Mumbai Oktoberfest 2011

I thought Friday night (Oct 14) would be relatively quiet at the Mahalaxmi Race Course. But boy was I wrong! It began with the press meet at 6pm and by 8 the Oktoberfest tent, decked in traditional blue and white, was packed and had winding lines of people waiting for a refill, stein in hand.

Die Oberbayern was back this year after their 16 day stint at the Munich Oktoberfest, and those who knew what to expect from the band had their groove on from the first number, as they enjoyed the Erdinger Weissbier Dunkel (dark) and Erdinger Weissbier Hell.

The food was definitely a step up from last year, even though ordering and waiting to collect your plate was quite an effort. With the crowd on Friday, the servicemen found it hard to keep up so I assume Saturday and Sunday would’ve been an even worse. The Spare Ribs were quite nice and the sausages and beer beef roast wasn’t bad either.

Last year Franz T. Festl, DHL General Manager was at the helm of affairs, this year he was quite the force behind the counters, ensuring that the beer kept flowing. He even joked that he didn’t have money to pay for entry and so had to earn his keep as labour. If this year’s pass price hike is anything to go by, imagine what’ll happen next year!

Die Oberbayern

Franz T. Festl

What worked

–         The band really got the tempo going. By the end of the night everyone was on their feet and on the benches and tables mimicking the actions of the pretty Die Oberbayern ladies in their dirndls.

–          The Mumbai Oktoberfest definitely captured the festive spirit that you’d imagine at the end of an Oktoberfest. Everyone clanking their steins, shouting Prost , waving at and hugging random people – all done in great merriment. You can’t fault that.  Of course the rather potent Erdinger helped matters a great deal.

–          The IGCC wisened up this year and allowed guests to take home their steins, after a lot of them ‘magically’ disappeared during the first edition. They definitely saved themselves a lot of headache in security checks and I got 2 great keepsakes 😀

What didn’t

–         The Prices. At Rs.3200 per person being the minimum pass available (with 2 ltrs of beer, I mug and a meal) it was quite steep compared to last year’s Rs. 1200. It’ll be disappointing if they hike it anymore in 2012.

–          The outdoor seating area last year was great for those who couldn’t afford the more expensive tent passes. I’m not sure why they did away with, but for me, that added a nicer feel to the whole event.

Highlight of the night

Traditionally the Munich Oktoberfest begins after the Mayor of Munich taps the keg with the cry ‘O’ zapft is!’ meaning ‘It’s tapped!’.  At the Mumbai Oktoberfest the official keg was tapped and people around could fill their glasses until the keg ran dry. My friend and I were lucky enough to get our mugs filled with beer from the official keg. It might not sound like much now, but to be one of the few drinking out of the special keg was super exciting!