Here’s a primer on the history of Oktoberfest and it’s beer, and more importantly, the answer to the most burning question in our minds: Why the heck is Oktoberfest in September???
So back in the stone ages when I was just a young duffer, I took a year to travel around Europe with a good pal of mine. We saw a lot of Europe on that trip and were only shot at with a rifle once which was good because luck can only take you so far. Anyway, we were cruising around in the fall and had Oktoberfest marked down as something that we definitely wanted to see and drink. We wound our way through the alps of Austria and rolled into Munich on October 15th. We were somewhat surprised when we did not see the expected jubilant frolicking, dancing, and celebrating of Oktoberfest. Upon asking a friendly shop owner where we could find Oktoberfest, we were told that we were in the exact right location, but that it had ended two weeks ago. As it turned out, Oktoberfest runs from September 19th through the first Sunday of October (and this schedule varies slightly from year to year). Although we were sorely disappointed in our crack research and scheduling team, we luckily were able to find a fine establishment in which to drown our sorrows. So note to self: If you want to go to Oktoberfest in Munich, it’s better to schedule it for the end of September instead of mid-October.
Now that you’ve suffered through my sob story, here’s a bit of factual information on the subject:
What has become Oktoberfest was first celebrated from October 12th through the 17th in Munich Germany in 1810. The Cause Celeb was the marriage of Prince Ludwig to Princess Terese. Being a friendly couple they invited all of Munich to their little shindig, and a rather good time was had by all. To put an exclamation point on the event, they held horse races on the 17th. The next fall, when everybody started to get really thirsty again, they decided to hold another celebration surrounding the horse races, and Oktoberfest was born.
Throughout the 19th century the festival took on a more carnivalesque character with the addition of a large parade, bowling alleys, swings, and of course, tree climbing. These activities were mainly fueled by delicious and nutritious beer, although occasionally somebody would stop to eat some cured meat product or a strudel.
Sadly, there have been years when Oktoberfest has not been celebrated due to pesky little wars and once in 1853 for a cholera epidemic which killed 3,000 residents of Munich. This has occurred 24 times in the 215 year run that Oktoberfest has been on. We can only assume that on these years the residents of munich found other ways to drink beer.
Speaking of beer drinking, they are somewhat rigid about it in Germany. For instance, there are only six breweries who are permitted to serve beer at Oktoberfest. These breweries must conform to ‘Reinheitsgebot’, or the German Purity Laws for brewing beer which demand that the only the four basic ingredients be used: Hops, Malted Barley, Yeast, and of course water. They also must be located within the city limits of Munich. Here are the six:
We’ll have the Hofbräu beer on tap as well as other German, domestic, and local Oktoberfest beers!
Come celebrate with us on Saturday, September 22nd!
Live tuba band: 4:00-6:00p.m.
Fresh baked German pretzels
German brats and Kraut from Suppertime!
Flights of all 6 Oktoberfest beers are $15.
We’re offering custom Dram Shop Steins! Buy one for $20 and get your first beer free plus any Oktoberfest beer for $3 all week long. Not only that, but if you have a stein from last year you can bring it in during Oktoberfest and get $3 beers!
-Zach Millar & The Dram Team