If you're looking to treat your attendees to a memorable international experience, you might learn a thing or two from my recent trip to Germany. Since my mother was German and my father's ancestry was Scottish, that makes me half German and half Scottish — or Germish. This means that I would really enjoy a beer if somebody would buy one for me. But I digress.
Business recently took me to Munich, Germany. Munich is the home of the finest beer in the world, and I do not say that lightly. I did extensive research on the subject when I visited and I know of what I speak. Let's take a look at the Germany I have come to know and love.
In the olden days, it could take a week or more to get to Germany from the United States. In the real olden days, it took up to a century because they didn't have ocean-going ships yet. I took a plane, and after landing in Munich and claiming my luggage, I followed the arrows and soon found myself in the main terminal. Hey, wait a minute. I didn't go through customs. How did that happen? I could have brought in diamonds or counterfeit money, but neither one would have done me any good because all they accept in Germany is the euro. One euro is worth about $1.50, in other words, it costs three dollars for only two euros. So right off the bat, I am losing money on this trip.
Munich has many beer halls, beer gardens, and beer joints. For that reason, there is a lot of beer and it is goooood! German beer comes in three basic varieties: the light-colored lager, the dark-colored bock, and the rather cloudy-looking Weiss bier. Of the three, I liked all of them the best. The beer is served in huge mugs that hold one liter, which is the equivalent of three bottles of beer. After you have had three or four of these liters, you start to wonder about things. I wondered why they never produced an episode of “The Simpsons” from Munich. It would be perfect for Homer to do Oktoberfest, but I guess it costs too much to shoot on location.
The Hofbrau Haus is the most famous of the beer halls and capable of serving several thousand thirsty Germans — or meeting attendees — on any given day. They have a live oom-pah band that start to sound good about halfway through the second liter. The band plays all of the German favorites, and pretty soon they have the whole crowd up and marching.
On my first night in Munich, I dined at the Weisses Brauhaus, a friendly beer hall packed with locals. Being a man and wanting to show off my intercontinental-ness, I was determined to order from the German menu. As I stumbled through the pronunciation of my first item, the waitress looked at me and said, “I vill get you an English menu.” Thank goodness she did because I almost ordered what turned out to be cow udder, fried with tartar sauce and potato salad. The rest of the menu was equally interesting, especially an entire section called The Best Parts are the Offals with items like ox's diaphragm stew and boiled calf tongue.
I began to wonder if there was enough beer in the world to make any of the food edible. Being a Mensa member, I decided to order something safe, the sausage platter. Here's a good idea: Eat sausage, made from the leftover bits of the menu items that aren't even good enough to be labeled “offals.” Yum, yum, pass the spleen-wurst.
They don't automatically bring you water in a German restaurant, you have to order it. All of the water served is bottled and is either still or effervescent. You are asked by the waiter which you prefer, “mitt gas or mittout gas?” I wish the food came with this option.
I fully intend to revisit Germany because there is a lot I haven't seen yet, and I still have a pocketful of euros.
Dale Irvin is known as“the professional summarizer.” Heattends meetings around the world and recaps the events with instantly written comedy monologues. For more information, and to sign up for Dale's free Friday Funnies, visit www.daleirvin.com or call him at (800) 951-7321. For booking, contact Ruth Levine at Speak Inc., (858) 228-3771.