10 Reasons Oktoberfest is the best celebration of beer in the world
1. Oktoberfest is unique and is rightly mighty proud of its now 213 year history. It actually started out as a celebration of the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on October 12 1810, when the people of Munich were invited to attend special festivities, including horse racing, to mark the occasion. When it was decided to repeat the event the following year, the Oktoberfest was born - with food and beers first introduced in 1818.
2. Oktoberfest is not just for one night. Or even a long weekend. No, the traditional Oktoberfest celebrations go on for 16 days, starting this year on Saturday 16th September and going through to October 3rd. You don’t, though, have to put your steins away then. Our own ‘Hoftoberfest’ celebrations will be carrying on right through the rest of the month.
3. Oktoberfest is about celebrating the best beer in the world - those - like Hofmeister - brewed in Bavaria, and made to the region’s strict purity laws (The Reinheitsgebot of 1516) that states only three ingredients can be used: locally sourced water, barley and hops. Technically Oktoberfest beers should only include those brewed within the city limits of Munich, but we can make an exception for Hofmeister as it’s made by the esteemed Bavarian Schweiger Brewery based just 25kms from Munich.
4. Just look at how big it is. 7.2 million people took part in Oktoberfest 2021 and drank 6.9m litres of beer, ate 549,899 chickens, 140,225 pairs of sausages, 75,456 pork shanks, 44,320kg of fish, 116 ox, and 57 calves. The Oktoberfest site in Wiesn, Munich covers 420,000m2, with seating for 100,000 people at any one session, including 14 beer hall tents, the biggest of which, Hofbräu-Festhalle, seats 11,000 people.
5. Oktoberfest can only start once the Mayor of Munich uses a special hammer to “tap” open the first barrel of beer and shouts out “O’ Zapt is” - which basically means “let’s get this party started”. How many “taps” are used to open the barrel goes into the Oktoberfest records - the fastest being two taps by Mayor Christian Ude in 2013 - and the worst being 19 taps by Mayor Thomas Wimmer in 1950.
6. If you really want to get into the Oktoberfest spirit then you can dress up in traditional Bavarian dress which for men means getting the Lederhosen out, ideally made out of goat or calf leather, along with traditional braces, Hosentrager, a Trachtenhut, a classic Alpine felt hat, and a pair of Haferlschuhe shoes compete with their reinforced toe and studded sole. For women you need to get yourself a traditional Dirndl, which is essentially a combined blouse and bodice and bottom skirt and apron. Remember if you tie the knot of your apron to the left it means you’re are single, and if it is on the right it means you are not! Blonde wigs with pig tails are optional too.
7. But like all great parties you need to make your preparations - and your precautions. The official Oktoberfest website actually carries this advice to pack: some pain killers, something for a fever, antiseptic gel, some anti-nausea suppositories, antacid…Oh, and a raincoat and change of clothes.
8. As for preparations, well, you can’t get a beer if you have not got a seat. So plan ahead. Once you have a seat don’t leave it unless someone in your group can save it for you. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. So get there early and make yourself at home. A top tip is even if there is only space for one or two people in your group to sit down, grab them and use them to order drinks and give to friends who might have to wait in the beer garden before they can grab a seat too. And with 100,000 people to serve, don’t forget to tip if you want your waitress to keep on coming back to you.
9. Oktoberfest is now a massive celebration around the world too. In the US all eyes are on Cincinnati for its Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, that has been taking place since 1974 and now attracts half a million people. For double that number, travel to Kitchener in Ontario Canada for its traditional Bavarian-style festivities. Then there is the 17 day Oktoberfest celebrations that sees 700,000 people descend on Santa Catarina in Brazil. Whilst in Asia, Tokyo hosts the biggest event with a 10 day festival in its Hibiya Park.
10. The Brits have also taken Oktoberfest to their hearts and, as you would expect, Hofmeister is getting involved! Our authentic, award-winning Helles lager comes direct from the heart of Bavaria and having been crowned the World’s Best Lager by the IWSC there’s no better choice if you want a taste of Oktoerfest right here in the UK. We’ve teamed up with over 200 pubs and events to run Hoftoberfest parties this Oktoberfest so check out your local Hof pub and our socials for news.
If Hoftoberfest at home is more up your street, then our range of Bavarian beers are available over on the Hof shop. Choose from bottles of our Helles, Weisse or Ultra Low or if you’re partying with friends then a mini keg is an ideal choice. To really make it authentic you can also grab a brand new limited edition 2 pint stein with our new ‘Follow the Bear’ design – available on the shop individually or as part of a mini keg bundle. Prost!