September 16, 2016

Ahhh, Oktoberfest…The annual celebration of beer, brats and brass bands is upon us. Bars around the area are getting into the spirit, and many are holding maßkrugstemmen, or stein hoisting, competitions. “Maßkrugstemmen,” which roughly translates to “the lifting of a 1-liter mug of beer,” is a centuries-old Bavarian competition that’s taken off in the US in recent years after Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas held the first stateside competition in 2004.

Right now you’re probably thinking to yourself, “What’s the big deal? It’s a stein of beer. I lift beers all the time. I don’t see what’s so hard about it.” We thought the same thing until we actually tried to do it…After about 30 seconds the stein begins to feel heavier. After one minute, your arm begins to shake. Refusing to be beaten by a something that weighs only a little over 5 pounds, you stay strong. You’re thinking that it must have been at least 5 minutes since the contest began, but then someone calls out the time and you can’t believe it hasn’t even been two minutes. Don’t believe us? Head to the next closest contest and give it a try!

Here is everything you ever wanted to know about stein hoisting:

Q: What is Stein Hoisting?

A: Stein holding is a traditional Bavarian strength contest in which competitors hold a full one-liter beer stein (or Masskrug/Mass in German) out in front of their bodies with a straight arm, parallel to the ground. You go as long as you can and the last man (or woman) hoisting is the winner.

Q: How much does the stein weigh?

A: A full one-liter stein should weigh approximately 5.5 pounds or 2.5 kg, whichever you prefer.

Q: How do you practice for a competition?

A: Everyone is different, and being in good athletic condition helps, but to put it bluntly, you basically just practice holding a stein a lot. If you are serious about competing, check out the US Stein Hoisting Association (Yes, there’s actually an official association) website. They have a whole bunch of information, as well as training tips from national champions.

Q: How long should a normal person expect to last in their first competition?

A: Your typical guy can usually last somewhere in the 3-5 minute range, with ladies lasting between 1-2 minutes. If you can go longer than that, following all of the rules, you should definitely find out where the next competition is being held so you can show off your skills and maybe even win some cool prizes.

Q: What is the world record for stein holding?

A: There isn't currently a world-level competition, but the US national record is 17 minutes, 11 seconds. This record was set by Stein Hoisting Association founder Jim Banko at the 2015 National Masskrugstemmen Championships at New York City Oktoberfest.

Q: I am a bit of a crazy person and the thought of holding a beer stein further from my mouth and for a longer amount of time than nature ever intended thrills me. How do I find a competition?

A: Hey, we don’t judge. There are tons of events going on around the area! Sam Adams hosts several contests every year. Check our events page every Friday to find details for the following week’s competitions. Or visit Sam Adams Philly on Facebook!


Now that you have all the info, you’re ready to start practicing. Start out small with pint glasses and slowly work your way up to the full stein. Want an official training plan? Go online and look up stein hoist training exercises. There are a ridiculously large number of videos and websites that will give you everything you need to prepare. Good luck and Godspeed…

See you at Oktoberfest! Prost!

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