Starkbierfest is a special date in both the German beer calendar and here at Cave Direct. Sure, Oktoberfest is the one that takes all the limelight, but Salvator is the one that feels like you are truly part of Munich and its culture.

We arrive the day before the festival to soak in the sites of Munich and check out all the normal haunts that we frequent whenever we have the opportunity to visit Munich. Usually with Oktoberfest it’s a stacked itinerary. We fly into Munich, lunch at Paulaner Nockherberg, head to Oktoberfest then fly back the next day feeling a little worse for wear. However, this time it’s a more relaxed affair and for good reason, we day have a chance to visit the newly built brewery the morning before the festival.

This is the first time we have been able to visit the brewery since its birth in 2015 and it is an experience shrouded in mystery. In my imagination I see rivers of Hefe Weisse, gondolas made of pretzels, and waterfalls of Munich Helles akin to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We arrive at the brewery, which is a 20-minute ride out the city centre but still within the city limits of Munich. It’s located on one of the last available green field sites for Paulaner to house the brewery, and boy was it impressive.

As we put on our steel toe capped shoes, helmet, and high vis jackets, we still had to walk another 10 minutes to the brewery entrance allowing you to get the sheer grandeur of the site. This is a 3.2 million hectolitre brewery (already at capacity) with seven different packaging lines, and even robot guided forklifts to move products within the mammoth maze of a brewery. Although there were no Hefe rivers, pretzl gondolas or Helles waterfalls, there’s a huge amount of precision planning and state of the art kit that helps produce some of the best beers Munich and Germany has to offer. After hitting our step target walking around the brewery, we head back into town to change into our lederhosen and visit what we came her for, Starkbierfest!


Starkbierfest translates to strong beer fest and showcases Paulaner’s 7.9% doppelbock, Salvator. This malty, mildly sweet bock has hints of toffee and chocolate, is extremely balanced and drinkable which helps when you are served a litre of it. Paulaner have been brewing Salvator for over 375 years to the original recipe, which was born to sustain the monks during lent, a type of liquid food to get their fill of calories.

As well as celebrating Salvator this is a celebration of Munich culture and there’s no better venue to host than the Nockherberg. This venue is housed on the old city centre Paulaner brewery grounds and is a must visit destination whenever you are in Munich, as we approach you simply follow the droves of family and friends queuing to enter the 3500-capacity event space towards the rear of the beer garden.

We are welcomed be a 20 piece brass band blasting out traditional German music. As we sit down and Prost our first stein of Salvator you get a feeling of being part of the culture. You are surrounded by tables of friends and families of all ages in traditional Munich attire chatting/dancing over steins of Salvator. As the beer flows, Robbie Williams classics blaze on the sound system and benches turn into dancefloors, this gives you the feeling that this is similar to the ever popular Oktoberfest. But it’s a well-kept secret which the locals keep close to their chest. I don’t blame them. We will definitely be back next year.

By: Laurence Smale