I’ve heard about this Oktoberfest. What is it?
Well, it’s quite simply the biggest beer party in the world.
Beer. Party. I’m in. Where is it?
The original and official Oktoberfest is held at the Theresienwiese, the largest fairground in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, every September.
Er, why isn’t it called Septemberfest?
Oktoberfest lasts for 18 days, 16 of which are in September. The name originally comes from the first event, the wedding of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. It took place on October 12. However, the event moved forward to the current date most likely for a straightforward reason: the weather is usually better! Oh, and the beer brewed is a Marzen, a March beer.
So, wait, Oktoberfest is a party in September, and they drink a March beer? Makes perfect sense.
It’s brewed in March! And it’s delicious. The official Oktoberfest beer is a Märzen, weighing in at just under 6%. Only six breweries are invited to the Munich Oktoberfest, including Löwenbräu and Spatenbräu, all brewed to the Reinheitsgebot.
It’s an old German purity law that states only water, barley, hops and yeast can be used in beer.
OK, so it’s a load of people sat around drinking beer? What else happens at Oktoberfest?
Firstly, Oktoberfest is enormous. There are 17 large tents and 21 smaller tents, each filled with music, beer, food and very very happy people. Around six million people actually who drink through 7.7 million litres of beer during Oktoberfest. But there is also a fairground, games and then, of course, the outfits.
Ooh, fancy dress! What do you wear at Oktoberfest?
It’s not fancy dress; it’s tradition Jeez. And you can wear what you like... but may people dress in traditional costumes. Many women wear dirndls. The dress and apron were developed in the 18th century but inspired by Alpine peasant dress. The side the dirndl wearer places her bow displays whether she is single, widowed or in a relationship.
Men wear Bavarian ‘tracht’ that includes the famous lederhosen, knee-length leather breeches and was once traditional workwear. Men also wear traditional white or blue check shirts, knee-high wool stockings, a hat and shoes. Loferls are often seen with short lederhosen – these are calf warmers! Because, you know, shins don’t get cold. The charivari is the oldest Oktoberfest accessory, and is a chain with all manner of things attached: coins, paws, fur and, er, teeth!
I’m sold. Booking EasyJet flights now... oh.. Hang on.
I heard that penny drop. Oktoberfest 2020 is cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Beer, millions of people, music, don’t mix at the moment.
Is Oktoberfest cancelled in 2020?
Sadly, yes. The 187th Oktoberfest has been cancelled. Bavaria’s Minister-President Markus Söder announced that the biggest and most beautiful beer festival in the world’. Stating that ‘the risk is simply too high.’ A visibly affected Lord Mayor spoke of ‘several hearts beating in his chest’, but unfortunately, the Oktoberfest ‘simply cannot exist in these times’.
‘I’m sure that we will see another Oktoberfest in 2021,’ he said.
Will Oktoberfest happen in 2021?
It’s certainly planned to happen. The traditional Oktoberfest tapping will take place on September 18, 2021. The “O’zapfn” – when the Lord Mayor of Munich taps the keg and makes the exclamation that the festival is open – will take place at 12noon. The event will last until October 3, 2021, with the shout: ‘Aus is und gar is und schad ist, dass’ wahr is!’ – ‘It’s over and completely done, and it’s a shame that it’s true.’
But all is not lost.
Tell me more you tease...
PerfectDraft is bringing Oktoberfest home. And to your home, if you want?
Wunder-Bar! What do you get?
Well, have a lookup, and you’ll see some of the PerfectDraft Oktoberfest Bundles. The PerfectDraft machine allows you to serve the nearest you’ll get to an Oktoberfest beer you can enjoy at home. We’ll even give you a stein or two. They’ve also got two of the official Oktoberfest beers: Löwenbräu Oktoberfest and Spaten Oktoberfest. They’re both a bit stronger than the original Bavarian lagers, but just as smooth, crisp and fresh.
Oh, you can also get bunting, a lederhosen T-shirt, flags, a chalkboard, a salami and a pretzel kit.
I’ll repeat it: Wunder-Bar!