It’s that time of the year again. October. When you fill you boots with beer which then goes so high that it spills from your mouth.
The actual Oktoberfest called Wiesn (short for Thereienwiesn, where it is held in Munich) is held from mid September and finishes the 1st week of Oktober.
The only beers allowed to sell alcohol from beer tents are those that originate from the old town of Munich. These are Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbrau, Löwenbräu, Augustiner,Paulaner and Spaten. Much to their dismay the popular beer Erdinger can’t be included in the Oktoberfest because it is a beer of outer Munich.
Each of these beers have their own particular best seller like Augustiner “Helles”, and Paulaner “Hefewiezen”, 2 good examples of the best sellers.
Each tent has it’s own atmosphere, so for example you are looking for a traditional tent, mainly filled with locals you would go to Augustiner, but for a plain old good time, with people who are ready to party no matter where they are from you would go to Hofbrau or Hacker tents. It might be mentioned that there are many foreigners at the Oktoberfest.
The good thing is that the Oktoberfest is not the only beerfest held in Germany, or for that matter Austria and Switzerland. Each village claims it’s own right to host a “Volksfest” (people’s festival), so for example the state of Bavaria has literally hundreds. Good examples of other Volksfests are the Cannstater Volksfest in Stuttgart and the Mühldorfer Volksfest in Bavaria, to name a few. The ones in the countryside are the more traditional, to experience that authentic Bavarian beerfest away from all the foreign influences.
Important vocabulary to know when you are at the Oktoberfest is found on the Oktoberfest website attached to the link.
Some important things to note is that a stein is actually called a “Mass” (ponounced muss) in Germany, and songs that ask you to comfortability ask you to raise the “Krug” high instead of the Mass. Often at the end you will hear Ons, zwo, drei gsufa which means 1, 2, 3 swill in Bavarian dialect.
This song is used as an intermission in the music and to get the guests to charge their beers up for a toast.
Outside of Munich many other towns have famous Oktoberfest celebrations, which are quite large. The biggest one in the southern hemisphere is in Blumenau, in the state of Santa Catarina in Brazil where there is a large German speaking immigrant population.
These days many clubs and alcohol serving establishments will also celebrate the Oktoberfest.
Some good German beers to try there are:
Franziskaner, Weihenstephaner, Warsteiner, Krombacher, Hansa Pils, Bitburger Pils, Augustiner, Hofbrau and Erdinger to name a few.
The songs sung at the Oktoberfest, are traditional usually Bavarian beer drinking songs, which can sing about things like beautiful Munich town (In Munchen steht ein Hofbrauhaus), who has enough money to order and pay for another round, (Wer soll das bezahlen), or the soldier on the mountain who couldn’t walk further, because his pants were full (droben auf Bergl).