I was looking back to my sordid past when I wrote the last column (Halloween). I realized that the month was over and I didn’t even get to write about the month-long beer celebration of Oktoberfest. Bad alcohol columnist, bad (imagine me slapping my wrist as you read that). So I thought that I’d give a bit of a wrap-up of what’s been going on.
How did it start?
First, a bit of a background of how this booze festival started. The first Oktoberfest can be tracked back to the wedding of King Ludwig I (then prince) of Bavaria, to Princess Therese of Saxony- Hildburghausen (try saying that really fast five times) on October 12, 1810. The King invited thousands of guests to celebrate the happy nuptials. What began as basically a really big wedding reception eventually became an annual festivity in the entire country of Bavaria. The copious amounts of food and beer have been a staple ever since and is one of the highlights of the modern festival.
I’ve actually been lucky enough to go to the celebration in Munich. The aroma of pretzels, sausages and beer – everyone was just ready to drink and party. Everyone just had this unspoken goal, drink as much beer as you can in a single day! Or if you’re lucky you can drink and celebrate for 16 days on binge drinking. I had so much to drink then, I only have 50 percent of my memory intact, lol.
How has it been celebrated in The Philippines?
Being a nation that loves its food and alcohol, and will take up any excuse to indulge in one or the other (but in most cases, it’s both), it’s hardly surprising that we have also come to celebrate this German tradition in our sandy shores. Apparently, Oktoberfest in the Philippines has been around for some 75 years and has become associated with the month-long beer festival usually sponsored by the two biggest beer corporations in the country: San Miguel Corporation and Asia Brewery.
The Oktoberfest in the Philippines usually consists of concerts and rave parties with abundant beer held in bars and other venues around major cities like Manila, Cebu and Davao.
Where are we headed?
With the bar and cocktail culture getting more sophisticated, beer culture is also following suit. Last October 17 saw the growing annual (it has definitely grown!) Brew Fest. Held at the Circuit Makati, this was a venue for the several local breweries we have, as well as stores and bars that specialize in bringing in craft beer from all over the world.
I was in awe at how big and organized the Brew Fest was, proud of how far the Philippines has grown. Music, brews and a community of people who love their craft is just awesome. Finally, we have an Oktoberfest we can be proud of! A very long line up of Filipino craft beers, supported by imported brands. We now have something to look forward to every year and potentially an international event we can share with the world. This is the future.
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