I’m travelling the world attempting to try more beers, so naturally Oktoberfest was always going to be on the agenda. What Global Beer Quest would be complete without going to the world’s most famous beer festival? With the help of a friend and Munich local we joined in the fun of Wiesn (that’s what the locals call it) and had a beer or two.
Here’s what to expect if you’re thinking about heading along (spoiler alert, I recommend you do).
Now the first thing to comment on is that this isn’t a festival where microbreweries bring their newest artisanal craft brews. If you’re looking to try a swag of new brews you may be disappointed. You’ll get some sort of lager – this is good thing, though. Nobody needs to drink a litre upon litre of a heavily-hopped Imperial IPA. As Munich is the home of lager (literally), you won’t get a bland, macro-brewed lager. These are litres of full-flavoured beer from the historical origin of lagers (from the people who’ve been making lagers for centuries), so you’ll be in very good hands.
There are six Munich breweries whose beers you’ll find at Oktoberfest. Paulaner, Spaten, Hacker-Pschorr, Augustiner, Hofbräu and Löwenbräu. They each have their own tent and other tents will be serving one of them. All the beers are made in strict accordance to Reinheitsgebot (the Bavarian purity law), of which incidentally, 2016 happened to be the 500th anniversary. Between all the breweries there will be a lot of beers. They’ll each have a few different beers on offer, lagers, dunkel, marzen and maybe a weißbier version of some of them too.
As well as all the beer, it is a heap of fun. Throw on some lederhosen (a.k.a. the most comfortable drinking outfit ever), grab a beer and sing along with the band. You’ll join thousands of locals to sing ‘Ein Prosit’ every fifteen minutes, but in between is a slew of popular songs from ‘Sweet Caroline’ to ‘Teenage Dirtbag’. You can stand on your chairs (not the tables though) as you sing along. Outside the tents are endless markets and carnival rides (mostly I was in the tents).
I have a few tips, but not as many as my friend from Munich, Jenny. She has a great book on the topic check it out here. It is worth getting if you’re thinking of heading along in 2017.
I had a blast at Oktoberfest, trying some great new beers, making new friends and wearing leather pants.
Have you been? Are you planning to go?