Americans love their holidays associated with drinking.
St. Patrick's Day has achieved such fame that people here don't even know the true meaning behind the day -- and that it's not an actual American holiday for that matter. But none of that matters when Guinness and green beer start flowing.
Cinco de Mayo has been on the fast track recently with millions consuming Corona and Dos Equis, while pounding down nachos.
And while those dates are great in their own right, it's just one day of excitement followed by one day of recovery.
Oktoberfest, though, turns the drinking holiday into a marathon with more than two weeks of the best German beer available. And no other place in Las Vegas celebrates Oktoberfest like Hofbräuhaus, which finds a way to keep the beer fest going 365 days a year.
If you've been to Munich the name probably sounds familiar. Hofbräuhaus is a staple of Bavarian culture stretching more than 400 years. Having once only been reserved for royalty, it has survived countless wars and even once saved the city from being burned down, thanks to its beer.
Vegas' version of the Hofbräuhaus is an exact replica of its German counterpart, with much of the building materials imported directly from Germany. While you may admire the outside of the building, it is inside where the true beauty lies.
The restaurant is a replica of the Die Schwemme, the beer hall that is considered the heart of the original location. The tables, chairs and even the hand-painted accents on the ceiling are what you would see in Germany.
Live bands play nightly on the stage here, but not the local bands you can find all over town. Hofbräuhaus flies in German bands every four weeks and as Klaus Gastager, Hofbräuhaus vice president, put it, "They play seven nights a week whether they're too sick or too drunk."
And after watching the bands play for a few hours, you may wonder how they make it to the stage nightly.
There is a beer garden located just past the beer hall that is similar to the German version, only indoors. Vegas summers are vastly different than Germany's and there's not enough beer in the world to change that.
While the décor may be enough to attract lovers of German culture or history buffs, it is the beer and the party that fills up every seat in the house almost nightly. The beer here isn't just Beck's like many other German bars, but the actual beer you get at the German Hofbräuhaus.
The original location was the starting point for the German Beer Purity Law, which states that all German beers must be made without additives or artificial ingredients. In layman's terms, that means this is the purest beer you can get anywhere. Additionally, the beer straight from the taps isn't pasteurized, as most imported beers are, which can change the taste.
Beyond the beer itself, there is a true German menu with the tastiest soft pretzels you'll ever have (another item straight from Germany), schnitzel, sauerbraten, assorted meats and cheeses and an apfelstrudel that will make the truest Americans forget about apple pie.
Beer wenches sport authentic dress and pack a surprise when you order a shot of Jägermeister.
Stein holding contests are held on Friday and Saturday nights and are a great way to score some free beer and show off your strength. Patrons hold a full 1 liter stein out at shoulder level and whoever holds it the longest wins.
As far as we're concerned, holidays or celebrations in general involving stein holding contests trump holidays like Valentine's Day. And with Hofbräuhaus hosting the party nightly, we're set to toast the night away or as they say in Germany, prosit!