The Hofbräuhaus Is #BeerLovers Heaven
By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com Oktoberfest Blogger
The first reaction to walking into a beer hall for Munich Oktobefest is something I’ll never forget.
It was Opening Day and I was outside the Hofbräuhaus, the most famous of all the bierhalls. A morning parade through the city had just concluded and horse-drawn carriages full of old wooden kegs were lined up outside each bierhall. Knowing the Hofbrauhaus had the reputation for being the best one of them all – and for good reason, we found out later – we had positioned ourselves to make a made dash inside once the doors opened at 11 a.m.
My associate, Luau Larry, and I had the advantage of having PubClub.com press passes and were told we could enter before the crowds, right along with the band.
We took this to mean we could waltz right into the place and calmly take our positions – me by the waitresses carrying fistfulls of those 1-liter beers and Luau by the mayor for the tapping of the first keg to officially open Oktoberfest – and then start having beers ourselves.
Well things don’t work quite that way, as we quickly discovered. When the big doors swung open, the band immediately started marching inside and Luau and I had to sprint to keep from getting trampled. I found myself pinned up against a half-sized wall just inside and when I turned around, my jaw dropped open in disbelief.
In front of me was a bierhall the size of which blew my mind. It went back as far as the eye could see; I had no idea they were that huge.
It was already full of people; every seat was taken and there were rows upon rows upon rows of long picnic tables. There was even a balcony surrounding the entire floor and it, too, was full. (As I later learned, these were mainly locals who had made advance table reservations, which is not necessary on Opening Weekend but is not a bad idea, either.)
It was briefly stunned and unable to move. But I soon regained my senses – I had to get up on my tip-toes and press myself against the wall to keep from getting run over by the band, for it apparently stops for nothing – and then dashed over to catch the waitresses with those beers.
The photographers wanted the girls to stop and pose while holding the beers but they plowed through us like an NFL running back fighting for a first down. I later found out why; those all-glass mugs are heavy when empty and are downright a burden when full. I counted eight, nine, even 10 in the hands of the waitresses.
It was amazing.
Luau Larry did manage to slip through the band and the crowd and caught the mayor tapping the first keg. Somehow, we met up later and eventually our other friends joined us at the only seats available, way at the back. That’s okay, tho; anywhere in a bierhall is great, and we quickly made new friends.
Yet what makes the Hofbrauhaus the biggest party bierhall is that it’s the only one that does not require you to be sitting at a table to get a beer. Most people cram in around the center, somewhere below the band, and hoist those big beers daytime and nighttime.
It’s a great experience and one I highly recommend to anyone.