Nockherberg Starkbierfest – Munich Strong Beer Festival
(Last Updated On: 13/08/2021)
Most beer-loving travelers have Munich high on their to-do list. It’s a given that Oktoberfest would be there too, but the Nockherberg Starkbierfest – Munich Strong Beer Festival brings something extra. No, not the crowds. You’ll experience half as many. But the beer is double the strength! Sounds like the perfect way to kick off March and Spring, to us!
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Munich, Bavaria’s capital, is home to centuries-old buildings and numerous museums. The city is known for its annual Oktoberfest celebration and its beer halls, including the famed Hofbrauhaus, founded in 1589. In the Altstadt (Old Town), central Marienplatz square contains landmarks such as Neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus (town hall), with a popular glockenspiel show that chimes and reenacts stories from the 16th century.
Is this your first time visiting Munich? You’ll be happy to know that it is a very visitor-friendly city, in almost every aspect. It has a highly functional infrastructure, it offers a wide array of both indoor and outdoor attractions, the climate is milder than the northern parts of Germany and it’s super easy to get around and get to Nockherberg Starkbierfest – The strong beer festival in Munich.
WHAT ABOUT THE LANGUAGE BARRIER?
Don’t speak German or Bavarian? No problem! Most of the younger generation speaks English, but being able to utilize a bit of German (or even Bavarian, if you dare) is highly appreciated by locals. The country has the reputation of being unfriendly, but it’s far from the truth. Munich natives are friendly and helpful once you start getting to know them. One of the possible elements of “culture shock” might be how even in the busiest downtown areas, it can still get very quiet on a weekday winter night or a Sunday; Munich can offer many pros of city life (great restaurants, beautiful buildings, plenty of things to do) minus a lot of hustle, bustle, and stress. This city features the best of many worlds: an urban environment, beautiful natural surroundings, diverse and international cultures blended with many traditional Bavarian ways of life. And it goes without saying that the beer is world-famous for a reason!
A LOCAL SECRET
For around three weeks in early spring, breweries all across Munich set up their beer halls.
The strong beer festival belongs to Munich like beer gardens and the Oktoberfest. In fact, this beer festival might be the city’s best-kept secret. It’s actually even older than Oktoberfest, started in the mid-1600s, by Munich’s Paulaner monks and the Paulaner Nockherberg is the original venue for Munich’s strong beer festival!
The crafty monks concocted a beer beverage to sustain them through the Lent fast, and called their pick-me-up ‘blessed father’s beer’ or ‘the holy oil of St. Francis’. Finally, they settled on ‘Salvator’ – Latin for a savior.
And where exactly did the Munich Strong Beer Festival come from?
The most commonly told origin story of starkbier is a simple tale of hungry monks. Forced to fast during Lent, monks began to brew starkbier as a loophole way to get their fill of calories. Again, thanks to the higher dissolved solid content (known as wort), starkbier became recognized as liquid food.
But beyond that, Starkbier does, of course, have a higher alcohol content (ranging from 7.5%-9%). In terms of flavor, it’s malty and surprisingly (perhaps I should say deceivingly) smooth and its effects will surely 1000% creep on you. Like, “please ma’am, stop dancing on the table – you’re scaring the children” creep on you. You have been warned.
To sum things up: starkbier is a strong beer, it’s stronger in alcohol content but also in dissolved solids, it will fill you up and mess you up. You have been warned!
Quick Tips for Munich Strong Beer Festival
While major supermarket chains and shopping outlets are likely to accept your credit card, most restaurants and stores in Munich will only accept cash or EC cards (which are like debit cards). Make sure you have enough euros with you for everyday usage.
The Starkbieranstich refers to the tapping of strong beer (i.e. tapping the keg) – it’s kind of a big deal in Munich and marks the start of Starkbierfest. At Paulaner am Nockherberg, they celebrate the tapping of their Salvator strong beer with a musical political roast.
People literally fill their beer hall with local politicians and make fun of them through song and dramatics. If you fancy checking out what the event is like, here is a YouTube clip from last year.
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