Munich’s Starkbierzeit in Mid March

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germany_munich_starkbierzeitThink of it as Oktoberfest without the crowds.

That’s not to say that Starkbierzeit isn’t popular. It is — just not with the foreign crush accompanying the autumn event.

Starkbierzeit takes place in and around Munich, Germany, for three weeks: this year, it starts the evening of March 19, 2014.

The “strong” doesn’t refer to the alcohol content, but to the nutritional value of the Flüssiges Brot (liquid bread) — this has always been a type of beer produced during Lent. According to legend, the Paulaner monks brewed an extra-strong beer to sustain themselves through the 40-day fast.

On the third Thursday following Ash Wednesday, the first barrel of Salvator (a type of beer brewed for Starkbierzeit) is tapped at Paulaner am Nockherberg amidst great fanfare. During the Starkbierfest, Salvator stout is traditionally served in a 1-litre stein, called the Keferloher.

Because the event is much more popular with locals than with foreign tourists, if you don’t speak German you may want to join a tour. One is offered by Bayern Trips

(Photo by Katy Spichal courtesy of Starkier München)