Oktoberfest beer 2022
Everything you need to know about Oktoberfest and the beer!
Oktoberfest, which needs no introduction even to the most casual beer drinker, is the largest beer festival in the world. In 2019 alone, 7.5 million litres of Oktoberfest beer were served. That’s 15 million pints! But did you know that all Oktoberfest beer comes from just 6 breweries? Or why some people drink their beer out of a shoe?
Before we share all the information and exciting facts about the Oktoberfest with you, we want to caveat what will be stating here with a warning - the last two years have been cancelled due to COVID 19. We will assume it is going ahead in 2022 but please be aware details may change, so if you are interested in attending this year, keep your eye on official communications.
The Oktoberfest takes place every year in Munich in Germany. It is held on the largest fairground, the Theresienwiese, overlooked by the bronze, 18-metre-high Bavaria statue. It is attended by six million people from around the world!
Oktoberfest beers can be quite hard to classify, but they are mostly lagers. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. The beer has changed greatly since the 1800s. The original Oktoberfest beer was a malted stock with about 6% alcohol.
Today, Oktoberfest beer is slightly more golden than Helles but brewed with a stronger alcohol content. They no longer brew the amber brews made with Munich Malt we see in America. Many of the "Oktoberfest" beers intended to replicate actual Oktoberfest beers are based an older styles. Hence, many “Oktoberfest” beers are nothing like the real deal, served at the real Oktoberfest. There are only six breweries that brew pure Oktoberfest beer.
Because Oktoberfest beer is a protected brand, only the traditional Munich breweries can call their beers Oktoberfest beer: Augustiner, Hacker Pschorr, Löwenbräu, Spatenbräu, Hofbräu and Paulaner.
Paulaner is the number 1 Oktoberfest beer, and you can buy it at Beerwulf. Check them out below!
Disclaimer: If you are attending in future years, you may not notice how strong the beer is until it’s too late - so best to drink slowly.
Beer glasses at Oktoberfest contain a litre of beer, and if you want to do it properly, you must hold it by the handle. If you’re doing it correctly, you’ll notice a bruise on the top side of your hand the next day.
Being a server at Oktoberfest is, as you can imagine, a tough job. They must carry between 7 and 12 glasses at once from morning to night, for 16 days at a time. But it’s not all bad: rumour has it they can earn up to €10,000 in 16 days.
50 years ago, the price for a half pint of beer was around £1. If you went to the festival demanding that kind of price today, you’d probably be thrown out of most tents. Nowadays it’s £10 or £11 a beer at the event - even if you choose to drink it from your shoe.
This is what we referenced in the first question, with "tapping the barrel". On the first Saturday of Oktoberfest, the opening ceremony takes place in the Schottenhammelzelt. As part of the festivities, it’s up to the Mayor of Munich to tap the first beer. This tradition has existed since 1950 - the then mayor needed 17 taps! The current record is two taps, held by current Mayor Dieter Reiter. The festival opens with the words "O’zapft is – auf eine friedliche Wiesn!” meaning “It’s tapped - let’s have a peaceful Oktoberfest!”.
Yes, and no. The first Oktoberfest dates back to 1810, when Ludwig von Bayern and Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen got married. The celebration on the Munich Theresienwiese lasted for all of 5 days. It was such a hit that the festival became an annual event. Of course, even then there were many drinks flowing, not served directly at the festival but on a nearby hill - beer sales were then later permitted on the Theresienwiese.
This explains where the name comes from, despite being held in September. The festivities ended October 12th, 1810, with a horse race. It was such a hit they repeated the event the following year and brought it back to September. Weather played a huge part in this decision making!
The song "sung" at Oktoberfest, “Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit” doesn’t actually come from Bavaria. It comes from Chemnitz in Saxony, composed by Bernhard Dittrich. By the time it was introduced in 1912 however, the composer had already died.
If you want to celebrate at home, you can still celebrate in style, just bring Bavaria to your kitchen with good beers and good snacks.
A case of German lagers, Paulaner Weissbier or a home pulled pint of German beer is an absolutely grear way to party Bavarian style. Click on the links below for more info!