Oktoberfest, Oh my!

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September 26th 2012
Published: September 28th 2012
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MJ, Dave and BobMJ, Dave and BobMJ, Dave and Bob

What a blast!
For those of you who find beer to be their primary choice of adult beverage, this blog’s for you. This entry is not for the person who “occasionally” has a cold beer on a hot summer afternoon, and certainly not for those who indulge in low calorie beers. You may simply move on friend, for this is a blog that centers on the gathering of thousands of Germans and others making the pilgrimage to the center of the beer universe…..Oktoberfest!! A time each fall when men slap on their best lederhosen, don a hat that sometimes resembles the one that Marvin the Martian wears on those Warner Bros. cartoons, and women wear dresses that accentuate a certain part of their anatomy. And then the drinking begins….

Attended by well over 6 million festival goers each year, there are some dozen or so “main” beer tents that each seats well over five thousand people each. All the major Munich breweries are represented and all serve traditional German food along with an estimated seven million gallons of some of the finest brews available. The beer served must be brewed in Munich and specifically according to special laws. More on that later. Can it get any better? You bet it does, as there are bands in each tent that play traditional music punctuated by short snazzy tunes that encourage, what else? Beer drinking!

Upon our arrival to the area that houses Oktoberfest, we immediately realized that this was no ordinary festival. There were wall-to-wall people strolling the grounds, tens of thousands of them of all ages. Although best known to many as a beer drinking fest, there were also rides for kids of all ages, different local foods to sample along with souvenirs of the famed event. Young and old, they all came to enjoy everything the fest had to offer. It made for some superior people watching. Folks with all types of garb on, everything from the traditional German threads to a guy with a t-shirt that read, “instant genius, just add beer.”

A few words about the beer tents. As we wandered into the Fest, we walked up to a beer tent, only to discover that you needed a reservation to get in. A reservation to drink beer? Yes. Not only that, it’s not like you can just buy a beer and walk
Brutus can party!Brutus can party!Brutus can party!

What.....you had doubts?
around. You need to either be inside one of the beer tents, or sitting (not standing) in the table area just outside the beer tents.

This made us stop and consider our next move. Dave suggested that we walk towards one of the beer tents a little more out of the action. No luck. MJ and Bob strolled over to the picnic tables to scout out a potential seat. Dave stood in line, hopeful to get in. Just then, one of the waiters comes out of the blue and asks Dave if he has a reservation. Dave tells him “no,” and the man says to Dave to walk up the stairs to the left, mention his name to the security man at the door, and we can get in. This sounded too good to be true. But it wasn’t. Dave collected Bob and MJ and the waiter proceeded to guide us all into the beer tent. We were in!! Nirvana was ours! Just standing in a line minding his own business gained us admission. What luck!

If you would like some more information about the event and the beer tent reservations, send us a private message. We’d be glad to assist anyone in search of the wonderful beer found at this festival.

Anyone who knows Dave also is keenly aware of his prediliction for the finest hops and grains that unleash the potential to become anything from an amber, to a golden ale, to a pilsner all the way to a Russian Imperial stout and everything in between. Nirvana was his upon arrival to Munich. Not only that, Dave’s brother Bob flew in from Charlotte, North Carolina to join in the festivities. Now there were two Binkleys on the loose in a city that celebrates great beer. Merry Jo was certain to have her hands full keeping track of these two beer hounds….and was. The pictures tell the story best, but the smiles on all the faces can only lead one to believe the quote that Benjamin Franklin left us with, “beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

Yes there were some folks who had clearly imbibed way too much of the golden liquid, but for the most part, people were cheerful, happy and busy drinking beer, enjoying some fellowship and singing
Brutus with German FriendsBrutus with German FriendsBrutus with German Friends

at the Hofbrauhouse
traditional German tunes with thousands of their closest friends. The young ones who underestimate their ability to handle the potent brew and pass out are referred to as "Bierleichen" (German for "beer corpses").

If you order a beer, be prepared and be thirsty, because each one comes in a heavy glass mug that holds one liter of this golden nectar. This is not the place for those who only want “one bottle” of beer. For our American friends, one liter equals about 33 ounces. You do the math from here and realize that is just short of three beers per glass. This good people, is serious beer drinking at it’s finest.

“Twenty four hours in a day. Twenty-four beers in a case. Coincidence?”Stephen Wright

What started out over 200 years ago as a celebration of King Ludwig and his bride, has included horse races over the years and also incorporated an agricultural show as part of the festivities. The horse races are no more, but the agricultural part still carries on. It has been held continuously with the exception of a cholera outbreak (now that
Binkley Boys & a beer festBinkley Boys & a beer festBinkley Boys & a beer fest

Is the world safe?
is a good reason not to have large amounts of people congregate) and wars (which definitely puts a damper on a party).

“You can never buy beer, you just rent it.” - Archie Bunker

For those of you still reading, this is a good time to delve into the substance of the brewing process, the “German Purity Law,” which essentially governs which ingredients are to be in beer and the like. We reference the Reinheitsgebot (German Purity Law) adopted in 1516, the oldest provision still enforced to protect the consumer.

