9 Must-Attend German Beer Festivals That AREN’T Oktoberfest

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Is it me or does attending Oktoberfest sound like a cluster? I’ve heard horror stories of overcrowded beer tents, gross displays of public drunkenness, and general pandemonium. Then there’s the reservation system. You need a German engineering degree to reserve a spot at one of the more desirable tents. Odds are, you’ll still be seated amongst other revelers from around the world. No thanks. I’ll set my sights to one of these smaller, and still authentic, German beer festivals.

Bryan Richards / Own Work
Bryan Richards / Own Work

Starkbierzeit in Munich

I just happened to be in Munich for Starkbierzeit – Munich’s Fifth Season. Starkbierzeit takes place during Lent and is a celebration of Doppelbock. As tradition holds, Paulener monks brewed the high-octane beer to help relieve the hunger pangs felt by the Catholic devout during Lenten fasting. What better way to numb the pain than with an 8% ABV beer, right?

While breweries throughout Munich brew their version of the Lenten brew, the main festival takes place at Paulaner-Keller in the Nockherberg district of Munich.

Bernt Rostad
Bernt Rostad