Oktoberfest guide | Paulaner Brauerei München

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Oktoberfest guide

Wiesn dictionary


Bavarian Translation
A fesches Madl

A beautiful girl

A hoibads Hendl bittschee

I’d like half a chicken please


Bavarian pretzel. Strand of dough artistically wound to form a lye bread. At the Wiesn, the enormous, over-sized pretzel is preferred


Similar to a ploughmans; basically a snack consisting of bread, cold cuts of meat and cheese eaten throughout the day. Important components of a Brotzeit are Brezn, Obazda, radish and Leberkäse (meat loaf)






A girl or a type of traditional dress

Fesch bist’

You’re pretty



Host du vui Hoiz vor da Hüttn

You’ve got a nice pair

I mog di

I love you

Is da no frei

Is this seat taken?

Ja mei...

Oh well...


Leberkäse (meat loaf)



Oa Bia

A litre of beer

Oans, Zwoa, Gsuffa.

One, two, down the hatch (the toast used at the Wiesn)


Watch it!


A Bavarian cheese delicacy with Camembert, onions, paprika, caraway seeds, butter and sometimes even beer; available in various beer tents at the Oktoberfest

Pfiad Eana

Bye, see you later



Scheene Aug’n host

You have beautiful eyes


Any speciality


A bread dumpling made with salt, eggs and parsley


Bready roll

So a schmarrn

That's not true

Wiesn knowledge

The secret Wiesn dress code: The dirndl bow code

  • A bow tied on the left hand side: She’s still available. In this case flirting is still allowed or even desired!
  • A bow tied on the right hand side: Hands off! Or think twice about it. Unfortunately, she’s already taken.
  • A bow tied at the back: She is either a Wiesn waitress, or a widow.
  • A bow tied in the middle: She’s still a virgin.

The world’s greatest folk festival

The Wiesn is the world’s greatest folk festival and breaks attendance record every year. A record-breaking quantity of almost 7 million litres of beer was served at the 200th Wiesn jubilee in 2010. In just two weeks, about six million visitors spent close to 830 million Euro in the city. The world’s largest brass band concert also takes place on the second Wiesn Sunday every year. Around 300 musicians from the tents play in front of the Bavaria statue.

The Wiesn tapping: O’zapft is!

Oktoberfest opens with the tapping of the first barrel of the Oktoberfest Bier by the current Lord Mayor of Munich and the cry of “O’zapft is!” (“It’s tapped!”). Afterwards, a twelve gun salute sounds from the steps of the Bavaria statue. That is the signal for the other tent proprietors to start serving. In 1950, it took Lord Mayor Thomas Wimmer a legendary 19 blows (still unbeaten) while the last Lord Mayor Ude is the record holder with only two blows.

Wiesn Schmankerl

It’s a hearty life at the Wiesn. The Wiesn offers a large number of Schmankerl (delicacies) such as Haxe, Hendl, Ochse, Steckerlfisch, Radi (radish), Obazda (dressed cheese) or Würstl.

The Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier

The breweries in Munich brew a special beer for the Oktoberfest: the Oktoberfest Bier. An average of 6 million litres of Oktoberfest Bier is poured for visitors every year. The Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier is a pale, bottom-fermented beer. The original gravity, a measure of the strength of a beer, of the Oktoberfest Bier is greater than that of other Lager beers. Its alcohol content of 6 to 7 % is also greater than that of a normal Lager beer.

The parade of the Wiesn tent proprietors

This has been the official prelude to Oktoberfest since 1887. The Wiesn tent proprietors and showmen parade with their majestic horse-drawn carts through the city centre out to the Theresienwiese. The parade includes the carriages of the Wiesn tent proprietors, the brewery carts carrying traditional wooden beer barrels, the music bands for the tents and the waiters and waitresses. The parade is traditionally led by the Lord Mayor of Munich in a festival carriage.

The first Oktoberfest

A member of the Bavarian national guard suggested that the wedding of Ludwig of Bavaria and princess Therese be celebrated with a big horse race. So, on October 17th, 1810 the first horse race and therefore forerunner of the Oktoberfest took place in the Theresienwiese. Since then, the Wiesn has used the name of princess Therese.

The citizens of Munich

Only Munich beer from Munich breweries may be served at the Oktoberfest. These are even listed by name in the “Betriebsordnung zum Oktoberfest” (Oktoberfest rules and regulations). This is to ensure that the Wiesn remains a truly Munich based affair. “Oktoberfest Bier” is even a registered trademark which is owned by the Verein Münchener Brauereien e.V. (Association of Munich breweries).

No beer for you in the Wiesn tent without a place to sit

If you’ve not reserved a box, you should try to get to the Wiesn as early as possible. Then, it is easiest to find a spare seat in the middle of the tent. From 5 p.m. on a Saturday, two thirds of the central aisle requires no reservation, and on Sundays and public holidays the whole central aisle is free for the taking. If you can’t find a seat you’ll stay thirsty because having nowhere to sit in a tent means you can’t have a beer. The only thing to do is to flirt with those Wiesn visitors who already have a table and hope that they’ll squeeze in a bit to make some room for you.

Industrious girls and boys

Around 1,600 waiters and waitresses ensure that the guests are well supplied. Anita Schwarz from Upper Bavaria holds the record for carrying beer mugs. This Wiesn waitress can carry 19 litres of beer over a distance of 40 metres and put them down again without spilling a drop.