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The custom of drinking a boot of beer from a boot-shaped glass is common in German themed bars, colleges, beer gardens, and the like. As with pints and other vessels, Insignias, logos, and markings of varied composition are often engraved or fashioned on the boot. Beer boots may be passed among drinkers as a drinking challenge, usually owing to the difficulty associated with drinking a larger than average quantity of beer and the added challenge of the boot's shape. A common variation of this challenge is to have multiple players taking turns. The person who took the penultimate drink loses. Thus the challenge is to either finish the beer or leave a challenging quantity to the next player to try and finish. Glass beer boots are available in two styles and numerous sizes. Machine pressed beer boots range in size from a shot glass up to 1 litre. The more popular mouth blown beer boots are typically 1 and 2 litres in size.

Boot of Beer from the Chicago Brauhaus

There are several varying "traditional" sources of the boot. Most centering on German military roots at the beginning of the 20th century. As with many "traditional" and informal sources the veracity of such claims may be disputable but the tradition itself does have a cultural source.

One tradition holds that a Prussian general swore to his troops that he would drink beer from his boot dependent on the successful outcome in a coming battle. When victorious, the general ordered a glass fashioned in the shape of a boot to fulfill his promise without "having to taste his own feet".[citation needed]

Another tradition holds that the boot began when German soldiers during World War I having nothing else to drink from instead passed around an actual leather boot of beer before heading into battle. They would flick the boot before drinking from it for good luck and again after drinking to wish next soldier good luck.[citation needed]

Beerfest

Beer boots exploded in popularity upon the release of the film Beerfest in which national drinking teams complete a beer drinking contest involving 2 litre beer boots called "Das Boot" (actually German for "the boat") in the film.

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