In the original text, the only ingredients that could be used in the production of beer were water, barley and hops. The Reinheitsgebot is no longer part of German law: it has been replaced by the Provisional German Beer Law, which allows constituent components prohibited in the Reinheitsgebot, such as yeast, wheat malt and cane sugar, but which no longer allows unmalted barley.

Note that no yeast was mentioned in the original text. It was not until the 1800s that LouisPasteur discovered the role of microorganisms in the process of fermentation; therefore, yeast was not known
Lots of singingLots of singingLots of singing

Our new friend
to be an ingredient of beer. Brewers generally took some sediment from the previous fermentation and added it to the next, the sediment generally containing the necessary organisms to perform fermentation. If none were available, they would set up a number of vats, relying on natural airborne yeast to inoculate the brew.

Hops are added to beer to impart flavors but also act as a preservative, and their mention in the Reinheitsgebot meant to prevent alternative methods of preserving beer that had been used before the introduction of hops. Medieval brewers had used many problematic ingredients to preserve beers, including, for example soot and fly agarics mushrooms. More commonly, other "gruit" herbs had been used, such as stinging nettle and henbane. Indeed, the German name of the latter, Bilsenkraut, may originally mean "Plzenherb"; that this region was a major centre of beer brewing long before the invention of (Reinheitsgebot-compliant) Pilsner.

The penalty for making impure beer was also set in the Reinheitsgebot: a brewer using other ingredients for his beer could have questionable barrels confiscated with no compensation.

German breweries are very proud of the Reinheitsgebot, and many (even brewers of wheat beer) claim to still abide by it.

In other words:

“Life is too short to drink cheap beer.” - Anonymous

And so dear friends, we came, we saw, we imbibed. We leave you with a brief exchange from the TV show, “Cheers.”

Woody the bartender: How are you feeling today Mr. Peterson?

Norm: poor

Woody: Oh, I’m sorry to hear that Mr. Peterson.

Norm: No, I mean, “pour”

Additional photos below
Photos: 39, Displayed: 27


Can Bob lift 3?Can Bob lift 3?
Can Bob lift 3?

Dave's brother Bob
Can Dave lift 3?Can Dave lift 3?
Can Dave lift 3?

And lean back so I can take the photo?
Embracing the beerEmbracing the beer
Embracing the beer

Embracing friends
Lots of smilesLots of smiles
Lots of smiles

beer festivals make people happy...we wonder why??
Lots of dancingLots of dancing
Lots of dancing

Pschorr Brau Beer house
Marching Band MemberMarching Band Member
Marching Band Member

Their uniforms kind of looked like something Napoleon Bonaparte would wear, but they played very well!
1st Beer1st Beer
1st Beer

Oktoberfest 2012

28th September 2012
MJ, Dave and Bob

we always wanted to do this and even though we have family in Bavaria we never have;-( looks like a blast!!! enjoy, B&T
3rd October 2012
MJ, Dave and Bob

You must add it to your list
A great time was had by all. Beer, food, good people. That is all you need.
28th September 2012

Nice Freudian spelling mistake: Leiderhosen; leider means unfortunately in German, which is just the right word for this unfortunate choice of garment. I still think one of the main reasons foreigners visit the Oktoberfest is to see and experience all the 'German' stereotypes, which are essentially Bavarian, like beer, Lederhosen, atrocious oompah-music, sausages and blonde women with big knockers. There is an infinite number of beerfests all over Germany where you get less hassles (e.g. needing a reservation for the beer tents) and better, cheaper beer, plus they wouldn't dare pouring you a litre with 25-50% foam there. Glad you enjoyed it, though.
3rd October 2012

Hi Jens,
Thanks for pointing out the misspelling. Now that I know the meaning of the misspelling...maybe we got it right and they got it wrong...just thinking. It was good to watch the Germans embrace their heritage and just have a good time. We would like to go to one of the smaller ones sometime. Sounds great.
28th September 2012

Love this Blog!
I always wanted to go to Oktoberfest and now, by living vicariously through you, I have! And, while I like beer as much as the next German-American, I can't imagine drinking more than two - I guess that's why all the food is there. I like your quotes, but there's something I've got to ask - who is Brutus and why does he get to go to all those cool places?
3rd October 2012

Hello Nanci,
Oktoberfest is worth the trip. Loved it. A unique experience. I only drank 1 1/2 beers. Way too big for me. We are older adults and paced ourselves. We did not embarrass ourselves. Yes, the food is the key and drinking slowly while singing. Brutus is Dave's college mascot from "The Ohio State". He is a world traveler and only drinks the finest brews. He does like to see new things.
28th September 2012

Ohh you lucky, lucky things....
Now I am seriously suffering from pangs of jealousy! The Oktoberfest always serves up my absolute favourite tipple, Spaten Munchen! What I'd do for a few bottles now. Looks like you had an absolute blast :D
3rd October 2012

Hi Nick,
Yes, that is the kind of blog you need to pour your self a beer to read. We had a fine time. Everyone was so nice! Wish we could send you a few kegs of some great beer. Cheers.
28th September 2012

