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Oktoberfest: A brief history of the world's most famous beer festival

Oktoberfest: A brief history of the world's most famous beer festival

Funnily enough, the beginning of October actually marks the end of Oktoberfest in Munich. Since this year we couldn’t don our lederhosen and join the festivities, we thought we’d delve into the history of this fantastic event.

If you’ve ever wondered how Oktoberfest began, and what visitors can expect from the festival, read on...

Why is it called Oktoberfest then?  

Despite the Munich folk festival being named after the 10th month, it actually starts in September. However, this wasn’t always the case. Its start date was altered to make the most of the warmer, lighter evenings and to prolong the celebrations. Nowadays, Oktoberfest always finishes on the first Sunday of October.

How did Oktoberfest begin? 

The festival began because of every monarchal nation’s favourite event: a royal wedding. Back in 1810, Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen and Prince Regent Ludwig of Bavaria tied the knot.

To celebrate, their official party planner, Andreas Michael Dall’Armi, organised a huge horse race. That might not have the same ring to it as Woodstock, but don’t be fooled, back in the day, horse racing was a prime party. 

The festivities were so good in fact, that they decided they wanted to do it all over again the next year. So they did! And they kept doing it. There was some adversity to face over the years; Napoleonic wars, cholera, and a few more wars… Yet, when the balance was restored, so too was Oktoberfest.

What really happens at Oktoberfest? 

You guessed it - beer. A lot of beer. At the festival in 2019, 7.3 million litres of beer was poured.

Brass music plays, maintaining the folky element to the festival, while traditional dancing plays a big role in the festivities, too. Even better, amusement rides, games and delicious food add to the excitement of the event.

If you manage to make it back to your tent after all the steins and fun, you’ll be exhausted.

What beer is drunk at Oktoberfest? 

Traditionally, Märzenbier was served at Oktoberfest. This unique lager has a deeper colour and a fuller body than other Bavarian lagers. Traditionally brewed in March (giving it its name), the beer was historically brewed with more hops to preserve it until the festival season.

At the official festival, all the beer comes from six Munich-based breweries. In recent years, visitors have taken to drinking the popular Helles lager. This is a lighter beer with around 5% ABV, making it a better fit for long days of drinking.

Honouring Oktoberfest From Home

If you’re looking to mark the Oktoberfest weekend with your own event, raise a glass (or a stein) on the first weekend of October.

Our Helles lager, Mixtape, is always a big hit! Pick up a case to try, today, and drink up German-style this month.

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