Fasching (Carnival) is over and so that means one thing to many Bavarians: it is now strong beer season. Aside from the Oktoberfest, this is the 2nd biggest beer festival in the city of Munich and a personal favorite of mine as Starkbier has a more roasted flavor which really appeals to me.
Unlike the Oktoberfest which takes place in one clearly defined space at the Theresienwiese, the strong beer festival is really held in two places several miles apart and arguably celebrated to a lesser extent in beer halls throughout the city as they all serve the strong beer for a few weeks time.
So where are those two main epicenters of partying for the Starkbierfest? The Paulaner am Nockherberg is the big one with the Löwenbräu Keller coming in a close second. Both of these have massive fest halls which can pack in thousands of drunks people with an atmosphere quite similar to what you can imagine the Oktoberfest being without 90% of the tourists. All of the locals dress up in Lederhosen and Dirndls (traditional Bavarian dress), they have bands playing traditional music all day long, and there is of course good food and beer at both venues.
The dates are slightly different for the celebration at Paulaner and Löwenbräu.
For the Starkbierfest at Paulaner Am Nockherberg, the dates are: Fri 03/25/11 –Sun 04/10/11
For the Starkbierfest at the Löwenbräu Keller, the dates are: Thu 03/17/11 –Sat 04/16/11
The strong beer is around 7.5%-8% alcohol by volume, which makes it 2-3% stronger than most beers worldwide, but by no means some of the strongest beer in the world.
Also, the strong beer is available in grocery stores and convenience stores if you just want a sample! Look for Paulaner Salvator and Löwenbräu Triumphator as an example. They are in stores as I write this if you don’t want to wait for the big parties to begin!