Oktoberfest is almost upon us, and with it the season that we again start hearing things about the “purity laws” relating to German beers. The purity laws are often wheeled out as the reason why an Oktoberfest hangover is less intense than a regular hangover, when the level of drunkenness the night before is considered, because less impurities in the beer mean a cleaner experience.
A short answer to the title question is that it doesn’t matter how clean the beer is you’ll still be waking up most Oktoberfest mornings either still drunk, or pretty hungover. You just can’t imbibe that amount of beer without it having a negative effect the next day. But that doesn’t mean that German purity laws aren’t worth mentioning, they do make the beer drinking experience a more wholesome one. Known in the local language as the reinheitsgebot the laws restrict German beer manufacturers from putting anything in beer but four ingredients:
Hops, barley, water and, later added, yeast.
The law came into effect in 1516, in the Duchy of Bavaria, of which Munich is the capital and Oktoberfest is the biggest celebration of beer and the laws that protect its purity. The law was originally enacted by Duke Wilhelm IV and applied only to Bavaria, and was the world’s first food quality law, but in 1871 the Bavarians insisted that it was adopted by all German states if they were to participate in the country’s unification.
Traditionally, in Germany and Bavaria, the beer was brewed by monks and nuns. In part this was because during the 40 days of lent beer was all that they were allowed to consume, and because of this holy association with beer the purity laws were easily adhered to. You can still find evidence of this from the Augustiner brewery, founded in 1328, whose beers feature a monk on the bottle. While this godly connection has ensured that German beers have remained pure, our extensive field research has conclusively shown that the big gal upstairs doesn’t have an interest in preventing our earthly hangovers.
Today there are more than 1,100 breweries in Germany churning out 5,000 different types of beer. At Oktoberfest there are six breweries producing special Oktoberfest biers, all of which adhere strictly to German purity laws. You can sample beers from the Paulaner, Spaten, Hacker-Pschorr, Augustiner, Hofbräu and Lowenbrau breweries. Or all of them.
Now, to the question as to whether German purity laws prevent you from getting a hangover. The answer is absolutely not. No. Nein. No way. The beer at Oktoberfest, when consumed by the litre, will absolutely give you a hangover. Hangovers work like this: if you are drunk, you’ll have a hangover. The severity of the hangover will be dictated by a) how drunk you were, b) how much sleep you got, c) how tough you are, and d) whether you’re willing to have a morning beer to kill it.
At Stoke Travel’s Oktoberfest camp you can drink all the German beer you want for only €10 per day, making Stoke Travel the perfect place to cure your Oktoberfest hangovers, as well as get the party started for a big day trying the six festival beers, and then hitting up our famous Stoketoberfest after parties, with DJs, live bands, and our twisted carnival installations.