Everyone knows Oktoberfest, right? Beer tents, people in Bavarian clothes, giant mugs of beer, carnivals, the whole shebang. It’s one of the first things people think about when they think of Bavaria, so would you be surprised if I told you a lot of Bavarians can’t stand it?
The main reason is, of course, tourists. Oktoberfest gets overrun by tourists, partiers, and general craziness, and as someone who’s been two years (soon to be three) in a row, I gotta say, Munich’s Oktoberfest can be kind of tiresome.
This is a preview of Experience Germany: Straubing Fest.
“Oh God“, I hear you cry, “he’s writing about beer again!” Well, with three of my posts in the last year having beer inthetitle and my recent post on bottle deposits, you might think the topic has been covered as much as it can.
Yet far from being ashamed, I stand by my record! After all, there’s a good reason I drink so much beer in Germany: it’s the sheer variety, the fizzy excitement of discovering a new brew almost everywhere I go.
This is a preview of Campaigns Play on Local Rivalries to Promote Their Brew.
Growing up in the United States, I remember Easter as being a time to visit the grandparents. A few weeks beforehand my mother and I would go to a department store and buy an “Easter hat” (usually wide-brimmed with a pink bow around the base) and, every few years, a new dress to wear to church on Easter Sunday.
We would attend church with the whole family, and afterward my grandmother would hide hollow plastic eggs filled with candy, money, and toys around the yard. My three cousins and I would run around with baskets looking for them, then tally up the booty around the round kitchen table. It was a pretty traditional way to celebrate Easter, but then I moved to Germany, and I haven’t had a single traditional Easter since.
Our resident Bavarian with his first glass of the morning. Photo Nicolette Stewart.
Beer. Pretzels. Sausages dipped in sweet mustard and horseradish. Sound like fun? Probably. Sound like breakfast? Probably not. But in Bavaria weissbier or weizenbier (both names for wheat beer), weisswurst (white sausages), and bretzeln (pretzels) are a long-standing brunch tradition. And the name of the game is Frühschoppen.
Perhaps you remember the great cheap beer taste test of 2009. Well it turns out one night, six people, and 15 of the cheapest beers that we could find wasn’t going far enough. It was time to go advance to the next level in German beer connoisseur-ship and tackle wheat beer, with a side of sausage and pretzels.
This is a preview of Frühschoppen: German Beer for Breakfast.
Usually, clearing up after a party is a thoroughly depressing experience. Not only do you repeatedly discover as you open up draws, lift up mats and clean bathtubs that friendship is no barrier to people obeying their natural (and less natural) drunken urges in your flat, you also realise that you’re going to have to carry about thirteen stone of glasses down to the bottle bank, the bag leaking a mixture of stale beer and flat rum and coke onto your left slipper as you go.
This is a preview of Pfand: The Importance of Bottles.