This post is published in partnership with Let’s Grab a Beer. All words and opinions are my own and I chose to publish this because itperfectly it aligns with my preferences.
I love beer! So much so, that I am flying to Colorado for barely 24 hours this weekend just to attend the Great American Beer Festival with my good friend and fellow beer-drinker Joseph Hernandez. So it’s probably no surprise that Oktoberfest is one of my favorite pseudo holidays!
Oktoberfest actually began on the dot of 12 noon on Saturday the 19th of September this year when Munich’s mayor Dieter Reiter tapped the first barrel and declared the “Wiesn“ – Munich speak for what has become more largely known as just Oktoberfest – officially open. The festivities will end on October 4.
Ideally, I’d like to actually be in Munich for this one year. But since I can’t, I really appreciate this primer on how to host a great celebration at home.
For a long time, I’ve been making a list of the places around the USA that I would like to celebrate Oktoberfest if I can’t do it in Munich. Normally I just end up at a brew hall here in NYC because it’s easy but NYC is actually a great place to celebrate and that’s why it actually makes this list…
- New York City – There are no shortage of great beer halls here in the five boroughs and German beer is definitely widely available. Since this is a town that also loves to party, we love to make the most of Oktoberfest. Need to remove reference to a specific retailer.
- Milwaukee is apparently known as “the German Athens.” It does have a large German population (in fact Wisconsin is one of many states with a high proportion of German Americans) — and it’s home to some large, old breweries. So, how could it not be on the list! The town of LaCrosse in Wisconsin is apparently great at celebrating Oktoberfest as well.
- USA Today once chose Alpine Village in Torrance, California as “one of the best Oktoberfests in the world” and gave it a nod as also being in the Top 20 Oktoberfest Celebrations in the USA. Two awards tells me they must do something right over there!
- Few places party like Las Vegas does, so it’s no surprise they recreate Munich’s famous Hofbrauhaus in order to host their Oktoberfest celebration. Having been pleasantly surprised by the city several times over during the last few years, I’d love to see if they can do this as well as they do nightlife, gambling and shopping. Something tells me, they can.
- When I learned that Knoxville, Tennessee has a beer hall that taps their first keg at 6 AM during Oktoberfest, I knew they had to have a spot on this list. I mean I like to drink beer too, but I don’t know the last time I did so at 6 AM. That’s commitment I’d like to see for myself!
- My home state of Vermont is always a great place to drink beer, a few of the breweries do amazing German styles of beer, and the resort town of Stowe holds a very large Oktoberfest celebration. Since Vermont is also most beautiful in Fall, it really should be more like #1 on this list!
- Indiana has a high population of German Americans and every year I keep hearing that they celebrate Oktoberfest unlike anyone else. They actually also have a separate celebration of all things Germany called GermanFest in Indianapolis that takes place on October 10, so why not go to celebrate one thing, and stay for the other! Two birds, one stone.
- I’ve heard that over 350,000 people gather annually at Oktoberfest in Denver, Colorado. I hope I will be seeing that for myself when I attend the Great American Beer Festival because THAT sounds like a celebration! Whether or not they have German heritage to fall back on, they certainly have a love of beer and they brew it well. I can only imagine how diligently they celebrate drinking it.
- I was recently in Minnesota and really impressed by their craft beer culture. The town of New Ulm was apparently created by German immigrants and while I didn’t get there myself, while in the state, I heard that they have an Oktoberfest celebration that’s been taking place now for 30 years!
- Cincinnati, Ohio claims to have the largest Oktoberfest in the USA and whether or not that’s true, if it’s even close to true, you know there will be a lot of amazing ways to celebrate there.
And because merely dreaming about traveling for Oktoberfest, or going to one of the bars in NYC isn’t enough, I’m also pondering what I would eat at home with my favorite styles of German beer. Because I love to eat, as much as I love to drink, beer.
Hefeweizenis one of my favorite German styles of beer and I have found it pairs well with two surprising options: Mexican food like tacos or flautas and Goats Cheese. A soft, warm pretzel is a great option if all else fails.
I enjoy drinking Dunkelweizen when I’m eating great southern BBQ because I think it pairs well with the richer, malty flavors of the beer.
And since this is all about Oktoberfest, I enjoy going literal with it and drinking an “Oktoberfest beer.” Märzen-style, it’s a copper-colored lager that I love to drink while eating roast chicken or Weisswurst.
Now I may have made a list of the 10 places I want to go but surely there are many I missed. Where would YOU like to celebrate Oktoberfest? And what do you like to pair with your beer during this most special, hallowed time of year?