The reasons why binge drinking has become so successful in Britain is that beer is so damned tasty and makes you feel a million dollars.It lacks the pomposity of wine, is more inclusive than a cocktail and has less finality about it than a shot; quite simply it’s our friend when times are good or indeed bad. It’s not just tramps and binge drinkers that love the golden nectar either, thousands of us around the world crave nothing more than having the odd weekend where we try to drink as much of the stuff as humanly possible with close friends and there’s no better place to do this than theOktoberfest in Municheach year.
Germany’s love affair with beer goes back centuriesand it’s always centred around Bavaria and its capital of Munich, and thank goodness it has because without the Oompah bands, without the skin-tight suede lederhosen and without the classically adorned barmaids it would be a much more hollow experience. Starting life as a wedding celebration in 1810, it begins this year on Saturday 22nd September and runs a full 17 days until October 7th, making it the largest fair in the world and one that over 6 million people will visit.
It’s held in a park-like field called Theresienwieseand this holds the 14 large beer tents and the numerous smaller ones. These are all non-permanent structures but in usual German fashion, the Major Beer Tents can hold over 6000 people each and probably come out smiling from a Force 10 hurricane. The smaller tents can accommodate as few as 90 people, they also serve beer but are usually where the food is served and in some cases extensions of bars and cafes from the city centre.
Here are our picks on the best tents to go to:
The Hofbrauhaus– probably the most famous drinking establishment in the whole of Germany and for good reason, a great atmosphere and always a friendly welcome.
Hacker– Bavarian Heaven: the usual beer fuelled revelry but this time with a Rock and Roll slant, anyone who needs a break from German brass bands should head here.
Schottenhamel– this is the tent where the Mayor of Munich taps the first barrel and declares the festival open. It’s traditional, it’s raucous and it’s a must.
Ammers Roasted Duck and Chicken– nothing will ever taste as good in your entire life as a pile of traditionally roasted chicken after trying to drink your own body weight in lager.
Wiesn Guglhupf– one of the best loved cafes in Munich has now been brought to the festival – something different for those needing a change from large crowds and oompah.
Glockle Wirt– the smallest tent at the Oktoberfest but easily the cosiest and most traditional.
This is a world renowned weekend away; people from all four corners come to say they’ve visited Oktoberfest even though few can actually remember being there. It also seems to be an antipodean rite of passage for any looking to venture out of London for a weekend. The Germans may not have had all the best ideas, but this one is a belter and goes some way to make up for the dodgy ones. Lastly, if boozing is your thing but Germany seems a bit far for a drink up, there are plenty of otherUK Beer Festivalsthat you can check out this year that require less of a journey.