Every year beer-lovers can take part in a fantastic event, where they will have a lot of fun tasting beer from the best breweries and enjoying their favorites. In addition, there is always a lot of delicious food, good band music, children's entertainment and free non-alcoholic beverages. This celebration of beer is called a beer festival - the unique time when brewers and beer aficionados gather together.
The Beer festival is being organized in more and more countries - in the USA, Canada, Norway, France, Britain and the others. Germany and Austria undoubtedly remain the recognized leaders in this event and, in the USA, the World Beer Festival is not an exception. Over three hundred specialty and imported kinds of beer from more than hundred and thirty breweries of the world are offered there. This year it is held in Durham, North Carolina, and the money that will be raised there is to support the Carolina Theatre and the other thirteen theatres in Durham. In fact, the beer festival is always a charity event, thus, spending money to have pleasure, you contribute to the development of some important institutions.
A question may arise: why is beer, out of all the alcoholic drinks, the one that deserves so much attention, that even festivals are devoted to it? The explanation lies in the beer history. Originating from the ancient state Sumeria (5th millennium B.C.), the drink was appreciated for making people feel "exhilarated, wonderful and blissful", as the Sumarian "Hymn to Ninkasi" described it. Intoxication, caused by beer, was considered divine. Such attitude to this drink can be traced even in the etymology of its name: the Spanish word cerveza (beer) originates from the Greek goddess of agriculture Ceres. Ancient Germans popularized beer and if wine was considered to be a refined drink, drink for gods, beer, on the contrary, was for everyone. Nowadays, people seem to share this view of our predecessors.
One of the most famous beer festivals is the German Oktoberfest (October festival). It takes place during the sixteen days before the first Sunday in October. The first Oktoberfest was celebrated in 1810. The occasion was the wedding day of Prince Ludwig I of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Sachsen-Nildburghausen in whose honor the area, where the festival is held, is called today (Theresienwiese). The modern Oktoberfest runs mostly in September, which is more convenient due to more favorable weather conditions.
A special type of beer, Märzen, is brewed for the beer festival and at the opening of the festival the Mayor of Munich taps a keg of beer himself, declaring "O'zapft" ("It's tapped"). The beer, sold in the beer tents, is only of six Munich beer labels: Löwenbräu, Spaten, Augustiner, Hofbräu, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr. Traditional food is always available there - sausages, handle (chicken), sauerkraut and some Bavarian delicacies such as roast ox tails. Nowadays, the Oktoberfest does not end with a horse race as earlier; however, there is enough fun without it.
A Beer festival is an event that runs in a very cordial atmosphere, and once you have taken part in it, you are bound to return there again and again. That is the magic feature of beer - to bring people together and make them feel happy!