For beer lovers, Starkbierzeit is the tougher and smaller Oktoberfest that still packs an impressive punch.
- When? TBC March 2018
- Where? Munich, Germany.
- Price: Entry fees vary, with beers averaging €7.
We’ve all heard of Oktoberfest – the best-known beer-related event in Europe, and possibly the world. But not as many have caught wind of Starkbierzeit, known as ‘Strong Beer Festival’ in English.
Whilst autumn might be dominated by Oktoberfest, it’s two weeks in spring that boast the best kept secret in beer festivals. Starkbierzeit is the younger, more down-to-earth sibling, whose company can be enjoyed with very strong and often cheaper beer, without the excessive crowds.
Don’t worry, you can still dance on tables, sing rowdy drinking songs and admire the lederhosen and Bavarian culture – but you can enjoy all of this, without the rest of Europe alongside you, fighting to get served.
Each brewery opens a marquee for merrymakers, with tents opening at around 6pm so there’s lots of time to fit in some sightseeing before your first Stein. Though expect to leave before midnight – it’s a local celebration, not a wild party. Beer hall entrance fees vary – it’s cheaper at the smaller breweries and more pricey at the Löwenbräukeller. A beer costs around €6 to €8, compared with €9 to €11 during Oktoberfest.
You might be surprised to hear that Starkbierzeit is a celebration of all things Bavarian, not just a tribute to beer. As with Oktoberfest, brash oompah bands fill the tents with the din of drinking songs, while waiters and waitresses wear traditional outfits and carry up to ten Steins each.
The wise visitor won’t attempt to survive on ‘liquid bread’ alone, however. In effect, you’re drinking up to four pints of ordinary European beer in one glass, so you’ll need some proper sustenance to keep you going. There are plenty of food vendors at the festival so be sure to make the most of them so that you don’t crash too early.
According to the festival’s website; ‘For Bavarians, Starkbierzeit is like the opening of the fridge door to a new season of beer drinking, coming just as winter disappears and summer begins to peep over the horizon. […] It’s a momentous occasion.’ We couldn’t have put it better.
- Get there: Fly to Munich then use the train to reach the city centre.
- Stay: Look at hotels in the Alstadt area to stay central.
*We do our very best to verify the dates of our events but please check with the official event provider before booking your flights. We would hate for you to be disappointed!