Munich’s Oktoberfest is by far the biggest and most popular German beer festival, but there are other alternatives for those looking to taste some of the country’s best brews. With often inflated prices and floods of tourists, Oktoberfest may not be the best option; especially for anyone wanting to book this late in the summer. However, Starkbierfest could be the perfect choice.
Translated as ‘strong beer festival’, the event is still held in Munich but at the start of spring instead of October. Many of the brewers that attend Oktoberfest will be present along with smaller crowds, the same party atmosphere and prices that are much more appealing.
Here is what to expect from Munich’s Starkbierfest.
It wouldn’t be a German beer festival without the traditions that have been around for hundreds of years. From classic German music to authentic steins to drink from, there will be more than just a tip of the hat to the German beer drinkers of old. Servers walk around in traditional lederhosen and Dirndl dresses, as the ‘fifth season’ in the Munich calendar gets into full swing.
Starkbier, or strong beer, was first brewed in 1651 by the Paulaner monks. During lent, they needed something to get them through the day, keeping their spirits and their calorific intake high. They labelled the strong brew ‘liquid bread’, due to its ability to substitute the meals that they couldn’t eat. Each year, thanks and praise are given to these monks for bringing starkbier to the masses.
Beers With An ‘ator’ Suffix
The Paulaner monks settled on the name Salvator, meaning saviour, for their fist starkbier and it has been tradition to give all strong beers a name that includes the suffix ‘ator’ ever since. These are known as bock beers; a particular type of brew which is strong in alcohol levels, with a high percentage of solids and made for drinking at a time of year when the weather is still quite cold.
Whilst some of the beers may feel like a meal in themselves, there is no substitute for the ultimate food that is paired with beer in Germany. Wursts of many different kinds will be on offer throughout the Starkbierfest, giving you the perfect excuse to try a wide range of varieties. As well as traditional sausages, there will also be plenty of pretzels, sauerkraut and Knödeln (potato dumplings) to feast on.
Derblecken is another tradition associated with Starkbierfest. It takes place the day before the festival starts, at a ceremony that marks the tapping of the first beer keg. It can be described as a kind of comedy roast, where local comedians poke fun at celebrities and politicians that have been in the news. The name is thought to have derived from the German for baring one's teeth.
If you are looking for an alternative to Oktoberfest, Munich’s Starkbierfest is an excellent option. In 2016, it will be held between the 19th of February and the 19th of March and Fred.\ Holidays can arrange your trip. Call our team today or submit an online enquiry.