Insiders guide to the Bergkirchweih (updated 2015)

3 May

Bergkirchweih is considered to be the fifth season of the year in Erlangen, and I really have to agree. This is the time that Erlangen comes alive with noise, bustle and people. Kicking back, letting lose and dancing on the tables is heartily encouraged, and everyone is invited!

Look at those adorable little lederhosen!

Look at those adorable little lederhosen!

 

How to get there

By foot, by bike or by bus. Walking is a great option, you can get to feel the real buzz that travels through everyone by joining the crowds to wander up to the Berg. It is about a 10 minute walk from Erlangen Bahnhof to the bottom of the Berg. There is good parking for bikes at the bottom of the hill and since drunk cycling is a crime I would recommend pushing your bike home or leaving your bike there overnight and collecting it in the morning.

The local bus company (VGN) run a special Berg night bus which leaves from Leo-Hauck-Straße after 8pm. Regular buses will travel between Hugenottenplatz and the Berg but I’d recommend just walking from Hugenottenplatz, it’s 5 minutes to the Berg from there.

Parking for vehicles is practically none existent unless you live near the Berg, it’s a beer festival, leave the car at home. If you must bring the car there are multi story car parks in central Erlangen,the largest are Parkhaus Henkestraße and Parkhaus Neuer markt, details here.

What to wear

Tracht, plain and simple, join in and have some fun, see if this can convince you! Of course tracht is not compulsory, wear what you’re comfortable in.

Also, rain or shine, almost nothing will stop the Bergkirchweih from taking place, take a jacket (and maybe an umbrella) because it is mostly outside and not covered, shelter can be hard to find.

It is also on a hill, and there are cobbles, and tree roots and mud, don’t take anything you don’t want to get dirty and wear sensible shoes, leave those heels at home.

Useful to know

There will be a refundable deposit or ‘Pfand’ on your mug, glass or bottle. Mugs and glasses are usually 5 euro each and plastic bottles less, don’t forget to cash in your mugs at the end of the night. Take your item back to the cellar you got it from and don’t worry if they closed or you forgot, you can bring them back another night for your deposit.

Mug at the Weller Keller

Mug at the Weller Keller

Bergkirchweich Beer is served by the Maß (a litre) ‘Ein Maß bitte’ it will be served in a stone beer mug and cost you     8.50 euro (plus a 5 euro Pfand)

Radler, a Bergkirchweih beer mixed with lemonade (half and half), yes a Shandy to us English folks. This is also served by the Maß, ‘Ein Radler bitte’ and will usually come with a straw, so that it can be distinguished from a full strength beer, you will pay the same price for a Radler as a full beer.

Weißbier (wheat beer) is not usually served by the litre, you will receive a 0.4l or 0.5l and it will come in a glass mug, which will also have a Pfand on it.

Wein and the Weinschorle, you can buy a Maß of wine at the Berg (though it’s more usual to get a 0.5l), I wouldn’t recommend it though, if you want a litre (or even a half litre) go for a Weinschorle (a spritzer), you may be given the option of Suß (sweet, with lemonade) or Suer (sour, with sparkling water).

Apfelschorle is my non alcoholic drink of choice, it’s a mix of half apple juice and half sparkling water, suitable for kids and grown ups.

A Festbrezel is large, you won’t need one each, it’s great eaten with Obatzda (wonderful German cheesy deliciousness) or to accompany an A4 sized slice of cheese.

Why yes that is a very large slice of cheese!

Why yes that is a very large slice of cheese!

Toilets at the Bergkirchweih will cost you 50cents a go (so keep some change handy), they are usually nice and clean and will have attendants servicing them throughout the day. Ladies beware the queues can get very long, join before you’re desperate. Men, there is a pissoir available for free, use it and not the trees, please.

You will hear this song about every half hour, it’s a toasting song and if you want to blend in, swing that beer mug and sing it loud!

‘Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit
Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit
Der Gemütlichkeit’

Each year Entla’s Keller design a new picture for their Steins (mugs),’which year did you get?’ is what we usually ask each other on receiving our beers, this is the preview of 2015.

IMG_4034-0

Recommendations

Steinbach beer, as always my total favourite, you can find them in the middle of the Berg, near the T junction. Berch.info has lots information for a first time visitor or a seasoned professional.

Langos, the Hungarian food of your fatty dreams, paprika, garlic, cheese and sour cream!

The entertainment is worth checking out, ‘Musikanten’ are generally made up of local musicians playing traditional and schlager (German party music), bands playing are usually doing schlager and covers. Der Berg Ruft has lots more detailed information.

Buy your sweetie a gingerbread heart and have them wear it around their neck all day.

The Ferris wheel, you get such a great view from the top and it really helps put the Berg into perspective, you’ll realise just how much is crammed into an area that really isn’t very big.

If you secure a table, hold onto it, from 4pm onwards (earlier if the weather is good) it can get really hard to find space for more than a twosome.

Plan a meeting point pre berg, phone signal and 3G are notoriously bad at the festival (so many people not enough masts) and it can be challenging to find a group, especially in the evenings when it is busy.

IMGP3317

This couple had their wedding pictures taken at the Berg last year, and scored plenty of free beer too.

The details

The official tapping of the barrel will this year take place at Henninger Keller on 21st May at 5pm – The first barrel is handed out free but only attempt to grab if you’re tall, it’s a total bun fight!

The Berg is open Monday-Saturday 10am-11pm and Sunday 9.30am-11pm.

Price for a Maß (a litre) is 8.50 euro and Pfand (deposit) 5 euro.

Tuesday 26th May is Erlanger Tag, lots of smaller shops on Erlangen will close at 2pm so the towns workers can enjoy some afternoon time at the Berg.

Thursday 28th May is Family Day at the Berg, this is the best time to take the family, up until 8pm there will be discounts on rides and most of the daytime drinkers will avoid the games areas.

Sunday 31st May there is a church service up at Erich Keller, starting at 9am.

Monday 1st June is the closing ceremony, don’t forget a white hanky (kleenex) to wave off the barrel until next year.

Here’s a peek at what to expect from the little old town of Erlangen 10 days from now…

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13 Responses to “Insiders guide to the Bergkirchweih (updated 2015)”

  1. foodessen May 3, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    Great post! I just love all the fairs and festivals here 🙂

    • The Erlangen Expat May 3, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

      I would recommend you visit if you find yourself passing us in the South 🙂

  2. dilemmy May 26, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

    I’m ever so glad to have stumbled into your blog just now, as I will coincidentally be visiting Erlangen for the first time during this year’s Bergkirchweih! And now I’m even MORE excited. Great tips, thank you! I salute thee.

    • The Erlangen Expat May 28, 2014 at 10:04 am #

      Hope you have a fantastic time, first time is the best! and great blog too, some utterly drool worthy foody delights there!

  3. bevchen June 4, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    A Mass of wine! That would be A LOT!

    Mmm, I love Langos. So tasty… so bad for you 😉

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