents were booming with satisfied patrons singing along to the Bavarian drinking song Ein Prosit.
There are fourteen beer tents on the Oktoberfest grounds, all serving one-liter steins (locally called a mass) to eager patrons whose thirst never seems to be quenched. Only six breweries are served on the grounds, and each tent only serves one brewery’s beer.
The Bavarian Purity Law of 1516 states that there are only three ingredients allowed in the production of Bavarian beer: water, barley and hops. Despite changes to the legal requirements and advancements in beer production, Bavarians still pride themselves on brewing a pure beer. What does this mean to the Oktoberfest goer? Less of a hangover!
The two most common types of beer in Munich, especially during Oktoberfest are the Weissbier (wheat beer) and the paler Helles (similar to a lager).
(actress Ingrid Pitt in "Where Eagles Dare", photos by Life Magazine)
I have been in Munich, Germany for the past month enjoying Bavarian art, culture, cuisine and of course Oktoberfest beer. In the below article you will find information on the six breweries served at the Oktoberfest and where you can find them every year.
A Mouth-watering Rundown of Excellent Beers!
The huge lion standing above the door of the Löwenbräu Oktoberfest tent leaves no one guessing it’s meaning: lion's brew. The Löwenbräu-Festhalle is an impressive tent and nearly impossible to get a reservation in. Bavarians pass along their rights to the beer tent reservations to their families on their deathbeds! Be sure to try the Weisenbier specifically brewed for Oktoberfest. Löwenbräu is also served in another local’s favorite tent: Schützen-Festzelt
(image credit: Nick Perretti)
My personal favorite! The special Oktoberfest brew is slightly stronger and paler. Is it obvious now why it’s my favorite? This brew is served at Scottenhamel, Ochsenbraterei, and the Hippodrome tents. The Oktoberfest celebrations are officially started when the Mayor of Munich taps the first barrel and cries “O’zapft Is” (It’s Open), after which everyone joins the festivities with a Prost! (Cheers). This is done in the Scottenhamel tent with a barrel of Spaten Beer.
My loving sentiments towards Spaten are not always felt among the locals. The logo, a malt shovel (Spaten means spade), is often mocked. Locals say you are ‘digging your own grave’ when you drink too much Spaten. After many a late night I have to agree but don’t seem to learn and keep going back for more!
Augustiner is Munich’s oldest brewery and was originally brewed in the monastery of the Augustinian Brotherhood. This brand is the local’s every-day favorite and is often the first choice when buying a bottle year-round. Augustiner’s most popular brew is their Helles, but during Oktoberfest they serve a Märzen brew, characterized by a medium to full body, malty flavor and higher alcohol content. Augustiner operates one of the best tents on the Oktoberfest grounds, rightly named Augustiner Fest-Halle, the brew is also served in Fischer-Vroni.
This brew is served in the Hofbräu Festzelt on the Oktoberfest grounds. The famous Hofbräuhaus in Marienplatz is the tent’s year-round sister establishment. Hofbräu is known to locals and foreigners alike as one of the craziest party tents. This famous tent is the favorite destination for Americans and Australians.
(photo by Avi Abrams, Dark Roasted Blend)
On the weekends, foreigners who want to experience the craziness line up at 7 am and wait until 9 am when the first beer in served. If the staff is feeling generous, on a rainy morning they will often open the doors and let patrons in at 8 am to avoid the rain. On weekends the doors are closed at 9:30 am because by then the tent is packed and already overflowing. While I have never woken up that early after a night at Oktoberfest, dedicated visitors have told me that 20 minutes after the first beer in served, nearly everyone in the 10, 000 person tent has a beer in hand – that is German efficiency at its best!
One of the best little known secrets about this tent is that it is the only tent on the Oktoberfest grounds that will serve you beer without a seat – all other tents are sticklers about this.
Here are some photographs from Dark Roasted Blend's Avi Abrams visit to Hofbräuhaus in Marienplatz:
(photos by Avi Abrams, Dark Roasted Blend)
Personal beer steins are stored for those who come here often:
The colorful menu has plenty of character:
(photos by Avi Abrams, Dark Roasted Blend)
Paulaner is one of the lighter beers served at the Oktoberfest, and one of the most popular! The brew is served in the Armbrustschützenzelt, Winzerer Fähndl, and Käfer’s Wies’n Schänke tents. Winzerer Fähndl is regarded as an elite tent, local celebrities including the FC Bayern football team is often spotted here. Käfer is a small tent but the only one that stays open past 11pm. When all the other tents close there is a mad rush to Käfer because it stays open for another two hours.
(images credit: Nick Perretti)
Hacker is served in Hacker-Festzelt and Bräurosl. The brew is still regarded as one of the purest beers because the ingredients are 100% natural and brewed to original Bavarian standards. The Hacker tent switches things up with a rock band versus a brass band that most other tents have. Cagey Strings Rock'n'Rock Band and Kirchdorfer Musi keep the vibe going all day and night, and probably helped the tent earn its nickname as Himmel der Bayern (Heaven of Bavaria).
No matter what tent you end up at you are guaranteed a high quality beer and a crazy time at Oktoberfest in Munich. Want to check it out? Join Ludus Tours (www.oktoberfesttours.com) next year in September when we head to Munich for Oktoberfest!
Prost! Auf Wiedersehen.
(actress Ingrid Pitt in "Where Eagles Dare")
About Ludus Tours: Ludus Tours (www.oktoberfesttours.com) is a tour company that specializes in packages and hospitality at the world's biggest cultural and sporting events. The Ludus Oktoberfest package includes: private airport transport, 3 or 4 star accommodation within walking distance of the Oktoberfest grounds, Bavarian welcome dinner (including beer and food), daily breakfast, one Beertent reservation (including beer and food), a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle, a bike tour of Munich, and Ludus guide assistance throughout the stay.
About the author: Victoria Whyte works for Ludus Tours, as the PR and Social Media Manager. She is based out of Vancouver, Canada. While she enjoys the other events, she waits patiently every year for September when her favorite event, Oktoberfest, takes place.
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