WTF is Masskrugstemmen?

Stick out your stein and get silly with it! Actually, just hold it until it hurts.

Photo by: ryan harvey

Most challenges involving alcohol require those partaking to consume either large quantities or high alcoholic proofs, inevitably resulting in the last man standing/not puking being soaked in glory. Having exceeded in both of these categories, Germany created a drinking event where brute strength conquers a strong stomach: Masskrugstemmen.

Slurring Your Words

Photo by: Manfred Benner

It might be a mouthful, but the translation of Masskrugstemmen is a lot easier than its execution. Dissected, 'masskrug' means a liter stein of beer and 'stemmen' means lift. Put the two together and you've got the German for 'God help me my arm's going to fall off any second'. If your last memory of a gym is kindergarten, or you associate muscle with a type of car, then we'd recommend you steer clear of signing up – this is big boy shit. If you think you can just pour your booze into a red cup and go from there, you're sorely mistaken. Glass steins only please, and expect each of these to weigh in at five pounds when full.

When Do We Start Chugging?

Photo by: Deep Ghosh

When you're either disqualified or basking in the glory of outlasting your rivals. This Bavarian sport is solely strength and endurance – even tee-totalers are welcome to enter. Any frat boy can open his gullet and guzzle a pint; it takes a real man to keep a stein from slipping at arm's length. If you still think you've got what it takes, it's time to brush up on the rules: Hold the stein by the handle only, out parallel with the ground at shoulder level. Your other arm remains by your side, and don't even dream of switching hands. Don't bend your elbow either, else it's a warning. Two warnings and you're done. Spilling any beer is the ultimate sin and an immediate DQ.

Our Kind of Strong Man Show

Photo by: ryan harvey

Picturing your name up in neon lights? There are a few ways to play. For the authentic experience, stumble over to Oktoberfest and take on the locals in their backyard. If you'd rather earn the right to get messy with Masskrugstemmen, the US hosts 15 regional tournaments where winners can muscle their way to final at the not-very-manly-named German-American Friendship Party in Central Park. Alternatively, if you're all out of ping pong balls, grab some buddies, a few beers, and a stopwatch and hold your own contest for local bragging rights.

Thirsty Work

Photo by: The Hamster Factor

Of course you get to drink what's left of your beverage once the show is over, but just how long will that take? Last year's US champion, Cody Bane, needed just over 12 minutes to fend off his competitors and claim his prize of a trip to Munich. The average hold is believed to be around the four minute mark, so you don't have to worry too much about your efforts being rewarded with a warm beer. The longest time ever recorded, however, stands at a shoulder-dislocating 20 minutes and 19 seconds – enough to ensure you're barely raising an eyebrow, let alone a glass, afterwards.

Masskrugstemmen is never going to be at the Olympics, but as sports (and it is a sport) which require brawn over bravery and/or stupidity go, this combination of stamina and strength will, just like its world record, prove hard to beat.