Bavaria’s most anticipated 5th season is just around the corner: Starkbierzeit! (Strong beer season). The other 4 are naturally winter, spring, summer and fall. And on the eighth day, He made Starkbierzeit!!!! This is the time between Ash Wednesday and Holy Thursday which is a Long 46 days of strict fasting. Unfortunately, during the 17th century the monks were not always allowed to eat any solid foods. Luckily for the Paulaner Monks in Munich found a loophole which made it acceptable to drink liquids.
This fifth season is called the “strong beer season” not only because the beers a brewed between 7.5% and 9% and sometimes clocking in at 13%, but also because of its heavy, filling flavor. These heavy beers were enough to keep a monk from getting too hungry, therefore, this drink is often referred to as a “liquid bread”.
Starkbier has a unique flavor which includes toffee, caramel, cloves, bread, toast, coffee and sugar. When the beer is poured, it leaves a nice, creamy and foamy head on top of a dark, amber beer. This is one of my favorite beers in all of Germany and it has gotten me hooked on darker foamy beers!
The most popular starkbeer brewers are Paulaner, Löwenbrau, Augustiner and Hacker-Pschorr. Just like Oktoberfest, you can find Festivals celebrating Germany’s culture, but because this beer is much stronger than normal beer, most tents dont open until later and they close earlier. This way the drunks aren’t disturbing the peace which is cherished in Germany. But, this beer isn’t meant to be chugged and downed in five minutes. Its the type of beer you want to sip on and enjoy every minute of.
Being a festival and all, no festival is complete without some good German traditional Songs! One of the most popular, usually played at all Festivals is “Ein Prosit, ein Prosit, der Gemütlichkeit”. There is no direct Translation for this but the song goes something like this:
Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit, der Gemütlichkeit…
Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit, der Gemütlichkeit…
Oans, Zwoa, Drei, Gsuffa!!! (This is very Bavarian!)
and the Translation goes something like this:
Cheers! Cheers to the coziness!…
Cheers! Cheers to the coziness…
One, Two, Three DRINK!!!
Like I said, there is no real Translation for this song other than having “an atmosphere of coziness or comfort”. Basically just being down right happy you have a good beer in your hand!
Many breweries in Munich and around Bavaria make their own Version of the Starkbier, usually with the Suffix -ator on the end. Apparently, there is a “Strong Beer Route” that is suggested to be taken, especially for the fans. I am a fan and therefore should definitely do this route. Although it is not recommended to do it all in one day otherwise you will regret this decision by the end of the route.
First, it is said to stop at the Paulauner Brewery and try the original “Salvator” and should be tasted as close to the original spot as possible, therefore head to Nockherberg, which is also the Location of the tapping of the first keg.
Next, head to a Restaurant named Kreuzberger where you can try the “Maximator” from the Augustiner brewery!
Then head to Löwenbräükeller, which is home to the “Triumphator”. With a name like that, I definitely have to try it! This is my goal for 2015 is to try a beer at each location!
One of my most favorite Dopplebocks is the Weltenburger AsamBock Bier. This beer is still brewed by the monks at the Weltenburg Abbey along the Danube river, which is the world’s oldest monastery brewery in the world. They have a local restaurant right here in the center of Regensburg, Weltenburger am Dom, which I can always get a fresh glass of to go along with my dinner. But, more times than not, I end up having to share it. This is not a beer you should eat and drink with. It should be one or the other because it is so filling.
In Regensburg, many people go to the line up for the buses that will take them to the Palmator Starkbierfest which is right outside of Regensburg. If you are a Regensburger, you take Bus 12 up to the Prösslbräu Brewery in Adlersberg. Palmator is only for one day and I do not suggest driving by car otherwise you will miss out on the fun of drinking!
This year Starkbierfest is on March 29 at Palmator at 9 am. You can be sure that it will be packed full of people because everyone from Regensburg will be there. It is wise to bring a blanket in case you end up having to sit in the grass fields.
Prosslbrau Adlersberg Facebook page for more information
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