PARIS’ FIRST OKTOBERFEST

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Since arriving in Paris just over a year ago, my search for flavorful, unique beers has been successful beyond what I thought possible. With recurrent weekend trips to Deck and Donohue’s brewery for periodic stock ups and with the discovery of the newly opened BAPBAP brewery, my beer-loving American palate is blissfully pleased.

Although I am quite content with my constant search for good French beer, my mind is reeling with the news of the first ever Oktoberfest right here in Paris. While Americans might know a thing or two about welcoming young microbrews and the French are blowing my mind with their openness to this new movement, we could all learn a thing or two from Germany, a nation which has been making beer since the 6th century. Starting in homes and later being professionally made by monks and nuns, beer has long been a central part of Germany’s national character. On October 12th in 1810, the Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, who then commemorated their marriage with a massive public festival, with beer at its core. The festival was such a hit that it was reinstated the following year and has been held every year since. It is now widely known as Oktoberfest. This year marks the 182nd annual festival and the very first year it will be celebrated in Paris! 10,000 people are expected to join in the 10-day festival. A large tent will house the best of German fare, including Schweinshaxe (roasted ham hock), Obatzda (a cheese delicacy) and Kaiserschmarrn (a delicious thick breakfast or dessert crepe); not to mention the great beer. Five types of Paulaner beer will be on tap, ready for consumption, including the seasonal Oktoberfest brew that has been brewed annually since 1818, a toasty malt beer called Hefe‐Weissbier Dunkel, a light, sweet and bitter brew called Hefe‐Weissbier‐Naturatrüb, and two non‐alcoholic brews: the Hefe‐Weissbier (with the same taste as the Naturatrüb) and the light citrusy Weissbier‐Radler, so that everyone can enjoy a drink. Along with the good food and beverages, the festival comes complete with entertainment. One of the best German “Volksmusik” bands, Die Steinsberger, will be showcasing, along with dance performances of the Bavarian Can Can. For the first time in the world, the Bavarian Can Can will be performed as a mix of French Can Can and traditional German dance, marrying the cultural dance styles of two great nations. Personally, I can’t wait to join so many others in experiencing firsthand this legendary cultural festival of culinary delights and especially the flavorful German beers, right here in Paris.

Tickets for Oktoberfest can be purchased online www.oktoberfestparis.com

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