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Mention Oktoberfest to most Germans and expect a few groans. It’s touristy, overpriced, and a poor parody of Bavarian traditions. Still, that doesn’t make it any less fun.
Now that the world’s most popular beer festival is over for another year, we can put away our lederhosen and let our livers enter a year-long rehab. Waitain’t nobody got time for that.
Here are just a few relatively unknown German beer festivals that more authentic and way cheaper than Munich’s premier beer fest:
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One of the biggest festivals of the year is now underway in Germany but, if you’re stuck at home in the nifty fifty, there are still a few spots to celebrate Oktoberfest—even at the airport.
For example, we know that Lufthansa is all in when it comes to the seasonal celebration, and this continues at the airport as well. Senator and Business Lounges around the world, including those in the US (New York-JFK, Newark-Liberty, and Washington-Dulles, Detroit).
The lounge staff might not be in traditional dress like some of the cabin crew, but a few Oktoberfest treats will be added to the food and beverage selection.
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One of the first things you'll hear about Prague is that buying a pint of beer there costs less than ordering water. It's true, as any visitor to the Czech Republic quickly discovers, but it's hardly the only place with such a virtue.
We've compared the price of a bottle of local beer with that of a bottle of non-fancy still water to discover what other destinations truly qualify to be described as "where beer is cheaper than water":
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These are the words"it is tapped!"with which the Mayor of Munich will open 2014 Oktoberfest tomorrow, September 20. After that first keg starts flowing some 6 million people will pass under the Willkommen before the festival closes on October 5, all sharing the goal of making memories while singing along to "Ein Prosit" in one of the big beer tents.
Therein lies the problem; those tents, large as they are, are pretty tight and tables are booked by advance reservation. Unfortunately for the first-timer or last-minute visitor to Oktoberfest, the pre-booking process is out of the question and bribes are not standard.
Don't give up! There are definite ways to grab a coveted seat inside a tent, (even Hofbräuhaus!), if you try out our three tips:
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September is, without a doubt, the height of beer news for the year. There's Oktoberfest, the release of pumpkin seasonals, autumn beer tests, and airline beverage menu revamps. For 2014, SAS has some big news to share on that last front; they've partnered with Denmark's Mikkeller craft brewery to develop SAS Wit, onboard SAS long-haul flights in Business Class.
According to Mikkeller's Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, "it's a wheat beer in the Belgian traditionfresh with a summery taste of orange peel and cilantro. As such, it's a bit cloudy with residue from yeast and wheat."
Already SAS has expanded the partnership to include an upcoming sweet red lager (preview of the cans below).
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We've said it before and we'll say it again: Oktoberfest season is one of the best seasons! Among the many reasons is the arrival of Lufthansa flight crew dressed in traditional Bavarian costumes.
2014 is the ninth consecutive year for the team of 14 known as the Lufthansa "Trachten Crew," but you'll only find them passing out pretzels and greeting you with a hearty "Grüß Gott" on specific flights into and out of Munich.
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Oktoberfest in Munich begins September 20 and ends October 5. Looking at the calendar, that's a scant 10 days until the tapping of the first keg! Despite what you may be thinking, it's still not too late to make the decision to finally "do" Oktoberfest this year.
During the festival, the city's Theresienwiese event grounds (or simply "Wiesn" for short) will be teeming with tens of thousands of revelers daily, traveling from beer tent to champagne tent, to schnapps booth. Champagne tent?! Schnapps booth?! Yes, there are special zones and kiosks for all traditional German alcohols, but beer is the chief interest and, as such, the big-name beer tents fill up early in the day.
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Kicking yourself for not pulling the trigger on a trip to Oktoberfest this year? And the year before and the one before that? You're not alone. But you know what will ensure you don't procrastinate again next year? Free tickets!
Sam Adams is currently running rounds of its National Stein Hoisting Competition, in which contestants have to hold a 1-liter stein of beer straight out in front of them for as long as possible without bending their arm or, worse, spilling the beer. The two hoisters who hold it up the longest (one male and one female) will each win a trip for two to next year’s Oktoberfest in Munich.
Sounds like a fun event, win or lose, sure to spark some energy in the bar. Keep in mind this is a national competition, though, so you’ll compete at your local event, but your time is compared against fellow beer lovers across the country. You can check out the current leaderboard here. So far, the best time for men is 13 minutes, 27 seconds and 9 minutes, 26 seconds for women.
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Prost! The 180th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany has already begun, but you're not too late to get in on the fun. Running from September 21st through October 6th, the celebration of beer and the autumn harvest returns with its 14 Big Tents, an amusement park, and all the sausages under heat lamps you can handle.
Naturally the focus is again on beer, but we're here to say that, yes, we've been to Oktoberfest before and, yes, there's more than just heading for the hops. It's definitely too late to make a table reservation in a major beer tent, but drinking other beverages can still yield you a seat.
Here's four other liquids to guzzle during Oktoberfest 2013:
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We've said it before and we'll say it again: Oktoberfest season is one of the best seasons! There are so many reasons, least among them all the special beers and the crispness of fall in the air. On the travel end, it means Lufthansa flight crew dressed in traditional Bavarian costumes.
2013 is the eighth consecutive year for the team of 14 known as the Lufthansa "Trachten Crew," but you'll only find them passing out pretzels and greeting you with a hearty "Grüß Gott" on specific flights into and out of Munich.
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Yay! It's that time of the year when we get to talk about Oktoberfest. The barrels will be tapped and the pretzels baked starting tomorrow, Saturday, September 21. Just as last year, we're going to lay some wisdom on ya as seasoned female revelers at Munich's massive party. Heed these, our six things for female travelers to know about Oktoberfest:
1. Beer is not the only authentic drink! In fact, we'd argue there are three other beverages it's "authentic" to drink at Oktoberfest, all of which work out well for those who don't particularly enjoy chugging beer: champagne, schnapps and Radler. Look beyond the ginormous beer tents to the Weinzelt tent, a smaller tent that specializes in Nymphenburger Sektsekt being German champagne. Even smaller and dotted around the Theresienwiese are schnapps booths, where a few Euro goes a long way (towards getting drunkers).
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Last night, while on a late run to the nearby 24-hour drugstore, we peeked in to the beer fridge and realizedholy smokesthat they're already stocking both pumpkin and Oktoberfest brews. You know what this means, right? Besides the fact that beer fans have a very limited time left to enjoy the summer varieties and shandies, it means travelers need to finalized Oktoberfest plans ASAP.
What to do:
· Book a flight/train
· Book a hotel, hostel, or Airbnb (yes, even the hostels fill up in advance, as we sadly discovered one year)
· Book a table in a beer tent (there's no bar and you need to be sitting at a table to get served)
· Pack shoes you don't mind throwing away at the end of everything, since the Wies'n often gets muddy and beer spilling during cheers is a part of the fun.
Hopefully you've checked off each item, but if the table reservations are proving particularly difficult there is a way to get around it provided you have some nerve.