If you’re a beer enthusiast, then there’s no better time to visit Munich than during the Starkbierfest, or the Strong Beer Festival.
Held annually during the spring season, this event is a celebration of dark and strong beer that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds and leave you wanting more.
At Absolute Munich, we’ve been to this festival many times before, and we can attest to the fact that it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.
So, what exactly is the Starkbierfest all about? Let’s dive in and find out.
What is the Strong Beer Festival?
The Strong Beer Fest is a beer festival that takes place in Munich, Germany, usually around late February or early March.
It’s a celebration of strong beer, also known as “Starkbier” in German, which has a higher alcohol content than regular beer.
This festival is a traditional event that’s been held in Munich for over 500 years, with the first documented Starkbierfest taking place in 1751.
What Makes the Strong Beer Festival So Special?
Aside from the fact that the Starkbierfest celebrates strong beer, there are several other things that make this festival unique.
For one, the festival is held in the Paulaner brewery, which is located in the heart of Munich. This means that you’ll be able to sample some of the best beer in the world while surrounded by the very place where it’s brewed.
Additionally, the festival is known for its lively atmosphere and traditional Bavarian music, which creates a definite festive and memorable experience.
Of course, they do have very similar music at the world’s biggest beer festival – Oktoberfest – but it’s certainly not backed by beer as strong as what you’ll find here.
What Types of Beer Can You Expect to Find at the Strong Beer Festival?
As the name suggests, the Starkbierfest is all about strong beer.
You can expect to find a wide variety of dark and rich beers with higher alcohol content than regular beer.
Some of the most popular types of beer at the festival include Doppelbock, Dunkel, and Salvator, which is the beer that started it all.
In addition to beer, there’s also a variety of Bavarian Cuisine available, such as Schweinshaxe (pork knuckles), Bratwurst (sausages), and pretzels.
What Should You Know Before Attending the Starkbierfest?
If you’re planning on attending the Starkbierfest, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
First and foremost, the festival can get quite crowded, so it’s a good idea to arrive early to secure a spot at whatever venue you choose.
However, you should note that the Strong Beer Festival is not an all-day event as you’d experience at the other two big beer festivals in the city (Oktoberfest and Frühlingsfest).
Additionally, some of the location’s festivities are held in large tents at different venues, so it’s a good idea to dress warmly as it can get quite chilly inside.
Lastly, make sure to pace yourself when it comes to drinking as the strong beer can pack a punch.
How Can You Get to the Strong Beer Festival?
The Starkbierfest’s primary location in the city is at the Paulaner brewery in their Festsaal (festival hall) at Nockherberg, which is located in the Au-Haidhausen district of Munich.
Both the Löwenbräukeller and the Augustiner-Bräu also hold events as do a few other small city breweries and beer halls across the city.
The easiest way to get there is by taking public transportation, such as the U-Bahn or S-Bahn, both of which have stops near the brewery.
Additionally, there are plenty of taxis available in Munich, or you can even rent a bike and cycle your way to the festival.
How Much Does it Cost to Attend the Starkbierfest?
Entry to the Starkbierfest is dictated by each venue. Some charge an entry fee that includes a drink, and some a lesser fee that does not. None of the entry fees include food so you will need to purchase beer and food separately to enjoy the festival’s offerings.
These tickets can be purchased at the festival itself and typically it’s around 12 euros for a liter of beer and similar for the cheapest meal.
It’s best to bring cash for any food or drink payments.
What Else is There to Do in Munich During the Starkbierfest?
While the Starkbierfest is undoubtedly the main event, there are plenty of other things to do in Munich during the festival.
You can take a stroll through historic Marienplatz in the Aldstadt and visit the iconic Frauenkirche, discover sensational Museums in the art quarter (Kunstareal) such as the Munich Egyptian Museum (Staatliche Museum Ägyptischer Kunst), or even go skiing in the nearby Alps over on the Zugspitz, Germany’s Highest Mountain.
Munich is a vibrant city with a rich history and culture, so there’s never a shortage of things to see and do.
What Can You Expect at the Starkbierfest?
The Starkbierfest is a unique experience that showcases the best of Bavarian culture.
Visitors can expect to be surrounded by a sea of people dressed in traditional Bavarian attire, drinking steins of strong and flavorful beer, and enjoying delicious Bavarian cuisine.
The festival features live music fused with various entertainment elements all fused to create an overall festive atmosphere that’s sure to make your visit to Munich unforgettable.
A Very Brief History of the Starkbierfest
The Starkbierfest has a rich history that dates back over 500 years. In the 17th century, the Paulaner monks created a special beer called “Salvator” that was rich and full-bodied, with a higher alcohol content than regular beer.
They used this beer to help sustain them during their Lenten fast, and it quickly became popular with the locals.
In 1751, the first documented Starkbierfest was held in Munich to celebrate the end of the fasting period, and it has been held annually ever since.
Tips for Attending the Starkbierfest
If you’re planning on attending the Starkbierfest, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your visit:
- Arrive early to secure a spot in the tent
- Dress warmly, as it can get chilly inside the tents
- Bring cash, as lines for credit card transactions can be long
- Pace yourself when it comes to drinking, as the beer is strong
- Take advantage of the delicious Bavarian cuisine available at the festival
- Be prepared for crowds, as the festival is a popular event
Strong Beer Festival Dates
2023 Starkbier Nockherberg Munich – March 10th to April 2nd
2024 Starkbier Nockherberg Munich – Dates not announced as yet
2025 Starkbier Nockherberg Munich – Dates not announced as yet
2026 Starkbier Nockherberg Munich – Dates not announced as yet
2027 Starkbier Nockherberg Munich – Dates not announced as yet
Other Beer Festivals in Munich
Munich is known for its beer culture and is home to several other beer festivals throughout the year.
The most famous of these is Oktoberfest, which is held annually in September and attracts millions of visitors from around the world.
However, there are several other festivals worth checking out, including the Frühlingsfest in spring, the Auer Dult in summer, and the Winter Tollwood Festival in December.
Getting Around Munich During The Strong Beer Festival
Munich is a relatively compact city, and most attractions are within walking distance or accessible by public transportation.
The city has an extensive network of buses, trams, and trains, and tickets can be purchased at any station or on the bus. Biking is also a popular way to get around Munich, and there are several bike rental companies located throughout the city.
Read our article on Getting Around Munich for the best information on the topic.
Absolute Munich’s Final Thoughts on the Strong Beer Festival
Our thoughts are exactly this – the Starkbierfest is a celebration of strong beer and Bavarian culture and should not be missed.
Whether you’re a beer enthusiast or just looking to experience something new, this festival is sure to leave a lasting impression.
With its lively atmosphere, delicious food and drink, and festive entertainment, the Starkbierfest is a true representation of Munich’s rich history and culture.
So, put on your lederhosen or dirndl, grab a stein, and join us at the Starkbierfest – we’ll see you there!