Peter and I attended our third Oktoberfest a couple of weeks ago and we finally met our lifelong goal of day-drinking in a big tent at a proper table in the middle of the action.
I’ve chosen to kick off my Oktoberfest 2014 posts with the most important lesson I learned during this trip which is how to prost.
Every country has its own way of toasting or cheersing.
In the UK, we say “cheers”.
In Italy, they say “salute”.
In the USA, unless it is a special occasion, we start drinking our drinks the moment they hit the table because we are barbaric.
In Germany, specifically in the Bavaria region where Munich is located, they say, “prost”.
Oktoberfest tent beer
Before you can prost, you need to get a beer.
Here are some basics on how beer is sold and ordered at an Oktoberfest tent.
-Every Oktoberfest tent sells one brand of beer. As an example, Spaten is sold in the Schottenhamel tent.
-Every tent sells one variation of that brand of beer. As an example, if Oktoberfest were held in the USA, the Anheuser-Busch tent would sell Bud Light only versus Budweiser, Bud Light, and Bud Light Lime.
-Beer is sold in one [giant] size and one [giant] size only. The size is one litre (35.1 imperial ounces or 33.8 US fluid ounces) and it’s called a maß. The funky letter at the end of the word is an abbreviation for “ss”. Yep, it’s that simple, a maß is a mass and it’s pronounced “moss”.
-In order to buy beer, at least one member of your group must be physically seated at a table. The reason for this rule is that the server needs a place to set down the beers so that they can free their hands to collect the payment. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to occupy a table in a tent to order a beer. You can be a person who is in “standing room only” and coerce a person seated at a table to buy you a beer.
-Payment is made in cash only.
-Payment must be made at the time the beer is delivered.
A stein is a traditional beer mug made out of stone or glass. As mentioned earlier, steins at the Oktoberfest are one litre. They are bulky and they are damn heavy, even when empty.
I always had to use two hands for my steins.
The price for a stein at the Schottenhamel tent in 2014 was 10,10€ (~$12.75 USD).
Fun fact: At the time of writing, the record for the number of steins carried at one time is 27!
How to prost
Now that you and your group have their steins of beer, it’s time to post. Here’s how that process works.
-Someone in the group will initiate the prost by raising their stein.
-Everyone else in the group will raise their steins.
-Everyone in the group will physically clank THE SIDE their stein with every other stein in the group. DO NOT clank the stein rims or stein bottoms.
Protip: When clanking steins, make eye contact with the stein holder and clank the side of your stein with the side of their stein and do so with force. Don’t worry about beer splashing out of the stein. Just go slam your stein into the other steins like a boss.
Why do you clank with force?
The legend goes a little something like this…
In the event your beer has been poisoned, you can transfer the poison back to the poisoner’s stein by clanking forcefully and causing some of your poisoned beer to splash into their stein.
If the person or persons you prosted with do not drink their beer, then that’s a sign that you should not drink your beer either.
-At some point during the clanking, or more realistically, at multiple points, yell “prost!”
Protip: The first gulp out of a new stein should be big enough that, after that first gulp, you should be able to tilt/rest your stein on its handle and no beer should spill out of the stein.
I’ve recreated this with a coffee mug below.
I wish you the best of luck with prost’ing, especially with your first giant gulp of a new stein.