The scene is a familiar one: women and men decked out in traditional dirndls and lederhosen while they swig steins of beer to the toe-tapping tune of oompah bands.
Must be Oktoberfest, right? Über wrong.
Starkbierzeit, loosely translated as Bavaria's "strong beer festival" and literally translated as "strong beer time," is the lesser known but notably stronger of the sud-soaked events for Müncheners. This year, Starkbierzeit began March 9 and runs until March 25.
Read the full story on CNN Travel: "Munich's 'other' beer festival"
What is it about big events involving food and drink that end with media reports telling us how much was actually consumed during the event? It’s the sort of information that people "eat up."
For example, every year in the United States, we’re fed the news about who ate the most hot dogs in the annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island. This year’s winner, Joey ‘Jaws’ Chestnut, ate his way through 62 hot dogs - and buns - in the allotted time of only 10 minutes. That’s over six hot dogs a minute! In the women’s division, the champ chomped her way through 40 hot dogs.
Last week, as every year, we were treated to another annual tradition - something I’d like to call “Oktoberfest by the numbers.” It’s when we get to digest all sorts of fascinating statistics following the end of the world’s largest beer festival, which also happens to serve a lot of food.
One of my biggest irrational worries right now is of somehow becoming incapacitated, forcing authorities to barge into my apartment all movie-style and come face-to-face with the large number of full and empty beer bottles that I currently have scattered around the place.
What was going on that brought so much beer into her apartment? Either serious problems, or serious partying.
But I assure you, it's all in the name of science. And there really is such a thing as too much beer. Really.
Ein Bier Bitte! This time of year, these three simple German words are, perhaps, the most spoken in the world. They are, after all, the linguistic key to survival for millions of beer lovers who’ve made a pilgrimage to Bavaria for Munich’s famed Oktoberfest.
Having lived 10 years in Munich myself, I’ve lost count of how many German Biers I’ve ordered. But in sampling many of the best brews Bavaria has to offer, I learned something that’s often lost on the casual Oktoberfest visitor: German Bier is more than just a thirst-quenching elixir brewed with a distinct balance of malt and hops. It’s also about the glass or mug that holds it – so, that giant, one-liter Oktoberfest Maßkrug? It was designed that way for a reason - not just to become an over-sized souvenir.