Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Oktoberfest: Beer Heaven

Is Oktoberfest a HugeParty? Beer + Thousands of People = HugeParty

By far one of the best events I've ever attended, Oktoberfest in Munich lives up to the hype with gigantic beers, friendly Germans and a HugeParty every day!

Welcome to Oktoberfest in Munich!!!!

In 2013 I went to Oktoberfest in Munich, on opening weekend, with two friends from the US. It...was...awesome! "Not Sober Sunset" included!


Where to Stay?

First of all, I recommend you avoid staying where we stayed. Although the Hotel Schleuse was cozy and welcoming, it was nearly 10km (50 minutes) away from the festival. This was a logistical nightmare, having to take both bus and train to get to Oktoberfest. At night, after many many beers... making it home proved to be a challenge.

Where you should stay? Much closer, obviously. I don't have a specific recommendation, but the closer to the festival, the better.


Our Primary Waitress... she could carry 7 beers at a time... in each hand!


Plan Ahead for the Festival of a Lifetime

Seriously, this is a major "must do". Oktoberfest takes a planning Wizard, hopefully you know one (or you are one). We started our planning in June, which was pretty late to the game. Most hostels and hotels were booked, hence the 10km trek to our hotel. Coordinating flights, hotels, additional trips, Lederhosen, etc. can be a challenge.

Also, table reservations were all filled, meaning we had to fight for a seat with thousands of other people. Luckily, we were a smaller group. Any bigger than 4 people and you'll find great difficulty on Opening Day to find a place to sit together.


Oktoberfest Crew!


I'd also recommend incorporating other cities or more days before the festival into your trip, as you won't really experience more than the festival during your time there. Munich focuses all of their efforts on Oktoberfest at this time, rightfully so.


Lowenbrau Beer Garden...Amazing Outdoor Option

Want to read more about planning a Eurotrip? Check out my post on the process here.

What to Expect?

  • Beer! - By rule, only six types of beer are sold at Oktoberfest. Those six, which abide by strict Bavarian Purity Requirements, are: Augustiner, Hacker Pschorr, Hofbrau, Lowenbrau, Paulaner & Spaten. Don't worry, they're all delicious. Unwritten rule dictates males should drink one Maß (pronounced 'mas'), or a liter of beer, for each hour attending. Read more about the beers here.
  • Simple Math - 6 Hours attending Oktoberfest = 6 recommended Maß of beer. 1 Maß = 1 liter. 1 liter = 33 ounces. 6 x 33 = 198 ounces. 198/12 = 16.5 servings of 5.5% ABV German beer.  HugeParty, if you can handle it.
  • Opening Day Long Wait - If you plan on going for "Opening Day", plan to get there by 8am and wait in line.... for what seems like eternity. In reality, we stood in line outside the Hacker tent for 2.5 hours. Then, we sat waiting for our first bitte (beer) for 3 more hours. Yes... we waited 5.5 hours for our first beer. Worth it.
  • Favorite Tents - On day one, under the direct recommendation of local Germans, we stayed at one tent... Hacker. It was crazy, packed, loud, awesome... my favorite. On day two, with smaller crowds and a penchant for exploration, we ventured out and enjoyed six different tents. Augustiner and Lowenbrau were my favorite that day. Realistically, you can't go wrong with any tent, they hold between 2,000 to 8,000(!) people each. And they're all serving cold, delicious, German beer and pretzels.
  • Cost - Not cheap. Aside from the flights/hotels/clothing, the event is expensive. 9.80 Euro for the Beer, tip the final .20. Food is expensive too. Bring cash, waitresses don't take card.
  • Avoid!!! - Not Dressing Up. 90% of the people will be dressed in traditional lederhosen and drindl. Don't be too cool, invest in the gear beforehand. It is very expensive, I got mine on eBay for cheaper ($120). You have the option to buy lederhosen, etc. at the event or in town, but expect to pay an inflated price.
  • Need More??? - Read this excellent synopsis here... it's thorough and I agree with all of it.

People

The friendliest group of drunks I've ever met. Seriously. Everyone was willing to engage in conversation. 



We met a young local German group, they took us under their wing and showed us a great time and taught us the songs they sing!


Our German Friends.

As mentioned above, it is wise to get there early. Even though we got there early, we were unable to snag seats. That was until we met a group of Aussie travelers, who welcomed us with open arms.
New Australian Friends at Hacker Tent on Opening Day

All of the tourists there are in it for a good time as well, and you're poised to meet quite an international group of people, if you so choose.
Zee Germans!!!




Hacker Tent. HugestParty!

Adult Carnival? Adult Carnival.

What we didn't realize is that Oktoberfest is more than just beer drinking (What?!?!). It is also a carnival and German food bonanza!

Once you've had your fix of beer and pretzels you can meander (Read: stumble) around the festival grounds and enjoy carnival rides, games and shops!  
Oktoberfest Carnival

Not to mention, everyone is so genuinely happy and excited about carnival games and rides. Not like America, where there is a stinky/sticky/"Carnie" vibe to them.

Carnival + Beer
HugeParty Oktoberfest

One More Thing...

Standing on the bench and putting your foot on the table signals you're attempting to chug an entire liter of beer. This is not for the rookie beer drinker.

Once you've started, you cannot stop. If you're successful, you'll hear the cheers from the entire tent (most of them have stopped their conversation to watch you). If you fail, expect the tent to turn negative, and wait until you pour the rest on your head.

Enjoy this clip, as I felt it was only appropriate that I participate in this challenge.
video

Travel Quote?

"If beer and women aren't the answer... then you're asking the wrong questions." – Anonymous


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2 comments:

  1. Great photos. Brings it all to life

    ReplyDelete
  2. I need to do this while The Working Mom is still The Saucy Mom. Hopefully my sauce never runs out but ya never know...

    ReplyDelete

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