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Old Feb 20, 12, 1:29 pm   #1
 
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German Beer Festivals 2012

Since several threads annually seem to revolve around Oktoberfest in Munich, I thought it might be a good idea to offer some alternatives for people who might be travelling to Europe at a different time, or those who want to avoid Oktoberfest but still enjoy a more traditional German fest.

1. Munich’s Oktoberfest runs from September 22nd, 2012 through October 7th. If you must go to the actual Oktoberfest, it is best if you go during the week and earlier in the day if you want to snag an unreserved seat in a beer tent. The tents fill up quickly and many groups/companies reserve tables. Food is available and it is very good Bavarian fare. It is free to enter, although if you want to ride any rides, you have to pay. One liter (a mass) will cost you between 8.30-8.60 Euro according to the fest website. You may also be expected to pay a deposit on your beer mug, usually 5 Euro that is refunded to you when you are done. Expect to pay to use the bathroom, and at night, expect to stand in long lines to use the bathrooms. If you can’t get into a beer tent, there are some smaller restaurants on the grounds, but they do tend to fill up as well. If you don’t want to do Oktoberfest or happen to be in Munich outside of these dates, the English Garden has a nice open air beer restaurant at the Chinese Tower. This is very close to the Hilton Munich City, and is right on the bus line.

2. Nuremberg has two smaller, excellent fests during the year, the Frühlingsfest in Spring and the Herbstvolksfest in the Fall. The spring fest runs from 7-22 April 2012 and it is located on the festgrounds near the Doku-Zentrum accessible by bus or streetcar from the Hauptbahnhof. There are two beer tents and many small restaurants on the fest grounds. The main beer tent serves Tucher beer at roughly 8 Euro / mass. I prefer these two fests to Oktoberfest as they are nowhere near as crowded, and I think the atmosphere is a little nicer. Link: http://www.volksfest-nuernberg.de/

3. If you happen to be in Germany between the 24th of May and the 5th of June, 2012, there is a fantastic fest in the town of Erlangen, just north of Nuremberg called the Erlangen Bergkirchweih. I went for the first time last year and had an absolute blast. There is a dedicated bus from the train station, and the fest itself is located on the hill to the northern side of the town. While there were three smaller fest tents, the best spots to get a beer were the seats outside the ‘bierkellers’ on the northernmost street of the fest. These kellers all serve different types of Franconian beer. If one doesn’t suit you, move to the next place and try something else. There are rides and plenty of food. Link: http://www.der-berg-ruft.de/

4. For those who are fans of Czech beer, plan on visiting Prague between May 17th and June 2nd and attending the Prague Beer Festival. This one is popular with the locals and British stag parties, but you don’t see too many Germans or Americans here. There are three main tents, each having a different food menu and selection of beers. You purchase beers and food with tokens called Tolars, which you can purchase either from the servers or at stands located throughout the fest. There are a few rides available here, but not as many as the German fests listed above, and they are all kids rides. The grown-ups come here to drink! While the beers here are servved in 1/2 liter glasses instead of the German 1 liter size, they are cheaper and do not get warm as fast since you are drinking a smaller beer. Service is usually good but can be slower during busy times. The servers are all Czech, and very few speak English, so there may be quite a bit of pointing at the menu to get your point across. The tents have live music in the evenings. The fest was held just outside of Letnany airfield but it appears to have moved this year. Link: http://www.ceskypivnifestival.cz/en/

I’ll post some more links and ideas as they come up if this thread generates any interest, but this should get you started. Prost!

Last edited by etch5895; Feb 20, 12 at 1:31 pm. Reason: Added Info
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Old Feb 20, 12, 9:15 pm   #2
 
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Speaking of Franconian Beer, I'll add a couple:

Annafest in Forchheim July 21-30. Forchheim is just a bit farther north than Erlangen. The fest is on the side of a hill with 20+ beer gardens (serving beer from a dozen or so breweries)

Sandkerwa in Bamberg, August 23-27. Bamberg is the beer capital of Germany -- don't let anybody from Munich tell you different! (9 breweries in town, 50+ in the nearby villages). This is held in the winding streets of the old town of Bamberg. All 9 local breweries are represented plus many from surrounding towns and villages.

Being smaller towns, the vibe is different than Oktoberfest, the "Berg" or Nürnberg, but I think you'll find the beer to be much better. But then I am biased.

