With fall comes some of the most anticipated holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and, a more recent arrival to the states, Oktoberfest. This sixteen-day celebration (September 21- October 6) includes food, friends, and the star of the show– beer! Since the Germans introduced the holiday, it is has been celebrated almost worldwide in some form or another.
Oktoberfest started in Munich, Germany, October 12, 1810 to celebrate the royal wedding of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The jovial king invited the town to join in on the big day, hosting festive food, beer, and a horse race. The event drew in close to 40,000 people. The town had so much fun, it was repeated the following year, with the addition of an agriculture show and to this day is still held at the same location it was in 1810, drawing people from everywhere for one of the worlds biggest parties.
Beer, or should we say bier, is, of course, the highlight of the event. It is hard to picture the event without Bavarian costumes and mugs of brew. There are only 6 official breweries (Spaten, Augustiner, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, and Löwenbräu) allowed to serve at Oktoberfest and each must follow certain rules in order to be considered in of the long held coveted spots. Aside from being brewed in Munich, the beer must follow Reinheitsgebot or “Bavarian Purity Law” tradition. This is a German law dating back to 1516, stating that the brew has to contain at least 6% alcohol and can only be made using barley, hops, water, and eventually they allowed yeast. While these specific beers can be difficult to find stateside there are a few similar suds that can be found:
Bring Oktoberfest to You!
The price tag for a round trip ticket to Germany is costly, but fortunately many of the foods served and locally found beers are not! An Oktoberfest party is an unique way to get everyone together, before the craziness of the fall and winter holidays set in. For food, cook varieties of sausages, with sauerkraut and mustards. Sides could include potato pancakes, dumplings, or the easy to make spätzle pasta. Easy to serve German desserts like fruit streusel cakes, or even a traditional German Chocolate cake or cupcakes will keep beer filled bellies happy. Serve two to three German style beers in the traditional stein mugs—prost! – For cheers! Or, have a blind taste contest to decide which beer wins the favorite. Ask your friends to come in Bavarian costumes, or at least in the festival colors, black, red and gold. Easy enough to bring the best of the Oktoberfest home!