Masskrugstemmen, the Sport of Holding Beer

Loyal reader and bear enthusiast John King pointed me to a piece in the Wall Street Journal about the sport of Masskrugstemmen.  What the hell is Masskrugstemmen you ask?  Don’t feel bad, I had no idea either. 

Masskrugstemmen is played by holding a liter of beer in a large glass mug with your arm extended out in front of you.  The whole thing weighs about five pounds.  The contestants line up, their glasses are raised, and the last person with their arm outstretched and all the beer in their glass is the winner.

You might guess that this sport was developed in a place with nothing good on television, and you’d be right. The game hails from Germany, where it is played at festivals and in beer halls and, knowing the Germans, in grade schools as well.

It’s caught on here in America in the past few years, with regional and national competitions being held around the country.  Annoyingly, I’ve discovered that many of these competitions play the game with water instead of beer, which is ALMOST as bad as playing beer pong without beer (which makes it water pong).

The Third Annual National Championship will be held tomorrow in New York’s Central Park during the German-American Friendship Party, following the 54th  German-American Steuben Parade.  The Championship will pit regional winners from around the country who will compete to win a trip to Germany.  I fully expect a flood of Brooklyn hipsters to try to crash the competition, eager to hoist a liter of PBR in anger, unless of course it conflicts with the National Kickball Championship or the New York Fixed Gear Bicycle Show.

You gotta have your priorities.



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Categories: Beer, Lifestyle, News


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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22 Comments on “Masskrugstemmen, the Sport of Holding Beer”

  1. Don
    September 16, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    Hypsters won’t do this, have you ever seen how thin their arms are?

    • September 16, 2011 at 10:18 am #

      It’s ironic – they go for that kind of stuff.

    • September 18, 2011 at 11:38 pm #

      Is it hip to spell “hypsters” wrong now?

      • Don
        September 19, 2011 at 12:08 am #

        If you don’t know, obviously you aren’t one. 😉

  2. September 16, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    I saw a friend of mine hold a liter glass up for 5 minutes… I don’t know what people in these competitions do, but that was pretty awesome to see. Most people barely reach 2 minutes.

    • September 16, 2011 at 10:58 am #

      Yeah, i think the real pros are overseas in Germany and Belgium. Those guys have been training since childhood! 🙂

  3. September 16, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    I can think a have hell of a lot more enjoyable way to hold a liter of beer (at least for a little while, LOL.)

    • September 16, 2011 at 11:29 am #

      I think I’m only good for about 30 seconds of this and then I’d drink the damn beer, get my “beer muscles” pumped up and try again!

  4. September 16, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    I would happily join this competition…and “lose” every time.

    • September 16, 2011 at 11:29 am #

      You only lose if you hoist a mug of water, then there’s no payoff for your failure!

      • September 16, 2011 at 11:54 am #

        Very true! There is also less incentive and pressure to try to avoid spilling liquid, so what’s the point?

        • September 16, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

          I dunno, might as well be holding a ShakeWeight:

  5. September 16, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    • Don
      September 16, 2011 at 12:22 pm #


  6. johnking82
    September 19, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    im awesome.

    • September 19, 2011 at 9:08 am #

      Yes, if not humble.

  7. Lenny
    September 21, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    This year’s US National Champion won the competiton in Central Park on Sat, Sept 17th. His time was 8 minutes and 52 seconds, about a minute under last year’s winning time of 9 min 59 seconds. His name is Jerry Karn, he is from Ohio, and represented the Hofbräuhaus Newport, in Cincy. The World Record is 20 minutes and 13 seconds!

    • September 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

      Thanks for the update and congrats to Jerry! Might not be the record, but I’d be damned if I could get close, even holding an empty beer can.

  8. October 2, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    Thanks for the congrats Jim. Correction to lenny, last year’s time was also around 8 min 50 seconds. The longest I have gone was 12 plus minutes. You can veiw last year’s and this year’s national championship on Youtube, just type in Masskrugstemmen.

    • October 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

      Ladies and gentleman – the Champ! Enjoy you trip to Germany, Jerry!!

  9. Tom
    September 13, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    What’s a bear enthusiast doing in a beer compitition? He should be holding a bear at arms length.

  10. Lenny
    September 21, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    Following up on last year’s article above, the 2012 US National Masskrugstemmen Championship took place last Saturday, 9/15, at the Oktoberfest in Central Park, NYC as part of the German – American Steuben Parade Celebrations. We crowned a new champion, and it turns out he smashed the US National Championship record. Cody Bane, who competed on behalf of the “Bavarian Grill” in Plano, TX, had a time of 11 minutes and 32 seconds.

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