Picture, if you will, massive striped tents festooned with hop bines, beer signage, and medieval-looking chandeliers. Inside, in the hazy golden light, an army of buxom fräulein cheerfully tote huge steins of beer, eight at a time, amid tables lined with travelers, young and old, thousands of them. You’re one, too. An oom-pah band is rocking in the middle distance on a raised platform. Everyone is smiling and laughing. It’s like you’re Ferris Bueller, starring in your own Teutonic parade. Danke schoen, you sing, and take a long draught of crisp, local hellesbier, toasting your favorite drinking buddy: Dad. (For the record, you are both rocking lederhosen, because why the hell not?) You’ve arrived, in beervana, a.k.a. Oktoberfest, in Munich, the world’s biggest beer bash, a 16-day “folk fest” like no other.
Sound like a good time? Oh, it is—on a ridiculous scale, we promise you—but if you want to attend, you can’t just hop on a plane in September (when the real fest is held), deplane in Munich, and saunter up to the gates of Castle Swiggenstein. You need a plan. You need tickets. You need accommodations, wheels, train passes. All of this is exactly why we’re overjoyed to bring you a beercation like no other. Our friends at Man Crates have put together a contest to win a VIP trip for two to the big bash, with fully comped airfare, hotels, and backstage passes, not to mention a week-long guided tour of breweries and historic sites throughout Munich, Stuttgart, Regensburg, and Salzburg. What are you waiting for? Enter here, and sing us some danke shoen later. And stay tuned for three more posts from us about the wonders of Germanic beer culture, from ancient monastic hilltop breweries to fascinating styles that never tasted better than from the very source.