What is “Starkbierzeit” (strong beer season)?
Munich has more than four seasons. Additionally to the ordinary (spring, summer, autumn, winter) there are two more. The strong beer season and Oktoberfest 😉
About the history of the Starkbierzeit we already made an article. But many tourists asking themselves: What’s going on during “Starkbierzeit”? Because this season is sometimes a bit underrepresented in tourist guide books. And the strong beer season doesn’t appear as flashy and showy as Oktoberfest.
And only very seldom you can see citizens in traditional clothing scampering through the streets.
But nevertheless, strong beer season has to offer a lot.
The main actor first: – The strong beer
What is the difference between strong beer and normal Munich beer? Easy question, isn’t it? The name says it… it is “strong” beer, with higher alcohol content.
That’s right, but, higher alcohol content is only a (wanted) by-product. Strong beer has more “Stammwürze” (the wort). This means there are more solutes from malt and hops. Strong beer has 16°P (“Grad Plato”) wort (normal Munich beer: 11 – 13°P) and more, so there’s a lot more malt-sugar and flavour dissolved. This automatically leads to:
– a darker colour
– a sweeter taste
– fog (floating materials)
– higher alcohol content
Thus not the alcohol content makes a strong beer but the wort.
Ok, enough of this science stuff 😉
How do I know I buy a strong beer?
Nearly every brewery in Munich (and many breweries from the sourrunding area) produce their own strong beer. All those strong beers get the suffix “-ator”.
Here are the strong-beer-names of the traditional Munich breweries:
– Salvator (Paulaner brewery)
– Maximator (Augustiner brewery)
– Triumphator (Löwenbräu brewery)
– Animator (Hacker-Pschorr brewery)
But wait… there are missing two breweries, right?
Interestingly, Hofbräu doesn’t produce strong beer anymore (the one they produced was called: Delicator – funnily it is still sold in the USA e.g. in Hofbräuhaus New York). Spaten brewery also doesn’t produce strong beer for the Bavarian market. They brew the “Optimator” but only for export.
And what more about strong beer season?
Normally, the strong beer season is strongly connected to Lent, but it’s allowed to party. Therefore there are some festivals during strong beer season. Especially in the beer cellars (like for example the Augustiner Keller near central station or Löwenbräukeller at Stiglmeierplatz or at Nockherberg). But be fast to make a reservation… tickets are sold out soon (more information: http://www.muenchen.de/rathaus/home_en/Tourist-Office/Events/Strong_Beer).