While Oktoberfest may have begun as a royal wedding celebration more than 200 years ago, in the years since, it has morphed into the largest secular celebration on Earth. Its growing popularity is fueled by pork, potato pancakes, the chicken dance, and copious amounts of beer. Here's where to celebrate the season’s festivities around town.
Last week, we debriefed you on the Oktoberfest happenings at go-to German spots around town: Schroeder's, Schmidt's, Suppenkuche, and Leopold's. Today, with October officially upon us, it is time to take a look at the rest of the restaurants and brewpubs offering deals. Now, all you have to do is knock back enough brats, kraut and pretzels to warrant a lederhosen loosening.
The first Oktoberfest was held 1810 as public celebration for a royal Bavarian wedding. In the ensuing two hundred years it has morphed into what’s been called the largest secular celebration on Earth. Its growing popularity has been fueled by pork, potato pancakes, the chicken dance, and lots of beer. As with other holidays, we Bay area residents put our own spin on the festivities.
This coming weekend will be the third and final in a series of local Oktoberfest celebrations and the biggest of the fests will be held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Pier 48.
Oktoberfest by the Bay has been rated as one of the top 10 Oktoberfest celebrations in the US. It boasts two alternating bands - the 20 piece Chico Bavarian Band and The Internationalists. The Oakland Nature Friends Schuhplattler dance group will perform traditional Bavarian and Austrian folk dance and there will be typical German dainties like sausages and pork cutlets. The festival hosts will be pouring enough Spaten to convince even the skeptics that the chicken dance is genius.
The Bay Area’s Oktoberfest season continues; this weekend you can enjoy beers from twenty five brewers for twenty five bucks. The Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC) and Access4Bikes are hosting Biketoberfest, a combination Oktoberfest and bicycle expo at the Fair/Anselm Plaza in Fairfax. While many of the major west coast breweries will be pouring their wares, the real draw for locavore beer drinkers will be the inclusion of area nanobreweries such as Beltane Brewery, Pine Street Brewery, and Van Houten Brewing. Since the event is a benefit (all proceeds go to MCBC and Access4Bikes) you’ll be able to help yourself to samples from several breweries whose beer is not yet commercially available or is only sold at the brewpub where it’s made. In addition to the suds, there’s a variety of food available and live music.
This Sunday, the Marin Chapter of the Nature Friends Tourist Club opens their clubhouse for their annual Oktoberfest and Kinderfest celebrations. The Tourist Club is one of the area’s great treasures and this weekend is the chapter’s most popular event. The clubhouse is an Alpine style chalet on the side of Mount Tam with balconies and an outside dance floor that overlook Muir Woods. Club members will be pouring several German beers and selling home-cooked German food. Starting about 2, the legendary Joe Smiell and His Bavarian Band will be putting down the Bavarian style polka music and a folk dance group or two will perform periodically during the day.
Oktoberfest officially begins in Munich on September 17th, though related festivities, like Brews On the Bay kick off here in San Francisco a week earlier. Hey, we're a progressive city! The traditional Oktoberfest beer style is the Märzen, which some consider the earliest form of the lager. Originally brewed in the spring (März is March in German) the beer undergoes a long cool fermentation using lager yeast and is then consumed by the bootful during the fall. The longer fermentation clarifies the beer and gives it time to build complexity. Oktoberfest beers typically contain up to 6% alcohol, are medium bodied, slightly sweet and balanced with Noble hops.
CUESA Sunday Supper
The much ballyhooed (by me, at least) CUESA Sunday Supper is coming right up. Buy tickets now for the star chef-filled event (or spot some beasts and be entered to win a pair!), proceeds from which go to support CUESA's educational programming. Eat well for a great cause!
Germany has given us many things (killer sausages, the pretzel, Heidi Klum), but few have rivaled our intense love affair with beer and its annual worship, Oktoberfest, which is 200 years old this year. If you missed Toronado's festivities last week, hit up one of these beer-soaked spots for a taste of Oktoberfest in the Bay:
Time to dust off that stein, prime up your belly, and get on your polka dancing shoes. It's almost October, which means one great thing to the beer world: Oktoberfest. As usual, there's lots going on in SF to celebrate brewing's most famous month. Here are the events I've been able to uncover so far. I'll post more events when I find them.