Tagged as the ‘thinking man’s Oktoberfest’, The Munich Strong Beer Festival, or Starkbierzeit, clearly has much to live up to. Surviving Oktoberfest demands stamina, endurance and a sense of humour as you pour litres of cold lager into your wilting body whilst swaying to an oompah band trying not soil your trousers. So quite how upping the strength of the beer for this little known Springtime Beer Festival makes that more of an intellectually stimulating experience is one to work out.
Starting in March and running for three weeks, it celebrates the legend of the Paulaner monks, who used to supp extra strong beer to get them through Lent. They brewed a cheeky little number called Salvator which back in the 17th Century ‘went viral’ amongst the Munchen beer drinkers. Things really took off when Napoleon rode in and sold all the monasteries, with one enterprising young chap called Xavier Zacherl turning his into a huge beer hall and mass producing the monk’s tipple.
Soon everyone was getting in on the act and producing their own doppelbocks, which start at 7.5%, and this festival is a celebration of the monks and their super strength beer. The site of Zacherl’s beer hall is still the main gathering site for the fortnight’s events. Be sure to visit Forschungbrauerie, all the beer brewed here is drunk on the premises and what’s more it’s one of the few places left in Munich where you get to drink from traditional ceramic mugs.
With boulder throwing competitions, brass bands and buxom waitresses chucked in to the mix there’s clearly something for everyone and what’s more it’s still largely unknown amongst the travelling masses. So, go ahead experiment with your brain cells they could be stimulated, they could be destroyed but either way it might be fun to find out.
First 3 weeks in March.
Visit any of the main bars to find the party such as: The Hofbrauhaus, Lowenbraukeller, and Augustiner Grossgastsatte.