On June 1st 2023, one of the largest student traditions of the University of Twente has come upon us once more, this time with its largest edition yet: the Elfbierentocht (Eleven Beer Tour). Every year hundreds of students accept the challenge of crawling through the well-known pubs of the campus, working their way through the crowds, acquiring an established number of consumptions, all this to obtain a medal worthy of celebrating their feat. This year a reporter of the editorial team participated the Elfbierentocht and documented the experiences of his fellow crusaders through interviews.
The Elfbierentocht has been a student tradition on the University of Twente since 2014. Inspired by the age-old Frysian tradition of the Elfstedentocht (Eleven City Tour), an ice-skating race across 11 towns in Friesland. A group of students decided that they could do the same here with Twente, except with drinks instead of towns and drinking rooms to skate to instead.
Ever since its first introduction the Elfbierentocht has become a yearly event (except for the corona years), expanding in every edition by the introduction of new drinking rooms on campus. However, this year the Elfbierentocht committee decided to organise its largest edition yet by involving more campus area in the Elfbierentocht: The Achterhorst and O&O square were added as outdoors locations to claim your drinks. The main reason for this expansion is to increase the total capacity of the Elfbierentocht, resulting in this edition being the first with more than 1000 sold tickets!
This year was my second time participating in the Elfbierentocht. It has been a good 4 years since I last went on this quest, so I decided to interview other participants of the Elfbierentocht, both to broaden my horizon about this event and learn about their experiences.
At the halfway point of my Elfbierentocht I met Hannah in the Technobar, this is her fourth Elfbierentocht yet. This year was particularly special to her due to shenanigans like a competition on who can eat a hotdog the fastest. Hannah was quite a fan of the outdoor locations due to the amount of space that you have compared to indoor drinking rooms. She unfortunately found the Technobar the worst place to be, because at that time it was at its busiest point and the lights were quite dim and ‘ongezellig’.
From that point on I found myself quite busy with drinking beer, so my next interview took place during the long march towards the finish line: the Vestingbar. I spoke with Anna, with whom I walked the entire Elfbierentocht, along with the rest of our OS board. She too was a fan of the outdoor locations since they reduce the total busyness of the drinking rooms, though that made it so that some drinking rooms were quite empty and boring at some moments. The best thing about the outside locations to her is the fact that you now have the room to properly talk to other people, since roughly one tenth of all students are participating there is a good chance you come across someone you know.
Quite deep into my celebration of completing the Elfbierentocht, which I celebrated with more beer, I finally got the chance to talk to someone who I couldn’t talk to before since he was too busy. I found Rienk, who had been bartending at the O&O square. Serving copious amounts of drinks was an unique experience and he found joy in observing the drunk crowd in front of him.
At that point my interview got interrupted by a bunch of fellow drunk Scintillians, I think it is best to spare you from contents of that conversation. But apparently, I interviewed Rienk a second time that night! Then he shared stories about people using dumb reasons to try and steal beer from the bar. All in all, he really enjoyed this Elfbierentocht from the bartending perspective, to celebrate this feat he now has a special ‘organisation’ medal.
The very rough day after I got the opportunity to talk to another Elfbierentocht participant who I couldn’t talk to during the event for a reason other than bartending: Alexander attempted to do a speedrun with one of his friends. Despite starting 15 minutes late they managed to finish the 11 beers in 52 minutes, entering the Vestingbar just after a group of Abacus members who managed to do the same. Alexander liked to do this speedrun for the experience, but he does not recommend doing it again, since it is quite a difficult thing to do, and you miss a lot of the ‘gezelligheid’ from the Elfbierentocht. While running through the drinking rooms he too found that it was quite easy to find your way through the crowd due to the expanded capacity.
All in all, I would say that this year’s Elfbierentocht was a great success, I am already looking forward to the next edition! A huge thanks to Hannah, Anna, Rienk and Alexander for participating in my interviews!