Neil Miller from RealBeer discusses the global phenomena which is Oktoberfest...
For many beer drinkers round the world, October can only mean Oktoberfest. Actually, October means Oktoberfest is half over as Oktoberfest itself starts in September. This year, for example, it ran from 22 September to 7 October.
The first Oktoberfest took place on October 12th 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. It was so popular with the locals that the tradition has endured, and today around a fifth of the guests are from outside Germany.
And I can assure you they aren't there to celebrate a wedding.
Since its beginnings, the Oktoberfest has been cancelled just 24 times. Reasons for cancellation include the Napoleonic war, the Austro-Prussian war, the Franco-German war, the First and Second World Wars, two cholera epidemics and the divorce of King Ludwig I and Queen Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen due to dipsomania. (One of these is not completely true.)
Last year, the “world’s largest fair” attracted 6 million guests who drank a surprisingly restrained six million liters of beer, consumed a staggering one million sausages, and left an unrecorded number of drunken text messages.
Only beer from the local Munich breweries are served in the massive beer tents which can each hold thousands of drinkers. Brewed specifically to be available at festival time, Hofbrau Oktoberfest (5.7%) is a sandy, smooth, subtle beer with a peppery finish.
This beer finds its way to New Zealand most years, is well worth a try and is best drunk out of big stein accompanied by a plate of roast ox. The ox is best eaten whole.
Interestingly, the Hofbrau brewery is owned by the Bavarian Government.
Finally – a German drinking toast:
Das Leben ist bezaubernd, man muss es nur durch die richtige Brille sehen.
Life is wonderful,
you just need to see it through the right glasses.