Oktoberfest Kicks Off In Munich This Saturday – Plenty of Places to Celebrate Locally

September 15th, 2009 · 10 Comments · Events, Washington Breweries

The world’s largest beer festival, the official Oktoberfest in Munich, starts celebrating their 176th year this Saturday, September 19th. Over 7 million litres of beer are expected to be served during the sixteen day festival, as well as over 500,000 roasted chickens, 100,000 pork sausages and 58,000 pork knuckles (yum!). The Munich festival serves beer from the six large local breweries: Augustiner, Paulaner, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Spaten-Franziskaner, and Hacker-Pschorr. It’s a hell of a party, and it is a trip that I’d suggest every beer lover do at least once in their life. But, if you aren’t already headed to Munich this year, don’t fret; there are plenty of local options for beer festivals in the coming weeks.

The 14th annual Fremont Oktoberfest is set to kick off this Friday, September 18, and it will run through Sunday, September 20. The event takes place near downtown Fremont over on the waterfront near Brouwer’s. There will be more than 35 breweries pouring at the festival, many of which are local. Now, many people love this festival, but many people also hate it. The average attendee tends to skew to the younger, heavier partying side. But, there is no reason that should keep you away, especially with the Washington Beer Commission not doing their own festival in Seattle this year. If you’re worried about the crowds, just go early. There are quite a few good beers at the fest, and here are a few highlights of what would be worthy of your precious tokens:

Alaskan Smoked Porter – This is one of my favorite beers on the planet. The 6.5% ABV porter is brewed with malts smoked over local alder wood by the brewery. The resulting thick, smokey porter is something truly special, if you’re a fan of the style.

Big Sky IPA – This IPA from the Montana brewery was runner up in the Brewing News’ National IPA Championship this past March. This is one that I haven’t had in a long time and need to re-visit.

Bridgeport Hop Harvest Ale – Yeah for fresh hop beers! This is one of several fresh hop beers that will be pouring at the fest. Last year’s version from Bridgeport seemed a bit too soapy to me, but I’d still love to try this year’s version.

Fremont Brewing Mystère de la Passion – What is it? No idea. But, it’ll be worth checking out a new offering from this brand new Fremont brewery.

Georgetown Lisa’s Chocolate Stout – This was one of my favorites from the WA Brewers Festival this year, and it is great to see it make another appearance. Get it while you can…seems like the type of crowd that will gobble up a chocolate stout.

Whistler Brewing Black Tusk – I’ve never had it, but we don’t usually see Whistler Brewing beers at beer festivals in WA. This roasty, black ale sounds worth trying and the few reviews on Ratebeer.com are pretty positive.

 Local Oktoberfests – The traditional Oktoberfest celebration beer is of the marzen style. It’s usually a medium bodied, malt focused offering, and many US craft brewers put their own twist on the style. Try Oktoberfest beers from these US breweries: Baron Brewing, Chuckanut Brewery, Leinenkugel, Sam Adams, Silver City Brewing, Snoqualmie Brewery (Harvest Moon), and Widmer. That’s right…only four WA breweries are bringing Oktoberfests. Really? Did I miss some?

Even though the Washington Brewers Guild will not be having their own festival this year, the group is running the beer tent at the Enumclaw Oktoberfest coming up on October 9th and 10th. They will have over 40 beers from 15 local WA breweries.

You can also head out to the Bavarian themed town of Leavenworth for their Oktoberfest celebration that is spread out over three weekends, starting on October 2. Don’t let the cheesy music they pipe in through speakers on the streets scare you; I’d imagine their celebration is quite the party (I’ve never been able to actually go…), and the surrounding area is beautiful.

For those of you in the south sound, the Tacoma Craft Beer Festival is set for its first year with a nice lineup of 42 mostly local breweries (see website for details). It will take place on October 3 from Noon to 9pm at the Foss Waterway Seaport in Tacoma. 21+ only.

In the spirit of Oktoberfest, Katarina Van Derham, the official St. Pauli Girl model, is in town. She will be at the below events on this Friday, September 18, to meet fans, sign autographs, and give away posters. Katarina was selected as this year’s model by a reader poll on Maxim.com, and she’s from Slovakia, where they know plenty about good beer. And, as you can see by the photo, she’s also pretty easy on the eyes…

5:30-6:30 p.m. Ram Brewery (4730 University Village Pl)
7:00-8:00 p.m. Duchess Tavern (2827 NE 55th St)
8:30-9:30 p.m. Shultzy’s Sausage (4114 University Way NE)
10-11 p.m. Earl’s on the Ave (4333 University Way NE) 

Thanks to kurtw2007 on Flickr for the Oktoberfest photo at the top.


10 Comments so far ↓

  • Elvis

    i’ll be the first to say that I am staying far away from the Fremont Oktoberfest, although the beer selection is way better than in the past.

    also, thought i’d share this aside. i was recently at a popular ale house in town and asked how one of the harvest ales were. the bartender answered, “it’s too hoppy. i mean, it’s ok, but when i think of Harvest Ales i don’t think ‘hoppy'”. HUH? Am i missing something?

  • Bean

    The beers are more than enough to get me to the Fremont Oktoberfest, even if I am more frumpy than funky these days!
    To allow yourself breathing room, get there early with a group of fellow beer lovers and snag a table. Send your friends out in search of the beers and come back to your “headquarters” to sip and savor. The crowds and lines don’t really occur until the sun goes down.

