Monday, November 3, 2014

"The Big Six" Breweries: Munich, Germany

A few weeks ago, I outlined some of the history of Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. Today, I am going to give you an introduction to "the Big Six", or the original six Munich Oktoberfest-breweries. Currently, there are 14 big tents at Oktoberfest, and plenty of smaller tents to choose from. As tradition goes, at Oktoberfest in Munich the only beer allowed to be served is beer that meets Bavarian Purity Requirements. Each year at Oktoberfest, over 6 million liters of beer are consumed: this number makes up around 30% of the annual beer production of these six breweries. With that, here is a quick introduction to The Big Six beers, and which tents these beers are served in at Oktoberfest!

Augustiner Oktoberfest 2014
Augustiner: The oldest Munich brewery, Augustiner was founded in 1328. At Oktoberfest, Augustiner beer has 6% alcohol and is sold in the beer tents Augustiner-Festzelt (pictured above) and Fischer Vroni. Augustiner is the only Munich brewery still using wooden barrels for storing beer. A fun fact about Augustiner beer is that the Brewery has it's own private well, located 700 feet underground. The Augustiner-Festzelt tent is considered to be the friendliest tent and best atmosphere for families.

Pschorr Bräurosl Oktoberfest 2014
Pschorr-Bräurosl, one of two tents where Hacker Pschorr is served
Hacker Festzelt Oktoberfest 2014
Hacker-Festzelt, one of two tents where Hacker Pschorr is served
Hacker Pschorr was founded in 1417 and grew to be the leading Munich brewery by the 18th century under the couple Joseph Pschorr and Maria Theresia Hacker. After they passed, the brewery was divided into Hacker brewery and Pschorr brewery, not to be reunited until the 1970s. The beer has 5.8% alcohol, the lightest beer served at Oktoberfest and available in Hacker-Festzelt and Pschorr-Bräurosl tents (both pictured above).

Hofbräu Festzelt Oktoberfest 2014 tent
Hofbräu Festzelt
Hofbräu was founded in 1589 by Duke Wilhelm V, thus the HB adorned by a crown in the logo. Hofbräuhaus is one of the most important tourist attractions in Munich and now various breweries throughout the world. Hofbräu is served at Hofbräu Festzelt, the strongest beer served at Oktoberfest with a 6.3% alcohol content. Almost 10,000 people can be served in Hofbräu Festzelt.

Löwenbräu Festzelt Oktoberfest 2014
Löwenbräu Festzelt
Löwenbräu is believed to be have been founded as early as 1324. Löwnbräu is one of the most recognized worldwide names for beer, with the logo of the beer being a lion. At Oktoberfest, the 6.1% beer is sold in the Löwenbräu-Zelt and Schützenzelt tents.

Winzerer Fähndl tent Oktoberfest 2014
Winzerer Fähndl Tent, famous for the Paulaner mug
Armbrustschützenzelt tent Oktoberfest 2014
Armbrustschützenzelt Tent
Paulaner has been brewed since 1634 in the Paulaner monastery, and is therefore the most recent Munich beer. Originally, it was only sold in public on holidays. Paulaner is now the largest brewery in Bavaria and one of the most modern. The Oktoberfest Paulaner beer has 6% alcohol and is sold in Winzerer Fähndl, the Armbrustschützenzelt, the Käferzelt and the Wine tents.

Schottenhamel Tent Oktoberfest 2014
Schottenhamel Tent
The Spaten brewery was founded in 1397. The logo of Spaten is a spade with the initials "GS" for Gabriel Sedlmayr. Spaten Oktoberfest beers are 5.9% alcohol and served in the Schottenhamel, the Marstall, the Ochsenbraterei, and the Spaten-Zelt tents.

So there you have it with a review of Augustiner, Hacker Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, and Spaten beers, along with the various tents they are served in! Of course, while at Oktoberfest, there are many different things you can do and participate in beyond just drinking beer in the tents. This year, we were there on a day when the breweries had their horses pulling 'keg sleighs' of all the beers. These pictures are located below!

The Hacker Pschorr Horses
Hacker Pschorr Kegs Oktoberfest
Hacker Pschorr Kegs

Hofbräuhaus München beer
One of many beers consumed at Hofbrauhaus 
Höfbräuhaus kegs Oktoberfest
Hofbräu Kegs
Löwenbräu kegs Oktoberfest
Löwenbräu Kegs
Paulaner Horses Oktoberfest
Paulaner Horses
Paulaner Kegs Oktoberfest dirndl
Standing in front of the Paulaner kegs at Oktoberfest 2014!
As you can see, the horses and 'keg wagons' are gorgeously adorned with flowers and signs, a sign of pride for the various breweries. Oktoberfest in Munich is most certainly a bucket list experience that everyone should experience once in a lifetime!

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