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Berger's Burg: Oktoberfest celebrates that grand ol’ drink called beer

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Nothing ever tasted better than a cold beer on a beautiful [October] afternoon with nothing to look forward to than more of the same. — Hugh Hood

Yes, readers, if you have not already guessed, this column is about Oktoberfest. “What is OctoBEERfe­st?” you inquire. To be specific, Oktoberfest is merely a rip-roaring, the-sky’s-the-limit, let-it-all-hang-out, New Year’s Eve-and-Halloween-combo extravaganza rolled into one — with the day the Giants won the Super Bowl tossed in.

Drinking removes warts and pimples — not from you, but people you drink with.

Just imagine listening to the sounds of tooting and thumping by a hundred brass instruments, oom pa pa-ing o’er the festivities. To add to the splendor, decorative banners wave majestically around spirited celebrants cavorting to and fro and hither and yon as they drink in the merriment of the day.

A policeman stopped a drunk and asked, “Where do you think you’re going?” “Home. I just left an Oktoberfest festival,” he replied. “That was a month ago.” “That’s why I figured I’d better head home!”

Did I say drinking in? This 16-day celebration is the annual occasion for one to whet one’s thirst by drinking more than one of three of the world’s favorite beverages — beer, beer and more beer.

A drunk is an occasional drinker and any occasion will do.

Shh! Do not tell anybody, but Oktoberfest actually began in September and ends Oct. 4. But celebrants never care much about formalities. For them, Oktoberfest starts on the first day of October and quits on its last day and who am I to quibble with them?

A woman decided to frighten her husband of excessive beer drinking. She dressed up like the devil and waited for him at the door. When he poured himself in, she said, “Boo! I’m the devil.” “Shake hands,” he retorted, “I married your sister.”

The elation kicks off when a stout, mustached, dignitary wearing a funny hat and lederhosen — the male counterpart to women’s capris — pounds a bent bronze spout into a keg of dark brew and declares in German, “O’zaptf is” — “The keg has been tapped.” Revelers then begin dancing on the tables amid exploding fireworks and oom pa music.

He was called the town drunk. He did not mind until he realized he lived in Queens.

Those Germans know how to throw a month-long party. Magnificently adorned Clydesdale horses, decorated with colorful ribbons, clip-clop through the streets. They pull huge wagons loaded with beer that soon will be clip-clopping into the bellies of the gleeful party-goers.

One [beer] is all right. Two are too many and three are not enough. — James Thurber

The oom-pa of the brass bands pound ear drums but no one cares. They are fully aware the holiday comes around once a year and they make it the grandest time to drink, eat, drink, be merry and drink.

You’re not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on. — Dean Martin

I first learned about Oktoberfest merrymaking when I was a 17-year-old, hard-drinking milk-a-holic serving in the U.S. Air Force. Luckily, I was stationed outside Munich, Germany, the beer capital of the world. My buddies brought me to the fabled, venerable, Hofbrau Beer Garden and introduced me to German beer. I ordered one brew and my eyes widened as the fraulein brought me a filled stein the size of a horse’s trough. It looked like a chocolate egg cream with creamy foam cascading over the brim, but it wasn’t.

He drank so much beer that when he ate a pretzel, you could hear it splash.

I took a few gulps and next remembered waking up the next morning sleeping in my bed in the barracks. I immediately became the butt of all jokes. I vowed that, before I left Germany, I would down a full stein of beer just as my friends could.

There are more old drunkards than old physicians. — Rabelais

Miracle of miracles, after much practice on Saturday nights, I accomplished that task. On the day before I left Germany to return to the good old U.S. of A., I devoured a full stein of beer and lived to tell the tale.

Two men were drinking when one of them fell and landed in a dead faint. The other drunk exclaimed, “That’s one thing about Irv. He sure knows when to quit.”

Gloria does not believe I can drink a full stein of German beer, so this Saturday we are going to our favorite German restaurant. If my column does not appear next week, you will know why. Ein, tsvai, sofa!

If you drink like a fish during Oktoberfest, swim but do not drive.

Contact Alex Berger at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com.

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