The Strong Beer Season

When the carnival season ends, it is traditionally time for 40 days of fasting. 

When the carnival season ends, it is traditionally time for 40 days of fasting. In Christianity, this period is supposed to recall the "temptation of Christ", according to which Jesus spent 40 days in the desert with no food and resisted the temptations of the devil. To this day, many Christians still use this time to prove their temperance and the strength of their will.

Interesting, the strong beer season is also in the season of fasting. We are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Bavarian ‘Reinheitsgebot’ (purity law for beer), and in the anniversary year for beer, we have written a brief article which should shine some light on what appears to be a topic with many contradictions.

The origins of the strong beer season

How can temperance and an increased consumption of beer be reconciled? Surprisingly, it was actually the Roman Catholic Paulaner monks who succeeded in doing this for the first time. In the early 17th century, drawing their inspiration from the Munich Hofbräuhaus brewery, they created the first bock beer. It might also be said that it was invented out of desperate need. The Paulaner monks came from southern Italy and first arrived in the then flourishing city of Munich in the year 1627. The far colder climate than the one to which they were accustomed gave them a hard fight, especially during the season of fasting, when only a limited number of meals were permitted. To make up for the lack of calories they brewed a beer that had a substantially increased nutritional value. The monks were allowed to drink as much as they wanted in the season of fasting.

The tradition lives on

Even almost 400 years after the first strong beer was brewed by the Paulaner monks, the whole of Bavaria now celebrates the strong beer season. Beer fests take place all over the region, and between carnival and Easter almost every brewery launches special festival beer with an especially high wort content and an alcohol concentration of 6.5 % or more. At every strong beer fest, along with the rich and rewarding beer, guests also enjoy entertainment, with an especially popular tradition being the cabaret artists who hold up politicians to sarcastic mockery in what the Bavarians call ‘Derblecken’.

The Ayinger private brewery strong beer festival

We strongly recommend the strong beer festival in Aying which is just outside Munich. On February 27th at the Schalander pub, which is run by the Ayinger private brewery, proprietor Franz Inselkammer Jr. will reach for the hammer and open the first wooden barrel of tasty Ayinger Celebrator beer. Alpine rock and the finest musical cabaret provide a great atmosphere. For further information, please visit the private brewery's website.