Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Getting Rosy-Cheeked in Rosenheim: A Tale of 'Maß'ive Beers

As people in the Northern Hemisphere are aware in September fall begins. Along with cooler temperatures and turning leaves there are festivals to celebrate this time of year. One of the most famous of these fall festivals takes place in Munich and is known as Oktoberfest. However, since we know people that have worked and gone to Oktoberfest and heard their tales of drunkenness and people using the whole tent as a bathroom we decided a smaller festival might be more to our liking.

With a little research and talking to some other locals we discovered the Rosenheim Herbstfest (Autumn Festival) in Rosenheim, Bavaria, Germany. Our journey began bright and early on a chilly Saturday morning. When we arrived at the train station we found that there were already people, clad in Lederhosen and Dirndl, celebrating the Rosenheim Festival. The train ride was almost like going back in time to college on Spring Break, all around us there were people drinking all assortments of wine and beer  as well as taking shots before 9 am. Needless to say, we were not sure what to expect when we made it to our destination. It turns out, our destination looked more like a County Fair than a mecca for drunken debauchery. In fact from the outside (and inside) of the beer tents everything had a quaint appearance.

We found a table at the Auerbräu beer tent (one of the two) and ordered our first Maß of beer for the day (1 Maß = 1 liter). With our second Maß we moved to a different section as we knew one of the waiters working at the tent and decided it was necessary to order some food. I got the Schweinesbraten (roast pork shoulder) while Dr Husband got the Schweinshax'n  (roasted hind pork leg/knuckle), both served with a Semmelknödle (bread dumpling), potato dumpling, and Sauerkrout/Cabbage salad. Our food arrived and spirits soared as we realized how delicious it was. With food in our belly we decided to explore some of the fair / visit the other beer tent.

We randomly decided to go on the Spooky ride which had more cheese than spook. Satisfied that we had experienced the fair portion of the festival, we made our way to visit the other beer tent, Flötzinger Bräu, after all we needed to be well informed if we were going to recommend this place to other people. This tent featured a large band playing traditional Bavarian music. Occasionally people would stand up in their seats and raise their beers and begin singing along to the songs. We don't know why or what the songs were about, after all it was drunk singing in German, but it seemed important to them.

After taking in what the tent had to offer, we went back to the original tent for a traditional large, soft pretzel. It was also very good. Since it was getting closer to evening and we were still capable of making coherent decisions, we headed back to the train station to go back to Innsbruck. As we were going into the train station, we saw a wave of people arriving, some walking straighter than others, so I think we made the right decision. As an added bonus, we were able to take the fast train back which saved us close to 40 minutes on the return.

Overall it was a very pleasant experience, and I would recommend the Rosenheim Herbstfest. An important note would be that we only heard people speaking German while we were there, and we did all of our ordering and paying in German. The servers were friendly enough that I think pointing to what you want on a menu would be fine, and I'm sure most of them knew at least some English, but it was definitely worth mentioning. We will definitely be returning next year!