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Friday, June 13

The start of Bavarian Beer fests

It’s the beginning of beer festival season in Bavaria. There’s the infamous Oktoberfest in Munich. And as fun as that was, the local ones are funner; not a word, I know, but I am using it. Traditional charm without the madness. Of course there are drunk people (acting a fool) but there are more locals enjoying beer and one another’s company.

The one happening right now is Bergkirchweih in Erlangen, a university town 20 kilometers from Nürnberg. There’s Annafest in July in Forchheim, further north. Berg is smaller than Oktoberfest and Annafest is smaller than the Berg.

Many breweries (cellars) serve one type of beer they’ve specially made. The setup is simple; each brewery has designated tents with tables and benches. Servers take beer orders. Beer is served in a Maß, 1 liter of beer. Food can be bought at the food stands with various offerings including large pretzels, sausages, fish sandwiches, candied nuts, and chocolates. There are some ethnic specialties like Langos (Fried dough served with sour cream and cheese, Hungarian) and Crepes (thin pancakes with sweet or savory filling, French).

Other than the breweries and food, there are games and rides; good for the whole family. The festival has carnival atmosphere.

The key is to get there early (3-4 pm) to snatch a table and hold it for friends. We’ve learned from the locals to leave at a reasonable time (8-9 pm) to avoid the drunken debauchery that happens at beer festivals.


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