If you have even the faintest interest in beer, you’ll know that brew lovers from around the world gather each year in Munich, Germany to celebrate Oktoberfest.
The 16-18 day drink fest, depending on the year, serves only beers that conform to German purity regulations (the Reinheitsgebot) and are brewed within the city limits of Munich.
If you aren’t lucky enough to make it to the Bavarian capital, don’t worry. There are plenty of Oktoberfest events in the U.S. where you can raise a pint.
But Germany’s original fest is a bucket list item for many.
Read on to learn just how massive it is and as they say in Munich, Prost.
In 1810, the very first Oktoberfest took place in Munich, Germany, but it was not the beer fest it is today.
The first Oktoberfest in 1810 was actually to honor Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen.
Residents across Munich were invited to attend the event,
If you’re wondering how much beer is consumed by the six million people that attend Oktoberfest each year — it’s a lot.
To be precise, in 2022, it was 5.6 million liters of beer, according to Statista.
In 2019, it was 7.3 million liters; and in 2018 it was 7.5 million liters.
In 2014, Oktoberfest saw a record-breaking year with 7.7 million liters poured.
It’s unclear exactly how many liters of beer will be poured at Oktoberfest in 2023, but it’s clear millions and millions are expected to be consumed. In 2022, there was a clear decline in poured beer at Oktoberfest, in fact, it saw the lowest number of pints served since 2001.
Well, kind of. Oktoberfest primarily occurs in September. The exact dates of the event vary slightly depending on the year, but it typically starts around Sept. 15 and runs just a couple of days in October, usually ending around the third.
The beer served at Oktoberfest is made exclusively for the festival. All the beers have around 6% ABV and are served in one liter mugs.
At Oktoberfest, with so many in and out of the festival, it’s expected there will be items life behind.
Each year, thousands of people leave behind the usual, wallets, keys, IDs and sunglasses.
Among the stranger items that have been left behind year after year are wheelchairs and dentures.
The only beer that is sold at Oktoberfest is beer brewed within the city limits.
There are six breweries to sell their beer at the event.
The six beers sold at Oktoberfest come from Hacker Pschorr, Spaten, Hofbräu, Augustiner, Paulaner and Löwenbräu.
At Oktoberfest, there’s a lot of standing, as there are fewer seats than there are visitors. The largest Oktoberfest beer tent of all time was the Pschorr-Brau-Rosl-tent in 1913, which held 12,000 people. Today, the Hofbrau-Festhalle hosts the largest tent, with 10,000 seats. But you better get there early.
These tents fill up fast, but reservations can be made to secure your seat.
There is a variety of traditional, hearty fare to be had at Oktoberfest.
Offerings include Hendl (roast chicken), Schweinsbraten (roast pork), Haxn (pork knuckle), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Wurstl (sausages), Brezn (pretzel), Knodeln (potato or bread dumplings), Kaasspotzn (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Rotkraut (pickled red cabbage), Obatzda (a fatty, spiced cheese-butter concoction) and Weisswurst (white sausage).
Oktoberfest can not officially begin until the major opens the first keg.
The festival officially begins with the mayor saying “O’ zapft” and popping open the first keg of the event during the ceremony on the first day.
After this, the drinking begins.