A Beer Lovers Dream – Oktoberfest

Posted by BeerMaven | German Beer | Posted on March 3rd

If there were ever a holiday to celebrate beer enthusiasm, Oktoberfest would be that holiday. Lasting for 16-18 days each year, the festival brings out the inner beer lover in billions of people worldwide. Although only 5 million of these people will ever attend the festival in Munich each year, other cities mimic the festival with their own, drawing in a greater crowd of beer drinkers than any other holiday or festival in the world. Beer clubs send out special vintage Oktoberfest beers during this time of year and this is an occasion that introduces many people to their first microbrew.

The first Oktoberfest was held in Munich on October 12, 1810 as a celebration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, which took place five days prior to the celebration. Included in the festivities was an elaborately organized horse race and due to the great crowds that the celebration drew, another event was scheduled for the following year. In the years to follow, additions would be made to the horse race, and soon the festival included an agricultural show, a carnival and a parade.

During the First World War, the festival was cancelled. Due to inflation and other factors, the festival did not resume until the fifth year after the conclusion of World War One. In 1939, due to World War Two, the festival would be cancelled again. After the conclusion of the war, the festival began to gain popularity and by 1960, Oktoberfest was famous all around the world.

Since 1950, the festival begins with a 12 gun salute and the tapping of the first keg. This must take place at 12:00 and the Mayor of Munich must be the one to tap the keg each year. The first beer is always served to the Minister-President of the State of Bavaria and the festival commences with massive crowds lining up for Oktoberfest beers.

Many microbrew beers are made now to be specific “Oktoberfest Beers” and beer clubs and breweries release their Oktoberfest beers in the month leading up to Oktoberfest. The breweries will usually end distribution for the year shortly after the festival is over. For this reason, Oktoberfest beers are seasonal.

I still cannot decide what I personally like the most about Oktoberfest. It could be the music, the carnivals, the barmaid outfits, or perhaps the history behind it all. Nah, although all of those things are awesome, it just wouldn’t be Oktoberfest without the most important ingredient of all— the beer.

Leave a Reply