Oktoberfest beer

Oktoberfest When is Oktoberfest and other important questions

Oktoberfest is the largest beer festival in the world. Last year, 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 come to the interesting facts, let's first discuss the basics.

Oktoberfest beer is similar to a Märzen, it is a low fermentation beer. It is in fact strong and darker in colour than traditional beers

The origin lies in the Märzen

Before the invention of the modern refrigerator techniques, there was a summer brewing ban in 19th century  Bavaria. This meant that in March they brewed, large quantities of slightly stronger, copper-coloured beers. These were then stored in cool cellars to be consumed in the summertime. But how did this copper-coloured lager become a festival beer? At the end of the summer, people celebrated the autumn festivals and needed to drink the oldest beers first - in comes the Märzen.

Like liquid bread

Oktoberfest beer came a little later. Munich malt gives the beer its caramel notes and also makes it a bit lighter and more drinkable than a Märzen. The taste is malty and sweet, almost like a “liquid bread"..

>> Decoding beer styles, here are all the styles at a glance

Oktoberfest Bier in Fässern auf Wagen

German Beer Case

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Beer is a huge part of Germany’s culture. Their commitment to high quality, traditional beer is famed the world over. Wherever you go in Germany, you’re never too far from delicious, hoppy goodness. For those not hopping over to the continent anytime soon, we have the next best thing! 16 crafty, classic German icons such as Helles, Hefeweizen and Märzen to really get stuck into this country’s beer styles. Prost!

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1. When is Oktoberfest 2019?

Oktoberfest is in fact in September, it starts with ‘Tapping the barrel’ on Saturday September 21st 2019 at midday. You will find out about this when you read on

2. Who can call it 'Oktoberfest beer'? Who makes it?

Because Oktoberfest beer is a protected brand, only the traditional Munich breweries can call their beers Oktoberfest beer: Augustiner, Hacker Pschorr, Löwenbräu, Spatenbräu, Paulaner and Hofbräu.

Schneider Weisse , a beer that was also available at Oktoberfest until the Second World War, they now brew their original beer again, however they call it Schneider Weisse Fest Weisse (TAP 4). And Schoppebräu who are from Berlin? They just call their beer "This is not October**** beer".

3. What is the strongest Oktoberfest beer? Hofbräu - but beware!

  • At 6.3% ABV, the Oktoberfest beer from Hofbräu is the highest in alcohol.
  • The lowest alcohol content comes from Hacker Pschorr with 5.8%.
  • All the other Oktoberfest breweries fall somewhere in between: Spatenbräu at 5.9%, Paulaner and Augustiner with 6.0% and Löwenbräu with 6.1% alcohol.

Disclaimer: To all those attending, you may not notice how strong the beer is until it’s too late - so best to drink slowly.

4. How should you hold a beer at Oktoberfest?

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 have to 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.

5. How much does a beer cost at Oktoberfest?

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.

For those who prefer to enjoy their beer at a more affordable price, our Oktoberfest pack is just right for you: 12 exciting beers that combine Bavarian tradition with a modern touch.

6. Who taps the first beer?

This is what we references 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 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!”.

7. Was there beer at the very first Oktoberfest?

Yes, and no. The first Oktoberfest dates back to 1810, when the wedding of Ludwig von Bayern and Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen was celebrated on the Munich Theresienwiese for all of 5 days. It was such a hit that the festival became an annual event. Of course, there was something to drink even then, not served directly at the festival but on a nearby hill. Only later were beer sales also permitted on the Theresienwiese.

This always explains where it gets the name 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!

8. Where does the Oktoberfest beer song come from?

The song sung at Oktoberfest, “Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit” doesn’t in fact come from Bavaria, but from Chemnitz in Saxony. Composed by Bernhard Dittrich, it was incorporated into the festival in 1912, by then howevere the composer had already died.

Bring Oktoberfest home!

Perfect for any Oktoberfest party:

The SUB

  • You can of course draught any beer from our selection, but why not get into the spirits of things and tap some German beers
  • Cooled to 2 ° C
  • Load it up with 2L kegs
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Bring Oktoberfest home!

SUB Compact Black - 2L

-31%

Compatible with 2 litre SUB Kegs

€ 129,00 € 89,00

Hopfmeister Franz Josef TORP - 2L keg

Lager | 5,1% | 2 Litres

€ 15,99

Edelweiss Hefetrüb TORP - 2L Keg (Best Before: 30-04-2020)

-33%

German Wheat Beer | 5,3% | 2 Litres

€ 9,49 € 6,39

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