  • Craig

    I’ve been reading this blog for a while, and this is the first post that frustrated me enough to write a somewhat negative rebuttal.
    I consider myself a beer geek, and I also support the local Washington Brewers Guild. And as a Guild supporter, I can no longer support the Fremont Oktoberfest whatsoever!!!

    The Fremont Oktoberfest is put on by the BoldHat event production company, and they used to put on all the WA Brewers Guild beer events too. That is until about 4 years ago when they stole money from the festivals, and tried to entirely steal the Summer Fathers Day beer festival from the Guild entirely. That’s why the Fathers day event was held at the Seattle Center once about 4 years ago, and why the name of the event has changed (since BoldHat stole the old name). I think Bold Hat is scum, and a lot of the local WA Brewers feel the same way and aren’t afraid to say it. And that’s why at the Fremont Oktoberfest you won’t see any special one-off beers and you won’t see many WA brewers there answering questions about their beer [like they used to years ago]. All the beer at the Fremont Oktoberfest are standard, common, non-special beer that BoldHat gets through beer distributors…yawn!

    That’s why I boycott all BoldHat events now, and that includes the HopScotch beer event in the spring as well as the Fremont Oktoberfest !!!!!! If you support WA beer, then I urge you to do the same thing!!

    This year the WA Brewers Guild is doing their Oktoberfest in Enumclaw, but this event was mentioned in this blog post AFTER the Fremont event, and in a tiny little paragraph. What the hell? This event will be great, and a lot of the beers are one-off unique things that the breweries can pour without selling it through distributors (since it’s the Guild’s event), so the beers are more special and unique. This is the event to go to, not the crappy Fremont event! In this blog post, this event should have been listed BEFORE the Fremont event!!

    My other issue with this blog post is the totally inaccurate info in the paragraph talking about the new Tacoma Craft Beer Festival. It says this event has a “nice lineup of 42 mostly local breweries”. That is entirely untrue!! Count the beers at that event and only 1/2 of them are brewed in Washington. Half! That’s not “mostly local” is you ask me!! If you want to drink mostly local beers at an event, go to the Guild’s Oktoberfest in Enumclaw where 100% of the 45 beers are brewed locally!

    – Support WA beer!
    – Go to the Guild’s Enumclaw Oktoberfest!
    – Boycott the Fremont Oktoberfest and other BoldHat events!!
    – Go to the Tacoma Craft Beer Festival if you want, just understand that it’s NOT mostly local beers.



  • Craig

    Sorry, I shouldn’t have attacked Geoff’s article in my prior comment. Geoff’s blog is great, and I always read it.
    Thinking about BoldHat just always gets my blood pumping…I definitely should have worded my prior comment differently.
    Sorry Geoff.


  • Jody

    As Geoff said in his blog. Some people love the event and some people hate it. I am a part of the Fremont Oktoberfest team, and although we try to make our events appropriate for all levels of beer drinkers, we can’t satisfy everyones needs. We’re sorry for any harm that may have come your way in the past, but we wish nothing but the best for the brewers guild and beer lovers throughout Washington.

    We are here to celebrate great beer, and introduce new people to the wonderful Northwest beer community. We hope that guests will celebrate the kick off to fall with us this weekend and enjoy the beers from around the Northwest and country.

  • Kaiser

    Craig- First off, no worries about attacking me. I know you mean well and obviously feel strongly about your views.

    1) 4 years ago was about when I showed up here in Seattle; I know nothing about Bold Hat, other than many people have a serious grudge against them. I don’t want to get involved…I despise the politics side of the beer industry. Give me good beer and I’m happy, wrong or right. I’ve extended an invite to the Bold Hat people to respond to your comments if they so desire.

    2) I focused on the Fremont Oktoberfest because it’s this weekend…and it’s in Seattle! I too am a big supporter of the WA Beer Commission, and I plan on doing a separate post the week prior to their fest. But, I have to say I’m more enticed by the lineup at the Fremont fest this year (I couldn’t have said that the past few years, though). They’ve got 16 WA breweries vs. the 15 at the Enumclaw fest, plus they’ve got a slew of solid breweries from outside the state (along with some ho-hum ones). I also have to say I hate the idea of driving to beer festivals outside of the city if I’m not spending the night close by; one of the biggest reasons I choose to live where I do is so that I don’t have to drive often.

    3) You are correct that only 55% (23 out of 42)of the breweries at the Tacoma Craft Beer fest are from WA. But, I don’t think that makes it a “totally inaccurate” statement to say “most” are local. Either way, it can be said that the majority of the breweries there will be from WA.

    In my eyes, all of these fests are worth attending. People can decide for themselves which ones they’d like to go to.

  • Craig

    Nicely put Geoff.
    Btw, I’m thinking much more rationally now.

  • Kaiser

    Cheers, Craig!

    Also, everyone, don’t forget about the Silver City Oktoberfest this weekend if you are out that way!

  • Eric Lundquist

    While I’ll never forgive BoldHat for ruining my streak of Father’s Day beer fests (the one in Seattle Center didn’t allow me to take my kids. It was FATHER’s day!!) I’m still a beer whore so I’ll go to their events. I also agree with Geoff, I won’t drive out to Enumclaw to get my drink on, that’s too far to get a ride back.

    That said, the *real* reason I’m posting is to gloat that I have tickets and lodging in Munich in two weeks, I’ll get to catch the last half of Oktoberfest on my beercation. WOOOOO!!!!

  • Kaiser

    Eric – I’m jealous…have fun in Munich!

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