News to use: U.S. government’s helpful tips about Germany’s Oktoberfest

The reason for Oktoberfest.
The reason for Oktoberfest.

Oktorberfest is underway in Germany right now, and the U.S. Consulate in Munich has come out with a tip-sheet for how to survive.

It may fall short of being a “helpful tip-sheet” though. More of a worried parent’s lecture as a child leaves for college – though, in this case, it’s not college but the world’s largest and most famous party, the annual Munich beer and oompah blast. This year, an estimated six million people are expected to attend the party, which began Sept. 17 and ends Monday.

The tips caution against such things as smashing a big German beer mug into a big (well any) German’s mug (this is, the sheet notes, against the law). It suggests that getting really drunk and sleeping in the park outside the party might leave you vulnerable to pickpockets. And, if that’s not shocking enough for you, it reveals that if you drink too much beer, you might get drunk.

“Oktoberfest beer is stronger than you think!” the note posted on the U.S. Embassy for Germany’s website warns. “And especially plentiful when you drink it from a “Maß” (the liter glass). One traditional Maß of Oktoberfest beer has the same alcohol content as four 12-ounce American beers.”

For the curious, a Maß, or mass, is one of the massive beer mugs associated with Oktorberfest. And the U.S. Department of State got this right: it is larger than smaller U.S. beer glasses.

Oktoberfest beer is stronger than you think!

U.S. Embassy website

Beyond this, the list wanders into a sort of bizarro Miss Manners world of advice.

Don’t take luggage to the world’s biggest party. Remember where you’re spending the night. If you want to stand on the beer tent benches and sing, that’s great. But dancing on the tables is not allowed. Pick up an emergency phone, and “there will be a police officer on the other end.”

“Avoid disputes with other Oktoberfest attendees,” the list offers, just in case anyone was thinking it was part of the experience. “If you get into a fight, you will be arrested. Hitting someone with a beer mug is an ‘assault with a deadly weapon,’ and usually results in prison time.”

The stated point of the sheet is to wish visiting U.S. citizens a “safe and happy” time. If in pursuing this, the visitor wants to wear the traditional Bavarian Dirndl (low-cut dress with an apron), they should be aware that many have “a hidden pocket.” For those unfamiliar with the concept of pockets, it adds that this is “a great place to keep money, ID, and emergency contact information.”

Matthew Schofield: @mattschodcnews