Germany’s Big Beer Bash
Each fall, crowds of partygoers at Munich’s Oktoberfest lift steins of golden beer skyward and bellow “Prosit!” The German holiday began more than 200 years ago at the marriage celebration of Bavarian Crown Prince Louis and Princess Therese. Many of the locally brewed beers served at today’s festivities are also rooted in history. Lagers such as Hacker-Pschorr’s Oktoberfest Märzen adhere to traditional Bavarian purity laws that allow only water, barley, yeast, and hops. Revelers fortify themselves with grilled bratwurst, salt-dusted pretzels, and roast chicken while they watch men dressed in lederhosen (leather shorts) twirl ladies to the oompah of brass bands. The holiday has become wildly popular outside Germany, but the largest celebration, which attracted more than 5 million attendees in 2011, still occurs on the original wedding fields in Munich, in late September and early October.
Photo by Relaximages/Corbis. This appeared in the October 2012 issue.