Since I live in Munich, people routinely ask me, “Rich, how can you drink beer in Mass, full liter pours?” Well, quite frankly, I don’t find myself often doing that. While I sadly have to pay for a Mass, I rarely receive one. While Munich Beer gardens have become synonymous with under pours, the top prize has to go to the Oktoberfest 2022. Sure, they lost two years due to COVID. It’s almost understandable that prices have risen just over 15%. Everyone was prepared for it, despite inflation making their Euro less powerful. We pranced off happily ready to pay an average of €13.37 per liter. The problem is, you don’t actually get a liter of beer for this grand price. It’s closer to .70L, what we like to refer to as a Schnitt. This last drink was meant to be a nice pour at half price and has never been utilized at the Fest, at least not in my Wies’n lifetime. As powerful as words can be, photos often paint a clearer picture.
what you get for your money
As you can see from the arrow on the left photo, this Wiesen-Edelstoff, is quite a bit less than a full liter. Since most of my clients come from areas outside Germany, I often get people complaining about what they see as a bad pour due to too much head. I calmly explain that the line on the mug (pictured) is the one liter measure. It actually has 1L etched on it. Bavarians like a big head. It’s aesthetically pleasing and when properly done ensures a less fizzy beer. When you are drinking large quantities of beer, you’d rather not get filled up on gas. So, a 1.5 inch head on a Mass is not only acceptable and fair, it is what we want. What no one wants is to be ripped off. In case you think this is just because they are so busy they don’t have time to do a proper fill, a German friend sent me an article where one of the tappers boasted that he could get 289 liters from a 200-liter barrel.
fun times at the Wies’n
No one can deny the Wies’n is fun. Locals were mostly frothing at the mouth for its return. Clients often ask if locals go and I can attest to many going multiple times. As expensive as it is, it is a must for many, even with COVID on the rise at least partially due to it. Still, it can be disappointing, especially for first timers. A couple of friends from Bamberg came down specifically to enjoy their first visit and on the very first pour at the Hofbräu Zelt, the guy just looked down in wonder at how much beer was not in “his Mass.” Mine was perhaps the best of the day and you can see the woman sporting it in their first Wies’n photo. We were happy to have a seat and it was early enough to actually enjoy a beer over a conversation. (Please note that ALL beer photos were taken as soon they were brought to the table. Not one sip had been taken)
the usual bedlam at the Wies’n
We moved onto our reserved Saturday night table at the Augustiner Festhalle. It was a prime spot, right in the thick of things. Perhaps a bit too in the thick as the night progressed. People often ask me if they need a reservation at the Oktoberfest and I tell them not really; to go early and during the week. Once you’re in the tent, it could be anytime. People are drinking, singing and they’re drunk. The later it gets and especially on weekends, it gets too crowded and the people get too drunk. Should you go to the Big Show? Why not. It’s a bucket list spectacle to be experienced. Will I return next year? Probably, but I’ll go last minute when the weather is nice and hope for a better pour. Maybe I’ll find gold at the end of the rainbow too.
While the Oktoberfest is generally a once in a lifetime event to be savored, there’s a lot more to Bavaria so close at hand from Munich. Join me for a walk in the countryside and more reasonably priced and better poured beer.
Enjoy your own group with a Private Tour or meet people on a Public Tour