Why you’re going: To drink strong seasonal beer and gorge on schnitzel.
Oktoberfest gets all the press, but the real jam actually happens months earlier at the start of spring. Beginning in early March, when winter’s still got a bit of bite to it, Munich throws a three-week beer fest called Starkbierzeit -- literally, “Strong Beer Time.” God, German is a beautifully pragmatic language.
The fest’s a local tradition dating back to the 17th century, when the Paulaner monks first whipped up their world-famous Salvator double bock (or doppelbock) as a substitute for solid food during Lent. Don’t worry if you can’t make it in time for Starkbierzeit, though; strong doppelbocks continue to be the brew of choice through early May, when the breweries transition to lighter hellesbocks and maibocks (literally “May bock”) as the weather starts to get milder.
Fun fact: While the Bocks poured during Starkbierzeit definitely do pack a punch, the “Strong” part actually refers to their high calorie count, not the amount of alcohol. Get fat, not tipsy!