In Bavaria, Lent is traditionally associated with stout, « Starkbier » (strong beer). It is brewed with more original wort than usual beers, making for a thicker mash since less water is added.
As early as the 17th century, the monks of Saint-Francis-of-Paola monastery in Neudeck-ob-der-Au, better known as “Paulaner” monks, started brewing their “liquid food”. Living on a sparse diet, even more during Lent, they needed “liquid bread” that would not infringe fasting rules.
On the political scene, Carnival (Fasching), Ash Wednesday and Lent are quite active periods with several traditions still holding up nowadays. The Starkbier season thus starts at the Salvator cellar on the Nockherberg, one of Munich’s mountains, in presence of many Bavarian and German politicians. It is broadcast live on the local Bavarian television channel Bayerischer Rundfunk. ”Salvator” is the name of Paulaner’s strong beer. The first liter is handed to the Bavarian Prime Minister, with these traditional words:
„Salve pater patriae! Bibas, princeps optime! (latin for „Welcome, father of the fatherland! Drink, best prince!“)“
The highlight of the evening is the so-called “Politiker-Derbleckn”, a political satirical cabaret performed especially for this occasion and hold in presence of its “victims”, high-ranking invitees. If a Bavarian politician is not being made fun of during this show, no matter which political party he belongs to, it might be a sign that he either lacks importance or personality.
Strong beer festivities at Paulaner’s on the “Nockherberg” hill.