Of all the ideas men toss around while throwing back a few beers, most are fairly inconsequential. But what happens when one idle thought turns into a mission? What happens when one man’s simple wish to attend a beer festival morphs into getting beer at Oktoberfest in Germany? That’s a life-changing idea. And that is exactly what happened to me.
In early 2010, I was talking with a buddy who jokingly suggested that we should go to Beerfest, like the guys in the 2006 movie of the same name. I told him Beerfest wasn’t real, but Oktoberfest was. We both agreed that it sounded like an awesome idea. At the time, I thought it was a passing thought, just one of the many intangible things that we have talked about over the years. But the next day he presented me with a full itinerary outlining our trip to the 200th anniversary of Oktoberfest in Munich, and my life has never been the same.
From the moment we arrived at the Wiesn in 2010, I knew I was experiencing something special. This was not a simple festival. It was the Six Flags of beer. The “tents” were massive structures, there was a midway that seemed to run for miles, and they even had rides like roller coasters, a log flume, and a Ferris wheel. The sights, sounds, and smells were familiar, but Oktoberfest wasn’t like anything I have ever experienced in the United States. Sitting in the Schottenhamel biergarten and the Paulaner Festzelt just felt right. Inside the tents, it’s just you and your closest 10,000 friends drinking beer, dancing, and singing along with the band. Despite language barriers and different nationalities, Oktoberfest brings everyone together.
On a post-vacation high and nostalgic for the wonder I just experienced at the Wiesn, I sought out Oktoberfest events stateside. I was disappointed to find that most local celebrations were missing that Munich magic. Sure, they all had pretzels, bratwursts, and beer aplenty. Some had German bands that played the sweet sounds of Ein Prosit. There were even a few local enthusiasts sporting lederhosen and dirndls. But overall, I found myself missing the more authentic touches like beer from the top Munich breweries, elaborately decorated tents, and the welcoming laughter of thousands of my new best friends as they climbed on top of the beer hall benches to raise their glass Maß in song.
That’s when I knew I had to throw my own authentic Oktoberfest party, and thus, Backyard Oktoberfest was born.
Backyard Oktoberfest is a website designed to help Oktoberfest enthusiasts like you and me replicate the Wiesn in our own backyards. We strive to be the most comprehensive resource for all of your Oktoberfest needs. While we provide some information about the official Oktoberfest in Munich, the site is geared toward giving you the inspiration and assistance you’ll need to host your own Oktoberfest. It also offers reviews of local Oktoberfest events and Oktoberfest beers. Visitors to the site, including you, are encouraged to add your own expertise to our database by writing reviews and providing feedback that will help others have the best Oktoberfest season possible. We may not be able to share a bier in the Paulaner Festzelt ever year, but Backyard Oktoberfest will help you feel like you’re there. Prost!