Lots of discussions of these at www.FranconiaBeerGuide.com (disclaimer: that is my site)
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Old Feb 22, 12, 11:54 am   #3
 
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Thumbs up Yet another option

One of our real discoveries, at least for us, was traveling to Berlin and stopping along the way in Kulmbach. We saw an advertisement for a nine day beerfest and decided it was worth a try. We had such a great time we have returned on two separate European visits. Located north of Nuremberg near Bayreuth Kulmbach is a small town with several breweries and they really know how to celebrate during the last week of July and first week of August.

http://www.2camels.com/kulmbach-bierfest.php

Although the official Kulmbach Beerfest website has not yet been updated for 2012 you can find additional information here.

http://www.bierfest.de/

http://www.live-like-a-german.com/ge...ek-in-Kulmbach

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Old Feb 22, 12, 12:20 pm   #4
 
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I am chasing a 8 day stay at Munich for this year's Oktoberfest. Oh dear, the hotels have some extortionist prices. Any ideas to keep the the budget Sub-€500?
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Old Feb 22, 12, 2:06 pm   #5
 
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Originally Posted by jortheo View Post
I am chasing a 8 day stay at Munich for this year's Oktoberfest. Oh dear, the hotels have some extortionist prices. Any ideas to keep the the budget Sub-€500?
Novotel Munich Airport still has rooms at $184/nt (9/24-9/30 dummy booking). Granted, it is a 30 minute train ride, but it is certainly sub 500 Euro. There are also a few hotels in Augsburg with reasonable rates, but I'd act quick. 8 days equates to a lot of beer drinking!
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Old Feb 24, 12, 12:29 am   #6
 
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Did you know that more than half of the breweries in Germany are located in the state of Bayern (Bavaria)? Here are a few 2012 fests that take place outside of Bayern:

Berlin Beer Festival 2012 (August 3 – 5, 2012): Usually held on the first weekend of August annually, this festival boasts the longest beer garden in the world – one mile long! Stalls offer 2,000 types of beer from over 300 breweries from 86 countries with a focus on smaller, private breweries. Live music and shows. Link: www.bierfestival-berlin.de

Stuttgarter Frühlingsfest 2012: April 21-May 13, Stuttgart. Stuttgart Spring Festival in Cannstatter Wasen celebrates the end of the winter season. The festival features beer tents, bands, funfair, fireworks, and lots of food. Link: www.stuttgarter-fruehlingsfest.de/
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Old Feb 27, 12, 5:46 pm   #7
 
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This is a great thread
I will be in Germany for most of July this year and wouldn't mind hitting a beer festival. Problem is that we are going to be staying in the north-central part of the country. Is anyone aware of any festivals in July near Hanover or within a 100km distance?

I did notice that the Hanover Schutzenfest is at the beginning of July, but I believe that's more like a county fair (e.g. rides) than about beer & food, or am I wrong on that?
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Old Feb 27, 12, 6:07 pm   #8
 
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Originally Posted by jortheo View Post
I am chasing a 8 day stay at Munich for this year's Oktoberfest. Oh dear, the hotels have some extortionist prices. Any ideas to keep the the budget Sub-€500?
We went through PP Travel and they have this nice package, where you stay in the Austrian Alps and they bus you down each day to the festival. The place you stay in is a chalet, but quite dorm-like. Ask if you can have alternative accommodations for a little more money up the block. We had a fantastic time for a great price!
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Old Feb 28, 12, 12:14 am   #9
 
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Canstatter Volksfest (Stuttgart)

According to Wikipedia, the Canstatter Volksfest (held in Stuttgart - Bad Canstatt) is the second largest beer festival in Germany. I find it to be much less touristy than Oktoberfest. In Munich, if you see people up dancing on the tables, they are as likely to be American or Italian as Bavarian! Since Stuttgart is not so famous, that is much less likely...

Although Stuttgart is not nearly as interesting for tourists as Munich, there are museums for Mercedes and Porsche, both of which are built here...

For more info on the Volksfest:

http://www.cannstatter-volksfest.de/index.php?id=2&L=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannstatter_Volksfest
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Old Feb 28, 12, 12:45 pm   #10
 
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Originally Posted by mangoMan View Post
This is a great thread
I will be in Germany for most of July this year and wouldn't mind hitting a beer festival. Problem is that we are going to be staying in the north-central part of the country. Is anyone aware of any festivals in July near Hanover or within a 100km distance?

I did notice that the Hanover Schutzenfest is at the beginning of July, but I believe that's more like a county fair (e.g. rides) than about beer & food, or am I wrong on that?
Most fests look like that. Even Oktoberfest has rides. There is sure to be at least one beer tent and numerous food places, from carnival type fare to regional restaurant specialties. I looked at their webiste and it looks like the typical German fest from the pictures.
http://www.hannover.de/schuetzenfest...atz/index.html

Some more fests in Northern Germany:
Düsseldorf (end of July): Dusseldorf's Grosste Kirmes am Rhein - this is Dusseldorf's biggest festival and it takes place over nine days at the end of July. The festival was originally created in celebration of St Apollinaris, the patron saint of the city, and it now attracts over four million visitors every year. Highlights include a circus, fairground rides, food and drink stalls and an impressive fireworks display on the Rhine River. Link: http://www.dusseldorf.world-guides.c...rf_events.html

