Published on : Wednesday, August 20, 2014
It’s time to dust off the German phrasebook and shout ‘Prost!’ with bmi regional, as the most punctual UK scheduled airline for nine consecutive years* prepares to fly hundreds of beer fans to Germany for the annual Munich Oktoberfest.
But the Bavarian capital is far from the only destination for lager lovers and ale aficionados:
savvy sippers can also discover the apple wine of Frankfurt, the whiskies of Scotland (‘Slainte!’)and the lagers of Norway (‘Skal!’) with bmi regional from £79 per person one way.
Munich is always popular during Oktoberfest as devotees make the annual pilgrimage to the largest beer festival in the world, but while Munich is clearly the king of beer cities, ale houses and micro-breweries are springing up all over the bmi regional network.
Sweden’s second city has seen an explosion in all things beer of late, with new micro-breweries opening and plenty of pubs and bars selling craft ales. It’s a compact city so pub crawls are easy.
Don’t miss Beerblioteket: set up by an Aussie, a Kiwi, a South African and a Swede, this hoppy hot spot was voted best new Swedish brewery by the website Beer Sweden** this year; or explore the intriguingly named Electric Nurse, founded by a Swedish couple with a passion for ale (who happen to be an electrical designer and a nurse). Poppels and All in Brewing are also recommended, as are Gothenburg microbrew pioneers Dugges and Ocean. Fly to Gothenburg from Birmingham from £82 per person one
The Norwegian capital is home to one of the oldest breweries in Norway (Ringnes, now owned by Danish giant Carlsberg) and also one of the newest, since Cameron and Andrew Mason – brothers from Brisbane, Australia – set up Little Brother Brewery last year. It specialises in handcrafted real ales and lagers and opens to the public for free tours on Wednesday evenings. The brothers claim it’s the smallest commercial brewery in Oslo, if not the whole of Norway. Fly to Oslo from Aberdeen from £109 per person one way.
The largest beer festival in the world officially kicks off on 20 September when the Mayor of Munich taps the first keg and the beer keeps flowing until close of play on 5 October. Among those constantly on tap are Augustiner, which was founded in 1328 and is the oldest Munich brewery. Another is Hacker Pschorr, founded in the city in 1417, which ceased brewing in the 1970s only to be revived in 2007. Fly to Munich from Bristol from £79 per person one way.
Hamburg, home of the Astra Premium Bier pilsner, holds a Winter Beer Festival, from 7 November to 7 December, where, as well as lots of free-flowing ale and plenty of food, visitors find the biggest funfair in Germany. Hamburg provides a good base from which to visit Bremen, just an hour to the south west, which has the oldest fair in Germany, the Bremen Freimarkt, which has been going for 1,000 years. It’s not technically a ‘beer festival’, but there’s so much ale available and consumed here that it does attract real beer fans; from 17 October to 2 November. Fly to Hamburg from Bristol from £89 per person one way.
Unable to make it to Munich? Bavaria comes to Aberdeen from 24-28 September, when the city holds an Oktoberfest for the first time. Expect waitresses dressed in Dirndl and waiters in Lederhosen, German food, steins of beer and Schlager music during Aberdeen’s tribute to Munich.
Of course, Aberdeen is also the starting point for the Speyside whisky trail, where connoisseurs can sample the delights of some of the world’s favourite malts. The autumn Speyside Whisky Festival runs from 26-29 September, when several distilleries that are not normally open to the public invite enthusiasts to sample their products. Fly to Aberdeen from Manchester from £42 per person one way, from Norwich from £150 per person one way and from Bristol from £79 per person one way.
Frankfurters enjoy a beer (or three), but much more popular is apfelwein (apple wine). Made in the same way as wine, it tastes more like cider and is served in a blue and white pitcher called a bembel, with an alcohol content of 4-7%.
The Sachsenhausen neighbourhood, with its small streets and half-timbered houses, is recommended for an apfelwein pub crawl. Alternatively, as this is Rheingau wine region, home to the majestic Riesling, wine tasting is on offer during the Frankfurt’s Rheingau Wine Festival, from 3-12 September. Fly to Frankfurt from Bristol from £80 per person one way.
Tags: bmi regional