For beer fans, Oktoberfest is almost like Christmas. We anxiously await this season of merriment; counting down the days until the first keg is tapped. But have you ever wondered just how Oktoberfest got its start? Did someone wake up one October day and say, Let’s throw a 16-day party? To answer that question we first have to look back in time.
In October of 1810, Crown Prince Ludwig was set to marry Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen, but in true royal fashion this was no ordinary wedding. No expense was spared on behalf of the father of the groom, King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria. Ludwig and Therese’s wedding was a massive celebration with a 40,000 person guest count, free-flowing beer and a 36,000-foot horse race in a large meadow just outside of town.
The celebration was deemed the reception of the century. In fact, everything was so successful that Ludwig decided a horse race should be held the following year in conjunction with the state agricultural show. Taverns and “eating houses” were also allowed to provide tempting fare; among them was none other than the original Hofbräuhaus. Voila! Oktoberfest had arrived.
But wait, I can already hear you asking, Just what does any of this have to do with beer?
Two years after the wedding, the royal brewers created a beer especially for the festival. With a deep golden color and higher alcohol content, the world-famous Oktoberfestbier from Hofbräu Mϋnchen made its mark on history.
Today, Ludwig’s and Therese’ anniversary is still celebrated all over the world by thousands of patrons and, of course, that includes beer! The horse races, unfortunately, ended in 1960, though perhaps that’s for the best. Drinking & horse racing don’t exactly make for a perfect marriage.
Now that we’ve uncovered the (very simplified version) of history as it relates to Oktoberfest, put your fellow beer lovers in the know too. Share this post and keep the spirit of the season alive all year long! Until next time, prost!