“The fifth season” is the name given to Munich’s strong beer festival period in March. Despite its lesser known status, this beer festival is an important event on the city’s social calendar and one we’d recommend you add to yours!
With a strong historical background and an even stronger special beer recipe, the Strong Beer Festival, or Starkbierfest, is a delightful pause to Munich’s winter woes. Get a taste of history, dust off your dirndls and lederhosen, or simply start singing with our information below!
What Is Starkbierfest In Munich?
One of the lesser-known (but arguably local favourite) beer fests takes place right between Fasching and Frühlingsfest; Starkbierfest (Strong Beer fest!). The glorious and historical tradition of enjoying copious amounts of strong beer throughout the Lent season.
Typically the festivities are from March to early April, but some breweries like to kick it off early on the final days of February. It has all the Bavarian charm of Oktoberfest and less touristy drama, making this small beer festival a wonderful experience.
The History of Munich’s Starkbierfest
Starkbier is a beer tradition started by monks in Munich. The Paulaner monks to be exact, who began brewing their famous Starkbier in 1651 as a supplement for the lent period. Their 40 days of Lent fasting were smoothed over by this special brew they dubbed ‘Flüssiges Brot’ (liquid bread).
As a result of the name Strong Beer, you might think it has a higher alcohol content. However, the reference to its strength actually comes from its higher caloric density! Monks used this loophole for Lent to get more calories and buzz their way into the warmer season…and technically, it has slightly more alcohol volume, too. As opposed to the average 5% beer here, this one has 7.5%-9%.
Where To Go For The Strong Beer Festival In Munich
Unlike Munich’s other beloved beer fests, Oktoberfest and Frühlingsfest, the Strong Beer Festival does not take place all together at the fair grounds of Theresienwiese. Instead, it takes place throughout the city in different breweries.
There are three main breweries that host the largest events;
- Paulaner am Nockherberg, Hochstr. 77 – March 10, 2023 – April 2, 2023
- Löwenbräu Keller, Nymphenburger Str. 2 – March 10,2023 – March 25,2023
- Augustiner Keller, Arnulfstr. 52 -February 24, 2023 – April 1, 2023
but many other smaller breweries put on their own mini-fests also! We’ve put together a handy guide for you to find more of those details (including ticket AND beer prices) here!