Bremen (Oct 19 - Nov 4 2012): 'Ischa Freimarkt' (It is Freimarkt say the Bremen inhabitants when their 'fifth season' starts in autumn. The Bremen beer festival is the oldest fair in Germany and the biggest festival in the north of the country. The Freimarkt is famous for its late night partying and for its state of the art fairground rides. There is no other fair in Germany that offers such a wide range of fun-rides like the riverside city. Thrill seekers will be delighted and partygoers will find a wide range of lively locations.
Thousands of visitors from all over the world sway in the beer tent, listen to rock and pop music in the Hanseatic tent or meet after 8pm in hall 7 to take part in Bremen's largest party. Link: http://www.dertour.co.uk/holidays/be...-beer-festival
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Old Feb 28, 12, 3:45 pm   #11
 
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I'll be in Munich this April during Fruhlingsfest. Has anyone ever attended an if so, any advice/feedback.
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Old Feb 29, 12, 4:20 pm   #12
 
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Originally Posted by etch5895 View Post
2. Nuremberg has two smaller, excellent fests during the year, the Frühlingsfest in Spring and the Herbstvolksfest in the Fall. The spring fest runs from 7-22 April 2012 and it is located on the festgrounds near the Doku-Zentrum accessible by bus or streetcar from the Hauptbahnhof. There are two beer tents and many small restaurants on the fest grounds. The main beer tent serves Tucher beer at roughly 8 Euro / mass. I prefer these two fests to Oktoberfest as they are nowhere near as crowded, and I think the atmosphere is a little nicer. Link: http://www.volksfest-nuernberg.de/
Not to forget the Altstadtfest (http://www.altstadtfest-nue.de/) which starts a week after the Herbstvolksfest. It's spread throughout the old town and is a very nice and cosy thing to go to.
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Old Mar 7, 12, 3:29 pm   #13
 
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This is excellent news... I have arranged a trip to see two football games in April (Furth - St Pauli and Ingolstadt - Karlsruche). We are staying in Bamberg (for the rauchbier) but now we have a beer festival in Nuremberg too. Thank you for the information.

Quote:
Originally Posted by etch5895 View Post
Since several threads annually seem to revolve around Oktoberfest in Munich, I thought it might be a good idea to offer some alternatives for people who might be travelling to Europe at a different time, or those who want to avoid Oktoberfest but still enjoy a more traditional German fest.


2. Nuremberg has two smaller, excellent fests during the year, the Frühlingsfest in Spring and the Herbstvolksfest in the Fall. The spring fest runs from 7-22 April 2012 and it is located on the festgrounds near the Doku-Zentrum accessible by bus or streetcar from the Hauptbahnhof. There are two beer tents and many small restaurants on the fest grounds. The main beer tent serves Tucher beer at roughly 8 Euro / mass. I prefer these two fests to Oktoberfest as they are nowhere near as crowded, and I think the atmosphere is a little nicer. Link: http://www.volksfest-nuernberg.de/

I’ll post some more links and ideas as they come up if this thread generates any interest, but this should get you started. Prost!
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Old Mar 7, 12, 3:43 pm   #14
 
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I did the Munich Oktoberfest a few years ago and had trouble getting a hotel (left it too late). However, we did get camping at the former Olympic Equistrian Stadium. Tent are supplied and you simply rent one for the number of nights you need. It was really cheap and really close to a station. It didn't have the luxury that a hotel room has but it was cheap and unlike a lot of camping you didn't have to take a tent with you. It was called Wiesen Camp and I'm sure we booked over the Internet so they must have a website. It was about €50 a night for a four birth tent (although we went two per tent). Good luck.

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Originally Posted by jortheo View Post
I am chasing a 8 day stay at Munich for this year's Oktoberfest. Oh dear, the hotels have some extortionist prices. Any ideas to keep the the budget Sub-€500?
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Old Mar 11, 12, 12:32 am   #15
 
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Smile

Hello I'm German, I grew up in Hannover and studied in Erlangen, so some comments abut these beerfests:
Hannover: most of the space is used by rides, but the traditional Schuetzenfest (=shooters festival) is about shooting (outside of that area) and drinking. So there are some tents in which you can go and drink. If you go make sure you order for you and your friends a round of "lüttche lage". It's a speciality only drank in Hannover. Your table neighbors can show you how to drink it ;-)
Erlangen: in my opinion it's the nicest beerfest (outside of Hannover). It has a lovely atmosphere. Be sure to book your hotel well in advance as Erlangen is a smaller town. You can also stay in Nuremberg, the taxi ride back is around 30 EUR (well was 6 years ago ;-) )
Basically every village or town has its own beerfestival, which is usually at a slightly different time than the ones of the next big city. In Hannover you could basically go to Schuetzenfests every day between June and September. Even the city subburbs sometimes have their own version. Those small festivals are usually only visited by the local people and might or might not appeal to outside visitors, but they at least have a beer both, a snack/sausage booth and music.
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