Saturday, May 26, 2012
Der Berg Ruft! Erlangen's Bergkirchweih Kicks Off
This week, Erlangen kicked off its 257th annual beerfest, the Bergkirchweih, Germany's oldest. The Erlanger Nachrichten has the report.
As is the custom, the Oberburgermeister, Siegfried Balleis, tapped the first keg to open the 12 days of festivities. Pinsl, the late Erlangen painter, who was "The King of the Berg" was also on center stage represented by an imposter. Breweries represented are Erlangen's own Kitzmann and Steinbach Brau as well as Nurnberg's Tuecher and the original recipes for Erich Brau and Henninger Brau, two breweries that were Erlangen standards but no longer exist. The fest grounds are located on the north edge of the city next to the foot of a small mountain range that ends at Erlangen. Before refrigeration was available, Erlangen's beer was stored in caves set into the mountain (Berg) to keep it cool. Of course, the daily attractions feature a whole roasted ox, a ferris wheel and fun for all age groups. Once the beer grounds close down at 11, it's Apres la fest, as the younger set adjourns to the Main Street (Hauptstrasse) to continue the revelry in the local pubs, of which there are many.
If you are ever in southern Germany this time of year (Nuremberg area), this beer fest is well worth a visit. The fest coincides with Whitsuntide. Erlangen, which is a university town and second Hqs of Siemens, is located about 20 km north of Nuremberg-20-30 minutes by train.