It was one year ago that we went to Europe for the first time. We planned the timing of our trip around when Oktoberfest was happening in Munich, Germany. We HAD to see the real Oktoberfest… because beer.
This isn’t a typical recipe post, this one is about my experience at Oktoberfest. It was so amazing to experience Germany – the historical buildings, the amazing scenery, the delicious food and the friendly people and their absolute love of beer. Please enjoy this small recap of my experience at the biggest beer festival around.
This is the town hall in Marienplatz. Just breathtaking…
The real Oktoberfest happens in September and ends the first week of October. We happened to be there on the first day of the festival – September 20, 2013. The day started off with a huge parade at 9 a.m. I believe the purpose of the parade is to literally parade the kegs of beer down to the tents. There were carts of kegs being pulled by horses (and sometimes bulls) and lots of people playing music, waving flags and chugging pints of beer while saying, “prost!”
Did I mention the was 9:00 in the morning?
I had to get a dirndl to wear to Oktoberfest (A dirndl is a type of dress worn in Germany). There are tons of stores that sell all kinds, ranging from $80 all the way to like $800 or more. The styles seem to be pretty hip:
After the parade, we followed the crowd to the festival. There are many giant tents (if you call them tents… more like buildings that look kind of like tents) and each features one type of beer. All around there are carnival rides and games and SO MANY sausages. It’s better than any fair I’ve ever been to. Hofbrau beer is a local Munich beer so we decided to go into that tent. We ended up only going in that one tent because it took so long to get in and we had so much fun once inside that we didn’t make it to any others.
We had to wait in line to get inside the tent. After almost 2 hours of standing there, they finally let us in. Good thing there were interesting people outside that kept us entertained with their beer chugging. We wanted to just give up so many times but everyone else around us kept waiting so we knew it had to be worth it… and IT WAS. As soon as we walked in, the energy from what was going on inside just exploded in your face! Everyone was smiling, laughing, cheering, hugging eachother and chugging beer.
The beer is delivered by these super strong ladies who carry like 6 pints at once. These pints are so heavy, I could barely twist my wrist to drink when holding it by the handle.
In order to get a beer, you have to have a table (or at least stand by one) and when the lady comes by, you have to push your way through and give her your money fast. if you’re too slow, you miss out. These ladies don’t mess around either- they will literally shove you out of the way. I was standing against a wall and all of a sudden, SLAM! I was nearly knocked over!
I tried to get a good picture, but these ladies moved too fast:
We ended up sitting at a table with a bunch of people from Italy. I barely remember what we talked about now but there was a lot of “prosts” and laughter. It was seriously a good time.
There was a live band playing polka-style music. Every so often, the entire tent would erupt with an epic chant to the tune of “Seven Nation Army” by White Stripes which we thought was cool yet unexpected.
Later in the afternoon we left the tent and got some food. We also decided to join the other people on the grass hill behind the beer tents. Looked like a good place to take a nap.
Oktoberfest in Munich is so different than the Oktoberfest you find here in the USA. The ones I’ve been to in Orange County or Los Angeles usually have angry and rude security guards at the door who demand to see ID and rudely search your bags. The one I went to in Anaheim wasn’t too bad but you just don’t get that friendly, welcoming vibe like you do in Germany.
So the real Oktoberfest was SO much fun. I definitely recommend a visit if you ever find yourself in Munich during the month of September. Germans are proud of their beer and I don’t blame them, it’s good!