The first weekend of May marked the final weekend of Munich’s spring beer-fest, called Fruhlingsfest. Often called the little sister of Oktoberfest, Fruhlingsfest occurs from mid-April to the beginning of May. Although it may be significantly smaller than its big sister, it’s all the fun and then some.
Located at the Theresienwiese (Munich’s official Oktoberfest field), at first glance, the festival looks like your average carnival. Picture a state fair with crazy upside-down rides, a ferris wheel and food shacks galore. Next, add two massive tents lined with wooden kegs and filled with German beer maids in dirndls and lederhosen-clad men galore. There you have the epic event called Fruhlingsfest!
There are two main tents, the Hippodrom and the Augustiner tent.
Each seat near 2,000 people and serve different types of beer. The first is Augustiner beer, which comes from Munich’s oldest brewery and is made using the same process as its original brewers, an order of monks, since 1328. They continue to maintain their near 700-year-old traditions and serve their product strictly from wooden barrels at both Oktoberfest and Fruhlingsfest.
The other beer served is Paulaner Weisen, a white wheat Bavarian beer, which comes perfectly frothy and delicious. Entry to the tents is free, but it costs 8 euros per Maß (one liter mug) of beer, which translates into about 4 cans of 12-oz. beer. The festival goes from 12 pm to 11 pm, but it’s necessary to arrive earlier in the afternoon if you want to snag a table for you and your friends.
Complete with a rowdy Bavarian band, the musicians play a variety of music, both German and American tunes, with which the whole crowd is obliged to sing along. The best song by far, Ein Prosit, is played every 20 minutes or so to encourage revelers to keep chugging and keep the energy levels up.
Whenever it’s played, everyone stands up and can’t help but move to the rhythm of the song, cheersing everyone around with their giant mug of beer. Finishing with a rambunctious yell of “PROST”, the German equivalent to “cheers”, it’s a song that reminds partygoers of why they’re there, for “Gemütlichkeit.” Though it has no real English translation, “Gemütlichkeit” roughly means the social togetherness and friendly spirit that both Oktoberfest and Fruhlingsfest are meant to embody.
All in all, if you have a chance to go to Fruhlingsfest, take the trip in a heartbeat. Good beer, good food, and good friends, you really can’t get much better than that. Prost!