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Oktoberfest at Morso
On this Saturday, September 22nd, the Schottenhamel tent in Munich is the place to be, if you want to catch the official opening ceremonies of Oktoberfest. At noontime, the lord mayor of Munich will have the honor of tapping the first keg of Oktoberfest beer. Half way around the world, we will also begin celebrating the beginning of Oktoberfest at Morso by tapping our Oktoberfest beer. We love beer and we tap our Oktoberfest beer and serve brats beginning at Noon on September 22!
We are always asked why we begin Oktoberfest in mid-September. It starts with the tradition begun in Germany. The history of Oktoberfest began with Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, marrying Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on 12th October 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. The fields have been named Theresienwiese ("Theresa's fields") in honor of the Crown Princess ever since, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the "Wies'n".
Horse races in the presence of the Royal Family marked the close of the event that was celebrated as a festival for the whole of Bavaria. The decision to repeat the horse races in the subsequent year gave rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest. In 1811 an added feature to the horse races was the first Agricultural Show, designed to boost Bavarian agriculture.
The horse races, which were the oldest and - at one time - the most popular event of the festival are no longer held today. But the Agricultural Show is still held every three years during the Oktoberfest on the southern part of the festival grounds. In the first few decades of the festival the choice of amusements was sparse. The first carousel and two swings were set up in 1818. Visitors were able to quench their thirst at small beer stands which grew rapidly in number. In 1896 the beer stands were replaced by the first beer tents and halls set up by enterprising landlords with the backing of the breweries.
Today, the Oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world, with an international flavor characteristic of the 21th century: some 6 million visitors from all around the world converge on the Oktoberfest each year. This year Oktoberfest begins on September 22 at Noon in the Schottenhamel tent in Munich where the lord mayor of Munich will have the honor of tapping the first keg of Oktoberfest beer.
What is Oktoberfest beer? Oktoberfest beer is usually known as Marzen. Before refrigeration, it was nearly impossible to brew beer in the summer due to the hot weather and bacterial infections. Brewing ended with the coming of spring, and began again in the fall. Most were brewed in March (Märzen). These brews were kept in cold storage over the spring and summer months, or brewed at a higher gravity, so they’d keep. Märzenbier is full-bodied, rich, toasty, typically dark copper in color with a medium to high alcohol content.
The common Munich Oktoberfest beer served at Wies'n (the location at which Munich celebrates its Oktoberfest) contains roughly 5.0-6.0% alcohol by volume, is dark/copper in color, has a mild hop profile and is typically labeled as a Bavarian Märzenbier in style.
So as a nod to the Münchners where it all started, on September 22 at noon we will be tapping a keg of Oktoberfest beer! Besides why would we wait until October if there is a perfectly great reason to start in September!