The Original Hofbräuhaus
- We have dinner our first night in Munich at the original Hofbräuhaus. Open since 1897, the beer hall is popular among tourists and locals. A few lucky regulars store their personalized mugs on the main floor in a padlocked storage cage.
- Dressed in on our lederhosen and dirndls we drive to Icking station. Lederhosen are knee length pants with suspenders, usually made of leather worn by men. Authentic lederhosen out of our budget, we settled for 100% polyester costumes on Amazon. Women wear dirndls, a ruffled dress consisting of a bodice, blouse, and skirt. When wearing an apron, the placement of the knot signifies her relationship status. A knot on the left side indicates a woman is single, while a knot on the right side indicates she is taken.
- After a short train ride we arrive at Oktoberfest, a celebration of Bavarian culture. The festival lasts 16 days, commencing on the 3rd weekend in September continuing until the first Sunday in October.
- The 2nd day of Oktoberfest, five miles of musicians, marching bands, dancers wearing traditional uniforms accompanied by floats, horses, oxen, and cows parade through Munich.
- The beer served at Oktoberfest is brewed in Munich from 6 different breweries: Paulaner Bräuhaus, Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu, Hacker-Pschorr, Augustiner Bräu, Hofbräu, and Löwenbräukeller.
- We begin Oktoberfest in the Hofbräu Festzelt tent, the counterpart to the original Hofbräuhaus.
- Seating 9,920 guests, this tent has the most international visitors. 16 tons of hops are used to create the hanging rings from the ceiling.
- In the center of tent hangs Aloisius, the beer angel. The legend is, Aloisius, a former mailman, passed away his angel was instructed to deliver an important message to Munich. But, instead of delivering the message, Aloisius went straight to the Hofbräuhaus for a beer.
- Liter mugs of Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier, brewed especially for Oktoberfest at 6.3% abv. arrive at our table along with a ticket to trade in later for half a roasted chicken. Only wheat beer is served in a smaller, half liter mug. The bottom of the glass should be tapped when toasting with a wheat beer to prevent shattering. Prost!
- Oktoberfest consists of 14 large tents, 13 serving beer and 1 serving wine. Beer is only available for sale inside the tents, and it’s difficult to be served without a reserved seat. There are 20 smaller tents serving varieties of foods.
- Oktoberfest begins in the largest Wiesn tent, Schottenhamel, at precisely 12:00pm with the mayor of Munich tapping the first keg. Once he confirms a successful tap, beer begins to flow throughout the 12 other tents.
- Originally only room for 50 guests, the tent now accommodates 6,000 guests indoor and an additional four thousand outside.
- Drinking liters of beer beneath a light blue ceiling painted with clouds and stars, patrons feel as if they are in Bavarian heaven inside the Hacker-Festhalle tent. Visitors get a great view of the band as they perform on a revolving stage in the center of the tent.
- One of the most popular tents operating since 1881, the Ochsenbraterei, began as a steam powered barbecue tent roasting whole ox. Today the tent serves an average of 91 oxen each year. Hungry visitors can find an extensive menu specializing in spit roasted oxen.
- Specializing in roasted duck and chicken, the Ammer tent, offers specials to families and children. At 7:00pm the Ammer’s Wiesnband brings this tent to life.
Bodo’s Cafe Tent
- The celebration begins in Bodo’s Café Tent at 9:00am with an Oktoberfest breakfast and continues to serve sweet, freshly baked items all day. At 6:00pm wine, champagne, and exotic cocktails transform this family breakfast tent into a party.
- Fans of the Munich soccer team meet at Löwenbräu to cheer on the Lions. This tent attracts a lot of attention with 18,200 seats,16,000 light bulbs illuminating the tent at night, and a roaring lion welcoming guests.
- The Ambrustschutzen tent is where the Oktoberfest crossbow competition is held. The competition has been taking place during Oktoberfest since 1935. The tent seating 7,430 resembles a hunting cabin with boar heads and deer antlers decorating the walls.
- Weinzelt is the only tent of the 13 to serve 25 varieties of wine, champagne, sparkling wines, and wheat beer. The tent is designed to resemble a hunting lodge with its wooden interior.
- During the day booths are filled with families, but as the sun begin to set things get a little…weird. The Weinzelt tent is known for their nightly live music.
Long after the sun has set, day one of Oktoberfest comes to an end. We take the train back to Icking station, to re-hydrate and get some sleep before Oktoberfest day two tomorrow.