Some people are obsessed with Christmas. Others wait all year to bust out their Halloween costumes (the sluttier, the better appears to be the general consensus amongst this group). Some love the Fourth of July and all its day-drinking glory, and some hold out for the gluttony of Thanksgiving. I, however, happen to worship at a different altar. I freaking love Oktoberfest.
It all started when I was just a wee child of 18. Though legal in some senses, I was too young to partake in the great American pastime: Boozing. It. Up. Lacking a fake ID, I did very little drinking in high school, which meant I was still untested when my grandmother decided it was time to take me to Germany to “learn about my heritage.” She planned the two-week trip for late September, which gave me just enough time abroad to learn all about beer steins, European football, the worst way to experience wurst (coming out, rather than going in). She says didn’t intend me to spend so much time in the Oktoberfest tents, but I suspect she liked the lederhosen every bit as much as I did. And, as it turns out, I come from a long line of cheerful beer-drinkers and rambunctious over-sharers. Family history is such a hoot, right?
Since that fateful September, I’ve loved the ritual of Oktoberfest. Though it’s not quite the same if you’re not in Munich (sorry to say it, but it’s true) there are plenty of celebrations going on right here in New England. Whet your whistle at these three upcoming events.
Novare Res Bier Cafe, widely recognized as the best place to get brews in Portland, is throwing a little Deutche-themed soiree this weekend. On September 28th and 29th, head over for pours of Weißenohe Monk’s Fest Märzen from Bavaria and Bull Jagger’s Dirigo Crimson Lager from Portland. They’re only going to be pouring those draughts all weekend, but you can get it in a .5L or 1L cup, so what they lack in variety, they’re making up for in sheer quantity. And since no celebration would be complete without sausage, we can tell you this: There will be meat.
For something a bit bigger, get out to Acadia on the weekend of October 5th for the 17th Annual Oktoberfest—and the 3rd annual Wine & Cheese Festival. There will be live music, plenty of libations, and lots and lots of food. Maine wine distributors will be offering wines from around the world, and Maine cheesemakers will be in attendance to serve you their goodies. The Brewfest goes down on October 6th. It’s just $10 to get into the tent but if you want a beer stein of your very own, you’ll have to shell out $30 for the full admission ticket.
Speaking of steins, the Swine and Stein Festival goes down in Gardiner on Saturday, October 13th. It’s a slightly modified version of the traditional Oktoberfest celebration. Instead of focusing solely on the beer (with the german eats as a secondary concern) this fest will feature pork dishes from quite a few different locations alongside “fun” activities like a chicken fling, stick pony races, and a frozen T-shirt contest. To be honest, I think I’ll skip the poultry toss and stick with the beer—Allagash, Baxter Brewing, Sebago, Shipyard, Geary’s, and Fatty Bampkins will all be on tap, along with several other local options. Prost!