For five blurry days, the good people of Munich and the surrounding areas ate, drank, listened to music , drank, danced, drank, watched shooting contests, drank and wagered on horse races. 

It was so Stossesel (kick ass) they decided to do it again the following year… and the year after that… and the year after that… and so on.

This year is therefore the 200th anniversary of the world’s biggest fair known today as Oktoberfest.  Granted, it has been cancelled 24 times due to war, disease and other emergencies but the reasons for calling it off have understandably included the Napoleonic war, two cholera epidemics, the Austro-Prussian war, the Franco-German war, the First World War and the Second World War.  That is not a bad track record considering we probably cancel more one-day cricket matches each season.

Despite the name, most of the festival in Munich takes place during September.  It is already underway with this year’s dates being September 18 to October 4.  This means the first Malthouse Octoberfest on Friday 24 September (from 4pm) falls right in the middle.  Many of the attractions of Oktoberfest will be available at Octoberfest, albeit it on a considerably smaller scale.  The bar would probably get in some trouble for serving over 6 million litres and realistically where are they going to source 600,000 half roast chickens?  

In addition to the 150 or so beers currently on offer, Malthouse will be serving Hofbrau Oktoberfest (6.3%) on tap pouring into suitably big glasses.  Here is what the brewery has to say:

“For this occasion, Hofbrau brews a rich, full-bodied beer which goes down ideally with traditional Bavarian cuisine.  With its deliciously bitter taste and alcoholic content of 6.3% volume, Hofbrau Oktoberfestbier is as special as the Beer Festival itself.”

There will be food too.  Visitors to Oktoberfest eat huge amounts of traditional hearty Bavarian fare.  This includes Hendl (chicken), Schweinsbraten (roast pork), Haxn (pork knuckle), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Wurst (sausages), Brezn (Pretzel), Knodel (potato or bread dumplings), Kasspatzn (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Blaukraut (red cabbage) Obatzda (a fatty, spiced cheese-butter concoction) and Weisswurst (a white sausage).

Malthouse chefs are not entirely convinced about the appetite of New Zealanders for pork knuckles, cheese noodles or fatty, spiced cheese butter concoctions so the food at Octoberfest will focus on barbequed sausages and bratwursts and plenty of pretzels.

Music is very important at the Oktoberfest with each tent having their own bands.  Everyone is expected to loudly sing certain party songs even if they have no idea of the words or even the tune.  That should not be difficult for Kiwis, we do it all the time on Singstar.  To add authenticity to the atmosphere there will be a live oompah-pah band at Malthouse playing what they are assure us are proper Bavarian festival songs.  It really is hard to know.

All the bar staff will be dressing in traditional Bavarian outfits.  For the gentlemen, this means lederhosen.  The hillbilly check shirts will be (temporarily) gone and replaced by the leather trousers described by some of their fans as “the original hot pants.”

A little research on Facebook ** revealed some interesting facts.  The Facebook page “Lederhosen – Fashion” *** has 6,015 likes while “Phil Goff – politician” has 19 likes. ****

More worryingly, the Facebook group “I am morally opposed (but secretly attracted) to lederhosen” has a staggering 22 members, considerably more than I had ever expected.  It is not known how many of this group will be attending the Octoberfest event but most of the Malthouse staff are hoping “none.” *****

In the interests of creating atmosphere and fomenting a little chaos, here are some local phrases which can be dropped into conversation to fool people into thinking you have just arrived from Bavaria.  They are presented in the order which they are commonly used during a beer festival:

 Ozapfa: To tap a beer barrel
 Mass: One litre of beer
 Biddscheen: Please
 Oans-zwoa-drei-g’suffa: One, two, three, drink
 I mog di: I love you
 Ich bin ein Bierdimpfe: I am a notorious beer drinker or tavern potato ******
 Bierleichen: Passed out – this literally means a beer corpse.

Don’t become the last two and don’t blame the Malthouse if you say the Mog word to the wrong person after the Octoberfest on 24 September 2010 from 4pm.

Finally, this blog traditionally likes to finish these posts by telling what is banned at Oktoberfest.  In 2008, Paris Hilton got the honour while in 2009 it was “music mogul” Joe Jackson who was denied entry.  In 2011, smoking will be banned from the Octoberfest because Bavaria has tough anti-smoking laws and the festival’s exemption ends this year.  Personally, in 2010, I hope they ban vuvuzelas.

* Pity the poor scribe who had to hand-write those names out on every invite
** It totally counts as work
*** Fashion – that has to be a typo
**** 19 – that is not a typo
***** Except for Phil – he is hoping for two
****** Disappointingly, being a tavern potato is apparently a bad thing.


Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine


Lederhosen on Facebook –!/pages/Lederhosen/9644829878
Phil Goff on Facebook –
“I am morally opposed (but secretly attracted) to lederhosen” Facebook group –
Malthouse Facebook Group –
Real Beer – 
Beer and Brewer Magazine –