It might be Lent in Germany, but in Bavaria at least, there’s no prohibition on enjoying a hearty brew. When monks of the Middle Ages fasted at this time of year, they made up for the lack of food by crafting a beer almost as hearty as bread — and with nearly the same calorie count. The tradition lives on to this day, and from now until Easter, Starkbierzeit, or Strong Beer Season, can be enjoyed nowhere better than in Munich.
How to recognize a Starkbier? It has a beautiful golden-yellow color, and with a 7.5 percent alcohol content, it’s twice as strong as your average Munich keg beer. nother way to determine the nature of the brew is by its name: If it ends in “-ator” (Maximator, Animator, Triumphator, Optimator), it’s almost certainly a member of the strong beer family. The daddy of them all is the Salvator, brewed by the Paulaner Brauerei.
To enjoy a Salvator in its natural setting, head to Paulaner am Nockherberg through March 17 for the annual Starkbierfest. The party takes place in a large hall, and, when the weather cooperates, in the beer garden. From 4 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, guests quaff to the sounds of live music. Entry costs 2 euros per person. Nockherberg is located on Hochstrasse 77. Many of Munich’s other breweries, including the Augustiner Keller, will hold their own strong beer festivals. See http://tinyurl.com/bj6v3vm.