Why Oktoberfest starts in September, and other important facts | HopCat

Why Oktoberfest starts in September, and other important facts

Troy Reimink, BarFly/HopCat webmaster
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

hoptoberfest stein

Here at HopCat, we’re gearing up for Hoptoberfest, which is our version of the traditional Oktoberfest celebration that happens in late September through early October in Germany. Unless you’re on a plane to Munich right now, you should consider joining us as we raise a Hofbrauhaus stein on Sunday, Sept. 23rd, to the world’s best-known and biggest beer festival.

Knowledge makes every experience better. Wherever you’re planning to spend Oktoberfest, fortify your brain with some of  these Very Important Facts:

Yes, Oktoberfest starts in September.

Right, but why? Because it’s better drinking weather, basically. The festival began in 1810 and originally lasted from Oct. 12th-17th. As it became a fixture of Bavarian culture over the years, it expanded in length by starting earlier and earlier, so the revelers were able to continue enjoying themselves on September nights. The official version now lasts from Sept. 22nd-Oct.

It started as a dry wedding.

Wait, what? Lame, but true. The festival originated in at the celebration of  Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig's marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The public was allowed to watch a celebratory horse race, which is exciting, but they were not served any beer, which is less exciting. The dry festival continued for a few years until 1819 when the horse races were finally replaced by beer suppliers.

Now that there’s beer, people drink a lot of it.

The quantity of beer consumed during a typical Oktoberfest is about 7.7 million liters – more than 2 million gallons.

Americans and Germans drink different beers at Oktoberfest.

There are two types of beer people associate with Oktoberfest: the Marzen and the festbier. The copper-colored Marzen lager was the official beer of Oktoberfest from the 1870s until 1990, when it was replaced by the lighter, golden festbier. The six Munich breweries that are official producers of Oktoberfestbiers continue to brew the original Marzen, but mostly export it to the United States, so depending on your preferences, we may have gotten the good end of the deal. (Note: Most HopCats will be serving both versions at our Hoptoberfest celebrations.)

The Guinness record book has a field day.

Oktoberfest, as you might imagine, is home to some pretty phenomenal world records. There’s the most beer steins carried at once (29). And world’s largest lederhosen (18x15-ft.) And obviously the world’s largest pretzel (1,728 lbs.)

Paris Hilton is not welcome at Oktoberfest.

The heiress and reality TV star was banned from Oktoberfest in 2007 when she showed up in Munich wearing a dirndl to promote her new brand of canned wine. She hadn’t cleared the appearance with organizers, who banished her permanently. Harsh, but fair.

She might not be welcome at Oktoberfest, but you definitely are. Find your nearest HopCat’s Facebook for more info on Hoptoberfest. Prost!