By MANTA KLANGBOONKRONG
THE HILTON PATTAYA’S second annual Oktoberfest last week was a riotous celebration with lots of German grub, music, dancing and, of course, Paulaner-brewed Oktoberfest beer.
The ballroom of the hotel was devoted wholly to merry-making for expatriates wanting to celebrate the traditional German beer festival away from home, their numbers swelled by fun-loving, lager-guzzling locals. Hundreds attended, some ladies wearing classic dirndls – the alpine peasant bodices.
The night opened with the customary hammering of the first beer keg by Chanyut Hengtrakool, Secretary to the Minister of Education, followed by a performance by a famous Oktoberfest band from Munich, Anton & the Funny Guys, belting out folk and polka music.
The kitchen churned out tray after tray of pork knuckles, German sausages, pretzels, potato dumplings, cheese noodles, roast pork, ham, cold cuts, breads and an array of Thai favourites.
But most of the appetite was for the beer from Paulaner, Germany’s eighth-best-selling brewery.
Only beer that conforms to Bavarian Purity Requirements could be served. Since the 16th century there have been strong regulations about brewing beer and maintaining its quality by choosing the ingredients carefully.
Duke William IV of Bavaria decreed the Purity Requirements in 1516. Only water, hops and barley can be used. The beer must be brewed within the city limits of Munich, and maintain 6 per cent alcohol by volume. To date only six German breweries have met the requirements.
Oktoberfest is the world’s largest fair, held annually in Munich since 1810, from late September into the first weekend of October.
More than six million people from around the world attending the event in Munich every year, making it is the largest “volksfest” (people’s fair) in the world. It is estimated that more than 10 million litres of beers are drunk during the festival in Munich each year.
Mark you calendar for 2014: Oktoberfest is set for September 20 to October 5.