What you get in Des Moines:
Estimated attendance: Between 8,000 and 12,000 each year.
Length of celebration: Three days.
Cost: Advance tickets (buy at Hy-Vee or tikly.co) are $7 for two days, which includes a mug and a beer. If you wait, the price goes up to $10 at the door — with the same perks.
Number of beers on tap: Nine. Two German brews, five American-made German-style craft brews, and two wimpy substitutes (Miller Lite and Mike’s Hard Lemonade).
Estimated wait time for bathroom: Under five minutes. Go ahead and order another beer — you’ve got time.
Chance of getting a table to sit at: Pretty good. Most of us are up dancing to the polka band anyway.
Probability of running into someone you know: About 100 percent.
Number of beer tents: Four bier garden tents.
What you get in Munich:
Estimated attendance: Five million. Every year.
Length of celebration: 16 days — Sept. 22 through Oct. 7
Cost: Beer tents are free to enter, as long as they are not already full when you get there (according to the event’s website, most are full by 11 a.m.). Tickets to reserve a table within the tents vary, depending on group size and the tent you choose, but most appear to cost between about $35 and $50 per person, per day. And that’s not including the $981 airline ticket we found at press time.
Number of beer varieties available: Hundreds.
Estimated wait time for bathroom: A few travel sites have stated guests should expect to wait between 15 and 25 minutes for the bathroom. So we wouldn’t recommend putting it off.
Chance of getting a table to sit at: If you get up at the crack of dawn, a slight chance. Most tents sell out seating to ticketed guests, so be prepared to hold that liter of beer all day.
Probability of running into someone you know: Not good. Thousands of people attend the festival each day.
Number of beer tents: 14. Each boasts something different, from cheese to wine to pastries to bands to celebrities.