Dust off the dirndl and lederhosen, serve up some würst and sip on some foamy märzens—it’s Oktoberfest! Although the 16-day Munich festival began September 19, the celebration is just getting started on this side of the pond.
This year marks the 182th Munich Oktoberfest, a festival that has morphed into a global affair. It’s the world’s largest fair, with more some six million people expected to attend this year. Oktoberfest has been a Bavarian tradition since 1810 although not held every year because of reasons such as war, cholera epidemics and economic troubles. It began when crown prince Ludwig, who became king of Bavaria in 1825, married princess Therese of Saxe-Hildurghausen. The festival continues to this day at the same location, Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s meadow”).
In Germany, the only beers allowed at Oktoberfest are those that have a minimum ABV of 6 percent and are brewed within Munich city limits: Spaten, Löwenbräu, Augustiner-Bräu, Hofbräu-München, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr. Dubbed märzen, these specialty brews have become one of the most popular seasonal beers in the United States, with plenty of craft breweries getting in on the fun, including some of our favorite Palm Beach County breweries. Check out who’s brewing what, the 411 on one of the largest Oktoberfest parties in the country, a week solely dedicated to hops, and a crash course on Munich’s Oktoberfest superstars.
Drink responsibly and plan ahead for transportation. Prost! (Cheers!).