It’s the month of October and with that comes the crisp air of autumn, beautiful fall leaves, and one of our favorite beer seasons: it’s the month for the Oktoberfest! Not only does this mean you can buy tickets to attend one of the largest beer festivals in the country, but you get to have an extended selection of delicious beers that you can’t get at any other time of year. Before you head out to try some of the delicious selections of autumn brews out there, one of our friends and site sponsors James Ferree recommended we do a post sharing a little bit about the history of one of America’s favorite (and most important!) festivities.
As most of you may already know, Oktoberfest was originally a German celebration. However, you may not know that we have the German Royal Family to thank for the celebrated tradition. It all started in 1810 when Prince Ludwid was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, on the 12th of October. In celebration of the wedding, they held horse races in Munich. The races were so popular that they continued the following years, quickly becoming an annually celebrated event. The celebration expanded to include an Agricultural Show, which continues today (although they no longer host the horse races).
So, where does the beer come in? Well as visitors attended the annual festival and it grew in popularity, vendors began to bring in different forms of entertainment, which was closely followed by small beer stands. The beer was such a popular addition to the festival, that it quickly escalated to being one of the main events citizens looked forward to at Oktoberfest. By the end of the 19th century, Oktoberfest had full-on breweries setting up tents with specialty draft beers. It certainly didn’t take long for this October Beer Festival to spread across the globe in popularity, and today it is the largest festival world-wide.