Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Starkbierfest: Good beer, better friends

This past weekend, I had the immense pleasure of attending the Starkbierfest at Paulaner am Nockherberg. My lovely friend was visiting from Madrid and I wanted to show her what Munich was all about, namely mass beers and singing. Plus, one of the guys from my writing group wanted to go and was looking for people to join him. So we all agreed to  go and see what this magical elixir was all about.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with starkbier, it was originally created by monks for them to drink during the fast of Lent. The idea was to create something that served as liquid bread since drinks were permissible while one was fasting. The result is a flavorful brew with a higher alcohol content of about 7%, a nice little side effect.


Most of the famous breweries in Munich have their own version of starkbeir, but Paulaner's is the most famous and has the biggest parties, so that was where we were going. 

Entrance to the festival this year was 2 euros. If you went Thursday through Saturday, the entrance total was 11.80 euros and included a voucher for one liter (mass) of beer. So if you plan on going next year, budget accordingly. Also, reservations are highly encouraged if you actually want to get a seat inside. 

When my friends and I first arrived, the sun was bright and shining, so we decided to sit in the adjacent beer garden. Not wanting to get too drunk too early, I decided to get some food from the near-by stalls. Now, I do not speak ANY German. I know, I know, bad American. But so far, I've been able to get by with my rudimentary skills of Danish (the languages are surprisingly similar) and miming. There were no menus nor prices listed at the stall and after asking the man behind the counter the prices of several different items, I some how managed to get a plate of a half chicken and a dumpling for 19 freaking euros! I thought I misheard the woman at the register and was going to take my food back for something more affordable. But then she started yelling at me in angry German, so I paid for my meal and mourned the loss of drinking money. So again, be prepared if you decide to check it out, the is not for the tightwad.

Rather than sulk about the culinary rip off, my friends and I enjoyed the day and made arrangements to meet another friend who happened to have reservations inside. Score! 

Must protect the precious beer!

I would have been happy sitting outside all day, but the weather and crowd were both a bit subdued. I was hoping for a German brass band and dancing on the tables. Instead, the beer garden was filled with quiet conversation and civilized drinking. And Despicable Me balloons. 

So once we finished our first round, we headed indoors and was greeted with Bavarian hospitality.

Yes! This is exactly what I was looking for. And after doing a international tour of Oktoberfest, I knew most of the drinking songs and was able to sing along. In the end, my friends and I managed to drink 4 liters of beer, each, over 10 hours. It was great. Until I woke up the next day and looked at my account =)

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