Posted on September 22, 2010 in Food by Josh
Foodie blog SeriousEats takes a look at the food of Oktoberfest. After all, you aren’t going to be able to try much if you’re drinking on an empty stomach.
Today, it is less about royalty and more about, let’s face it, beer. But even the hardiest German or most experienced fest tourist will need something to go with the specially brewed (and slightly stronger) festival beer. So if you want to build a solid foundation in your stomach, or if you want to be prepared for when the inebriated cravings set it, here is a quick run-down of what is and what may not be worth eating at the Munich Oktoberfest.
They write about everything from the sweet, including the ubiquitous gingerbread hearts, to the savory, which includes astronomical amounts of roasted meat.
Posted on September 21, 2010 in Culture by Josh
The Big Picture (Thomas Kienzle/AFP/Getty Images)
One of our all-time favorite non-beer blogs, Boston.com’s The Big Picture, pulled together some of the best images from Oktoberfest 2010. Absolutely worth checking out.
Posted on September 15, 2010 in Culture, History by Josh
From flickr user StrudelMonkey under a CC License
You may not be headed to Munich for Oktoberfest this year, but there’s still plenty to know about the world’s most popular and well-known beer drinking event.
German website The Local has put together a guide to Oktoberfest covering all the various bits and pieces that make it what it is.
Pride in the obscure traditions of Oktoberfest never seems to diminish: genuine joy breaks out when Munich’s mayor cracks open the first barrel and cries, “O’zapft is!” as the foam hisses into the first mug. Then there’s the Trachtenumzug, a seven-kilometre parade of 8,000 people in traditional folk dress. It’s a mad, ornate pageant of marching bands, hunting clubs, and liveried coaches, led by the dignitaries of Bavaria and Munich and the Münchner Kindl – a kind of Oktoberfest prom queen chosen from the city’s social scene for both her comeliness and her knowledge of Bavarian history.
It all makes Oktoberfest a Bavarian juggernaut unlikely to be stopped anytime soon. The festival’s statistics are consistently mindboggling. In 2007, 6.2 million people consumed 6.9 million litres of beer (a new record), over 140,000 pairs of sausages, and over half a million roast chickens.
They’ve broken their work down into the most important categories:
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on September 13, 2010 in Culture, Science by Josh
From J. S. Müller on flicke under a CC License
If you’ve ever been in a bar, you know the smell: that dead, earthy scent beer gives off as it becomes stale and dries up.
If you’re Munich and you’re hosting Oktoberfest, you’ve got a lot of spilled, stale beer, along with portable toilets and food scraps, and and a that means a lot of smell. In the past, that smell was covered by cigarette smoke, but since Munich has passed a smoking ban, there’s concern about the smell overtaking the event.
But they have a plan: a smell-fighting super bacteria they can pour on the tent floors to eat the stench.
As Der Spiegel reports, three beer tent owners plan to pour a solution with special bacteria into the floorboards and aisles between tables and toilets. The bacteria, called “Elbomex,” is sold as a soil additive, the newspaper reports. Its manufacturer also promotes the bacteria’s ability to cover up foul smells found in wastewater treatment facilities, stables and compost piles, Der Spiegel says. All that remains is a faint scent of soil.
Ricky Steinberg, who owns the famous brewery Hofbräu, already tried it out and said it seems to work. Still, beer-tent owners are fearing the worst: “You hear from nightclub owners that the smell has gotten very bad,” Steinberg told Munich’s Merkur newspaper.
Other than Hofbräu, Oktoberfest organizers were keeping mum on which tents were using the bacteria. Apparently, festivalgoers will be able to smell for themselves.
Posted on August 4, 2010 in Culture by Josh
Oskar Blues (JOSH NOEL, Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Tribune recently ran a fascinating article about a beer tour of Denver and Boulder, Colorado. If you’re looking for a short trip in the U.S., reading this article may help you decide what to do.
The Napa Valley of beer? The Munich of the West? They like to say both out here. And it could well be true. The state has the second most breweries in the nation and fifth most per capita.
How that came to be is an oft-examined question, and the most common answer is this: Many Front Range residents aren’t from the area. They converge here in search of the mountains, a laid-back lifestyle and life’s finer things — like making and drinking good beer.
So with a vague plan of the breweries (and one bar) we wanted to hit, my drinking partner and I began at Great Divide Brewing Co. Bluegrass played on the speakers, and the warm, grassy smell of hops filled the air. We each tried the allotted four free (and healthy) tastings of what was on draft and in bottles before I settled on a Yeti, the thick, dark stout the brewery is best-known for.
I’ve spent some time in Denver, and just being in the city means you’re in for great beer. With Labor Day weekend coming up, it’s not too late to book a flight and head west.
Posted on March 2, 2010 in Culture by Josh
Travel blog Gadling recently listed the “24 greatest cities in the world for drinking beer”…
When it comes to the world of beer, with the vast array of choices out there, things become extremely problematic. Luckily, choosing ten of the best cities in which to drink a beer isn’t quite so difficult. While there are no definitive answers to the best places in the world to sip a brew — and beer culture in certain areas changes from year to year — there are certain cities that deserve special attention.
The list mentions American cities like Portland, OR and San Diego, CA, which are hard to argue with. It lists Brussels and Munich, as you’d expect. But as with any list, it’s time to complain.
The Gadling readers have already done most of the thinking for me on this, which is commendable. First of all, Atlanta? Really? Over somewhere like Philadelphia? As one commenter pointed out, Philadelphia has Yards, Triumph, Sly Fox, Stoudts, and Victory. It ranks higher than not just Atlanta, but most of the American cities anywhere on the list.
Internationally, they leave off Prague, which should really be in the top ten, if not the top five.
The list seems to be a strange blend of cities that make good beer and have a good beer culture, and cities where it’s merely nice to drink. Why they stopped at 24, and not 26 to make room for two of the most obvious cities in the world, we’ll never know.