The Bergkirchweih, more commonly known as just Berg, is an annual beer festival in the city of Erlangen. The festival takes place on their little Berg (the German word for mountain or hill, and in the case of Erlangen, it's definitely just a hill), where Erlangen houses many beer kellers, just like those of the Kellerwald in Forchheim (except not nearly as awesome... obviously). We had heard many rumors of this big festival all the way back in the fall, when some locals said described it as "a better Oktoberfest just for Germans," so when the season approached, we were all looking forward to attending.
Having been to Oktoberfest [rather begrudgingly] twice, I had a good basis for comparison. And I would have to concur. Berg was much more intimate (well, anything less than 5 million tourist in a 3 week period would seem intimate by comparison) and, on the whole, had a much more authentic traditional feel.
We went for our first of two visits to Berg as a farewell to Franken party the night before Andy headed back to the states. I don't know if it was just the amazing atmosphere of Berg, or the fact that we had the whole gang (minus one) together for the last time, or maybe some magical combination of the two, but that night quickly became one of the most memorable and most fun nights of my entire Fulbright experience.
The second visit was about a week later and this time it was just Gemma and I. We were both a little apprehensive as we knew how awesome the last time was and feared there was no way a second visit could live up to its glory. But between rating our favorite styles of Lederhosen and Dirndls that passed by and meeting some fun new German friends for the evening, we ended up with a second night of hilariously unforgettable memories.
Overall, the Bergkirchweih gets the Emily Beer Festival Seal of Approval (obviously a very prestigious achievement). A definite must-do for those living in the Franken region or German beer festival enthusiasts.
*Summer season according to the US student, thereby starting at the end of May. Definitely not according to the country of Germany, where I'm still not entirely convinced summer has even started and it's the end of July.