September 24, 2007
Nothing says “September” like Oktoberfest! Huh? As many of our members can tell you, the three-week Oktoberfest celebration was initially less than a week long and began as a celebration of the marriage between Germany’s Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen—let’s just call her “Terry”—that was eventually extended to make the most of the beautiful September weather. While the wedding doesn’t seem to be the main focus anymore, there is still a great sense of pride among merrymakers, from the authentic costumes worn by some to the homemade weisswurst enjoyed by many. All beer served at this brew-centric extravaganza is local. Only six breweries are allowed in: Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbrauhaus, Lowenbrau, Paulaner, and Spaten. There are no restrictions on visitors, though, and plenty of IgoUgo members have ventured to Munich for this annual spectacle.
When Roozie visited, she saw more than just beer, claiming it was more “like the world's largest carnival.” She didn’t see anyone go too far “over the top” with all the beer drinking, but she advises revelers to be aware as you consume all that liquid that there are only pay toilets. And that you should brush up on your lyrics from a certain ‘80s film before you go.
But it’s not all about drinking, as miriam1981 can tell you, and the resplendent—and televised—parades are only one example. Another member, Stavvy, had a different experience altogether, claiming that “if you actually came to Oktoberfest to do anything but drink beer, you’re probably in the wrong place at the wrong time,” and that the “bierleichen,” or “beer corpses”—those who have succumbed to too many of the liter-sized beers—are visible in most tents.
Those tents, however, are where the action is. Each brewery has its own, under which tables are set for revelers to enjoy their beer and food. Reno native RamblingRose spent A Day in Munich and recommends that you make a reservation at a beer tent “for the full experience.” Of course, her home state plays host to one of the countless versions of Oktoberfest that pop up all around the globe. She’s not the only one with easy access, either. Claiming that her hometown holds the largest Oktoberfest outside of Munich, abstele12 enjoys sharing her tips on the weekend-long (and reasonably priced) party in “Zinzinnati.”
Other notables include an East Coast extravaganza with Big Apple native and dog-lover jaebirdypie and a western wingding at the Fremont Oktoberfest, where Sognatore admitted to being unable to stop after just five samples. In between coasts, member wildhoney269 may or may not have taken an extended lunch break from work in Chicago.
It is possible, though unlikely, that you love beer, but not German beer. If so, skip Oktoberfest and head instead to the Great American Beer Festival. The GABF is entering its 26th year of celebrating American brewers and shows no signs of slowing down. Even oenophile winetraveller confesses that the festival is Beer Heaven in Denver and “definitely worth checking out.”
Wherever you go for a pint, make sure you do so responsibly, but have fun, travel safely, and enjoy the company of your fellow revelers (previewed below). Prost!