Penta Buzz: The Alternative Oktoberfest
When people across the world think of ‘beer festivals’ and ‘Germany’, generally they think of Oktoberfest. It’s the largest beer festival in the world, spans over three weeks and held annually in a meadow just outside Munich’s city centre. In addition to eating, drinking and dancing, visitors can enjoy colourful parades, a variety of fairground rides, and for those who want to- dress up in traditional Bavarian gear!
But in a country where beer is king – about 5 billion litres are produced annually – it’s not surprising that there are hundreds of similar festivals across Germany devoted to beer and with 13 hotel properties in Germany alone we discover the best of where and when to celebrate throughout the year with pentahotels.
International Beer Festival, Berlin
For a city globally recognised as being trendy, hip and international, it’s not a shocker that its annual beer festival follows suit. Unlike Oktoberfest, who only showcase local beers, the Berliner Bierfest is far more diverse, offering 2,000 different beers from all over the world – from the mainstream to microbrews and craft beer. The festival is known by many Berliners simply as the ‘Biermeile’ (or Beer Mile) as the beer flows continuously for more than 2 kilometres, who organisers say makes it the longest beer garden in the world. The International Berlin Beer Festival runs for only 3 days annually in August so make sure you book into either of our Berlin pentahotels in Potsdam or Kopenick to be part of it.
Like Oktoberfest, the Erlangen Bergkirchweih, or ‘Berg’ to locals, is a traditional Bavarian beer festival but on a significantly smaller and more authentic scale. For two weeks in May, around one million people descend on the festival. It is the “more cozy” Oktoberfest set underneath the towns beautifully old chestnut trees, decorated with Chinese lanterns where guests can enjoy a cold Festmarzenbier, a beer traditionally brewed in March especially for the festival and served in stoneware tankards, regional specialities and international dishes. Carousels and other fun fair attractions, such as lottery booths and shooting galleries, provide a wide variety of entertainment. While Erlangen is a smaller town, it is very well located given its close proximity to Nuremberg and easy access to our hotel in Wiesbaden near Frankfurt.
Moving north to Bremen, or about an hour south west from Hamburg, is the oldest fair in Germany: the Bremen Freimarkt. This annual festival prides itself on having more carnival rides than any other festival alongside its fantastic market where revellers can enjoy all things food, arts, and of course beer! Given its close proximity to the North Sea, fish is the main culinary offering with such delicacies as local herring and smoked eel. While not technically a beer festival, there is enough of an emphasis on German beer to be included here.The Bremen Freimarkt runs from October 14 to 30, 2016.
A German Beer Tour…
1. Kulmbacher, Bavaria
Dedicated to beer and only beer, the Kulmbacher Bierfest showcases the town’s 4 brew houses in traditional pavilions in the heart of town, where brewery staff hawks their beer along with traditional Bavarian street food.
2. Gäubodenvolksfest, Danube Region
An agricultural festival that first began back in 1812, Gäubodenvolksfest is a 10-day festival in August that showcases beers from the Straubing-Bogen. It also features a Bavarian parade with traditional costumes, horse carriage rides, and of course, beer tastings!
3. Schützenfest, Hanover
The world’s largest celebration for marksman and beer (always a superb combination), runs every year in July. First celebrated in 1529, the fair welcomes 5,000 marksmen, a colorful collection of fair rides, a half dozen beer tents, and a Marksmen’s Parade, a 7.5-mile-long parade consisting of top marksmen, marching bands, floats, and 1.5 million spectators.
With beer on tap at every pentahotel in Europe, celebrate your love for beer from Birmingham to Berlin in the comfort of the pentalounge. Visit http://www.pentahotels.com