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Oktoberfest: The History and Influence of the Biggest Beer-Drinking Festival

Oktoberfest: The History and Influence of the Biggest Beer-Drinking Festival

Yes, I know that it's still far, but a few days from now, it'll be the end of the month of May. You'd be shocked as to how fast time really flies!

I think it's safe to say that even the United States and in other parts of the world, Oktoberfest is now widely accepted as a holiday. Well, it's actually a holiday that a lot of guys would appreciate. Oktoberfest originated in the lovely city of Munich, Germany. Considered as the largest festival in the world, Oktoberfest is held for 16 days every year in Munich and is attended by 5-6 million people every year. I had the chance to attend last year's Oktoberfest and it was indeed one huge fair attended by both men and women alike. Strange actually, since I thought that it's just a holiday in favor of men, since it's usually guys who love beer. I am probably but a few of the girls who love drinking beer, but when I got to visit Munich, I was very much mistaken.

The people who visit Munich for the Oktoberfest are actually there for the beer. I later found out that Oktoberfest has strict rules regarding the beers being served for the festivities. Beers that conform to the Reinheitsgebot are allowed to be served during the festivities. What Reinheitsgebot means is "German Beer Purity Law". It could also be translated as the "Bavarian Purity Law".

Here's a little history lesson.Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, who is later to become King Ludwig I, wanted his people to celebrate his marriage to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The marriage was on October 12, 1810, so Ludwig held a horse race and invited all the residents of Munich. Of course, beer was served as part of the celebration and this beer followed the Bavarian Purity Law. According to the original text, the Bavarian Purity Law only allows water, barley, and hops as ingredients in beer production. Now, the Reinheitsgebot has been replaced by the Provisional German Beer Law. This time, it allowed some of the components that were not allowed within the original law, like yeast, wheat malt and cane sugar. However, unmalted barley is still not allowed.

Alright, so that's enough with the blast from the past. There are only a few breweries allowed to serve beer on Oktoberfest. Asides from that, the beer must also be made in a brewery within Munich. The best brewed beer is proclaimed "Oktoberfest Beer." Here's the top breweries that competed for years.

  • Augustiner-Brau
  • Lowenbrau
  • Spatenbrau
  • Paulaner-Brau

Even here in the United States, Oktoberfest has also started to become a popular festival every October. Oktoberfest-Cincinnati in Ohio. This is the perfect time for everyone to sport their favorite beer shirts and drink their favorite beer along with their friends and family. In fact, the festival attracts around half a million visitors every year. I've made the trip to Ohio several times already, so I know how festive the atmosphere can be. Be careful when driving back though; you might want to book a hotel while you're in town so you'll have a place to rest after a whole day of beer drinking!

I know that October is still months away, but it can't hurt to be prepared! See you all in this year's Oktoberfest!

About the Author:

Jessica Greenberg is an avid blogger from San Diego, California. She loves Oktoberfest and other festivals. When she's not busy enjoying good food and drinks in a local bar or tavern, she's busy writing her experiences in Wordbaristas, a blog she keeps together with her friends. 

Location (Map)

Munich, Germany
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