Spoiler Alert…..the Munich Oktoberfest takes place primarily in September. So if you are planning to do Oktoberfest in Munich, keep that nugget in mind.
The day before we went to Oktoberfest it was beautiful. It was sunny and 75 degrees. One of my friends messaged to say how ‘hot’ it was in the bier tents.
The day we attended Oktoberfest it was not sunny and 75. It was Blenheim New Zealand weather…rainy and miserable.
Ahh, to put on those smiles after we had removed our jackets and got out from underneath the umbrella in order to take the classic Oktoberfest photograph.
We had purchased tickets to the ‘Lowenbrau’ hall and I was on a mission to get there and start drinking. Our reservation was only from 1200 to 1630 so I needed to maximize the scant 4.5 hours of drinking availability I had. Actually, I was on a mission to get there because of the weather which was too bad because I did zero exploring. I simply entered the fairgrounds (no admission cost to do so) and then headed straight for the bier hall.
While exploring the bier hall I noticed an area with high security which was unusual for inside the bier hall (see picture). One of the security agents was a friendly German (no jokes please) and explained to me that this was a box reserved for the families of German brewers. I can only imagine how many hundreds of years of brewing experience your family must have under their belts in order to have access to this area. My favorite was a nun sitting in the area at a table by herself.
For those that haven’t been to Oktoberfest and are from Vermont, it’s basically the Champlain Valley Fair with really big bier tents. In fact, maybe that could save the Champlain Valley Fair.
Really big bier tents.
Just accept it. Just own it.
Really big bier tents.
I was surprised how many parents were cautious regarding bringing their children (we did not bring the children as this was a date and it was a school day). As I explained, it is similar to the Champlain Valley Fair–lots of rides.
As for public drunkeness, I only saw one incident which was inside our bier hall. It was actually quite funny only because he didn’t appear to hurt himself. A gentleman who was maybe 75 years old was walking with perhaps a 28 year old and just fell face forward because he couldn’t stand up. The younger man helped him up and they continued on as if he hadn’t fallen on his face. In no-sue Deutschland, none of the waitstaff even checked on him!
As you can see from the photograph there is a platform in the middle of the bier hall upon which a band sits. They would play music and every so often do some kind of chugging chant that would get everyone in the hall to slam part of their bier. I love when businesses incorporate gimmicks into increasing sales. And while the music was all Deutsche, there was one song that broke the mold, Thank God I’m a Country Boy by John Denver.
And boy do the Deutsche love John Denver as much as they love David Hasselhof. Everyone was singing the lyrics and that was easily the loudest moment of the 270 minutes I spent inside the bier hall.
I can’t recall the actual cost but it wasn’t crazy (like Northeastern United States crazy). I think our ticket which guaranteed us a seat, a chicken, and two giant biers that were at least a liter each, was 30 a person.
The end of the day had some interesting stories that I won’t memorialize here except for the one about the wine tent. Some folks informed Jules there was a wine tent next door. Jules being a wine connoisseur went with the group to sample some Deutsche wein. Well something was lost in translation because it wasn’t a wein tent, it was a shot tent. I can’t even begin to imagine how crazy that place gets when the sun goes down.