Richelbräu: Munich’s basement microbrewery

Richelbräu Munich

One of the first things you learn living in Munich is that the city has six big important breweries (Hofbräu, Augustiner, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Löwenbräu, and Spaten). These breweries own most of the beer gardens and beer halls, their beer is served in most local restaurants, and they are the only breweries allowed to sell beer at Oktoberfest. All this local beer pride seems a little silly once you realize Continue reading

Urban surfers and other notes from a Munich summer

Biergarten staples

Before I go back to chronicling our Italian road trip, I thought I’d remind our readers that we do, indeed, still live in Munich, despite the fact that we haven’t blogged about it in months. We’re half-way into our fifth year in the Bavarian capital. Spargelzeit had just come to an end, and biergarten season is in full swing. Every single public place has at least one TV in it, lest a moment of Euro Cup soccer go unwatched.  Continue reading

Oktoberfest: getting your weißbier on

drinking weissbier at Oktoberfest

You may have heard that you need to be sitting inside (or on the terrace of) a tent to be served beer at Oktoberfest. This is mostly true. Indeed, it is the only way you’ll be able to get your hands on a big old maß (liter) of special Oktoberfest brew. But if you don’t mind drinking weißbier (wheat beer) in small vessels (only half liter), head for one of the many outdoor stands that serve it up. You’ll need to drink your weißbier in the general vicinity of where you bought it, but these little areas are often quite pleasant places to hang out. I tend to prefer them to the hot, loud, sweaty insides of a tent, especially on a beautiful sunny day. Continue reading

Oktoberfest 2011: same procedure as every year

upstairs at the Ochsenbraterei

This is our fourth Oktoberfest as locals. Since leaving my parents’ house at 18, I’ve never lived anywhere else for more than three years, so this is kind of weird for me. I’m not used to doing things for a fourth time.

But here I am, getting out the dirndl (paired with sensible shoes for dancing on wooden benches) for Oktoberfest number four. Conversations with friends all include an exchange of details about which tents we will be in on which nights. The guest room is booked for almost a month straight with various configurations of friends and family. Continue reading

The real dance moves you need for Oktoberfest

No matter what lazy travel writers want you to believe, there’s no Chicken Dance at Oktoberfest in Munich. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, stop taking their travel advice immediately, lest you start looking like an arm-flapping fool everywhere you go. Instead, spend your Oktoberfest prep time (only a week to go!) learning these dances, which are sure to come in handy in each and every tent. Continue reading

Historisches Wiesn: Oktoberfest’s 200th anniversary celebration

UPDATE: The historical section of Oktoberfest was such a hit that it will be back in 2011, rebranded as the Oide Wiesn. Nostalgia and beer for everyone!

Entrance to Oktoberfest in general is free, but this year, in honor of the 200th anniversary of the first Oktoberfest, visitors were offered the privilege of paying for entry to a small section of the wiesn. This section promised something special: old-timey fun. Continue reading

Oktoberfest 2009 day 16: Das Schützen Festzelt

Somehow we managed to survive another whole Oktoberfest, concluding with a day in the Schützen Festzelt. This is the largest tent at Oktoberfest, and they really know how to pack in the people.

As we were ordering up our first round of beers the tent shook with a mighty loud boom. Everyone jumped a bit except for the waitress, who calmly explained that they were doing some last-day-of-Oktoberfest ceremonial shooting over on the steps to the Bavaria statue, right next to the tent. There were more booms to come, so we might as well get used to it.

The feel and atmosphere inside the Schützen Festzelt was similar to that in the other large beer tents, and the food was about average for Oktoberfest tent food. Unlike most of the other tents, though, this tent had wines (and even weinschorle) on the menu in addition to beer. Can’t wait to bring Em there next year.

The creepy mannequins attached to the walls were pretty cool, too.

The Kaiserschmarrn looked better than it tasted.

And there we have it, ladies and gentlemen: another year of Oktoberfest behind us. Whew.

How should we prepare for Oktoberfest?

Complete the following sentence:

In anticipation of Oktoberfest, we should ______.

A. Start drinking more, to build up our tolerance.

B. Stop drinking entirely, to let our livers rest up before the big event.

C. Other (please specify).

It’s less than a month away!

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