Now that's what we call a beer!
How did you even lift those glasses?! Glad you are enjoying Germany and the beer on offer, looks like you are having fun!
3rd October 2012

Hi Donna and Neil,
Indeed a great question! Those glasses are so heavy. It took two hands...although the German's taught us to do it with one. They are talented. The waiters would carry 14 at a time. Amazing. That is a lot of beer. A blast was had by all.
28th September 2012

Such fun reading about your Germany visit. I lived in Germany (Bavaria) for 2 years in the sixties and was there for 2 Oktoberfests. Your descriptions and pictures brought back many memories. Oktoberfest is all about FUN! I lived in a town named Bad Windsheim which is about 20 kilometers from Rothenberg aub der Tauber and during the two years visited many Bavarian towns so I knew that area pretty well. Scott and I visited there about 10 years ago and found changes, of course, but not the drastic changes you found in Berlin. Looking forward to your next blog. We just got back from Sicily night before last and had a wonderful visit. The Roman and Greek ruins there are amazingly well preserved, as good as many we've seen in Greece and other parts of Italy and the people were wonderful. An added bonus which we hadn't planned on in Palermo... we had a chance to see the opera Madam Butterfly on it's last performance in the Palermo Opera House, Teatro Massimo (built in 1897ish)on the night before we left. Neither of us is an opera buff but couldn't pass up the chance to see one in one of the grand old european opera houses. I strongly recommend Sicily....we saw all the expected things, Taormina, Siracusa, Segesta etc. but also stayed in a town named Cefalu which isn't on the tourist radar in a big way (hotels and restaurants are fine but no hoards of cruisers) which I would suggest going to when you do Sicily. Too many things to go into now but when you get Sicily on an itinerary I'll make other suggestions.
3rd October 2012

Hello Sonja,
Sounds like an amazing time going on in Sicily. We have it on our list for the future. Wow I'll bet madam Butterfly was excellent. Cefalu sounds off the path so would be great to check out. Thanks for following along and writing.
28th September 2012

Holy Heck of a lot of Fun!
Wow, I can tell you 3 (4 including the outgoing Brutus) had a great great time. I really enjoyed reading this blog. To be honest, Oktoberfest was something I knew about only in broad strokes. It was fun to read about it from a visitor's point of view. As much as I hate crowds, I think even I would enjoy this- the people in your photos all looked like they were having such fun. Thanks for sharing this.
3rd October 2012

Hello Brendan,
Fun is being had by all! I was surprised how much I enjoyed myself at Oktoberfest. A truly unique experience. The crowds were civilized so I do not think it would have bothered you much. Only in the Hofbrauhouse was there any real craziness. The other tents were great. Too many young folks at the Hofbrauhouse trying to see how much they could drink in an hour. Yuck.
29th September 2012

Great Blog
I really enjoyed your descriptions of the Oktoberfest event. When I lived in Reno, Nevada there was a much smaller Oktoberfest that lasted several days each year. There were various contests and one of them required ladies who volunteered to hold an empty mug straight out at shoulder height. Music played and one by one the ladies gave up until the last one who received a prize. Judy, a good friend of mine won.
30th September 2012

What fun! Glad you guys got in despite not having reservations. All the Germans I know are super-friendly and know how to have a good time, sounds like you met more like them. p.s. great Cheers quote at the end. ;]
3rd October 2012

Beer lovers unite
When beer lovers get together you will always have good fun. Yes, everyone was so wonderful and happy. What a festival. Glad you continue to read along.
1st October 2012

Dream come true!
How fabulous that you got to go to beer drinker's nirvana and Dave's brother got to join you too! How wonderful that everyone was so open and friendly (I guess a liter of beer helps with that)! I imagine you'll be able to share this adventure with beer aficionados for years to come!
3rd October 2012

Dave is a beer snob so he was in heaven!
WE had a great time and it was such a pleasure to have Dave's brother join us. Life is short and it was a wonderful memory. Thanks for writing.
2nd October 2012

Now You Have Me Jealous
Here I am trying to maintain my focus on building, digging and becoming more responsible and you sneak up with a great post on the Oktoberfest. Ruined I am. Thanks for this one. We will have to make sure we get to Germany at the appropriate time one day.
3rd October 2012

Hello my friends,
So fantastic to hear from you. It would have been great to share a beer or two with you. Glad the digging and building is going well. Did you get a dog yet? Love to hear more from you. Please send a note from time to time. You would love Oktoberfest.
11th October 2012

Really looks like you had a great time at the Octoberfest. I went there myself along with an American and English girl back in 1974 driving a Volkswagon Van up from Athens Greece and through Italy and Austria on the way. It was a great time and one I still think of as one of my best trips. The American girl had friends in Munich and it really helped having people who knew the way around as well as a place we could stay at. It took me over a week to get from Athens to Munich exploring along the way, and camping in the van. It was a great trip.
11th October 2012

Sounds like a fantastic trip you had back in the 70's
Always good to have a local showing you the ropes. Would love to have made that camper van trip. Sounds like great memories.

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