It’s Oktoberfest! UPDATED

If you had wanted to toast German Oktoberfest at the moment Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter (pronounced Dee-ter Rite-er)  tapped the first keg of beer in Munich you could have arisen before 6:00 am on Saturday, Sept. 22, and at precisely 6 am EDT or noon in Munich as Mayor Reiter tapped the first keg and said “O zapft is!” or “it’s tapped” you could have raised your huge 1-liter glass and had the same toast as those at Die Weisn, slang for Theresienwiesen location in Munich, and joined thousands of Germans and visitors in opening the worlds largest beer party. And while we rarely encourage you to leave this site (so read on) if you want a terrific panoramic view of the actual Oktoberfest before you decide where YOU will party, click here to see Euronews video.   Perhaps you got your party started two weeks earlier at German Park Indianapolis as we did, or you went to Cincinnati for the largest equivalent in the U.S. You can still attend a similar event at The Liter House in Indianapolis near Broad Ripple or one of several events around including at local breweries.   

Before you read where and when, here are some FAQs.  Why does it start in September?  Simple, better weather!   The Original event for odd King Ludwig’s marriage was in mid-October but that can be chilly in Munich or in the Midwest!   How much beer is in the large glass German beer mug which Americans sometimes call a beer stein (stein means stone in German and is not used for this)?  The large glass dimpled mug contains Ein Mass (say  moss) of beer which is a liter or just slightly over 2 pints. The smaller similar glass I often use is a half liter, nearly a pint.  Those glasses are used for Oktoberfest and in Bavarian beer halls but rarely elsewhere.

Oktoberfest Munich 2018 starts Sept. 22 ending October 7.  Oktoberfest Zinzinnati  is the largest in the U.S. held in 2018 on Sept. 21-23 in downtown Cincinnati. They claim 80,500 bratwurst and 87,500 mettwurst are eaten along with 64,000 sauerkraut balls. Oh, and there is beer!  The largest Oktoberfest in Indianapolis was held   Sept 6 through 8 at the Indianapolis German Park, south near Greenwood. 4 until 11pm daily.  There are smaller celebrations at the Athenaeum, Sept. 28.   7 – 11pm and at the  Liederkranz building  Oct. 6, 6-11pm.

Liter House, 5301 Winthrop Av. Indianapolis   is having a pretty darned “real”  Oktoberfest, copied after the Munich event:   over 3 weekends. You reserve a seat or a table and get food, beer, and more:  $60 SINGLE TICKETS INCLUDE:  -Seat at a Shared / Communal Table; -Boot Liter & Lanyard; -Entree (comes out at 7:30pm); -Two Liters of Beer OR 1 Liter of Cider; -Live Music;  There are  games & prizes throughout  the night;   A $400 GROUP TICKETS INCLUDE:  -Your own 8 top table with your group of friends (saves $80); -8x Boot Liter & Lanyard; -8x Entree (comes out at 7:30pm); -Pretzels & Dips snack to soak up beer (comes out at 9-10PM); -16 Liters of Beer OR 8 Liters of Cider; -Live Music
Sep. 28 –>https://www.eventbrite.com/e/liter-house-oktoberfest-ticket…
Oct. 6 –>https://www.eventbrite.com/e/liter-house-oktoberfest-ticket…

Indy Rathskeller Oktoberfest, Fri, Sept. 28, 7-11 pm Oktoberfest with Polkaboy band! ($7 cover)

Bremen, IN, Oktoberfest,  Fri (5-8 pm) -Sat (9 am-9 pm) Kids coloring contest on Friday 9 am (per Facebook) & local firemen have a German food tent.

Byway Brewing, Oktoberfest 2825 Carlson Dr, Hammond, Sept 29, Noon – 10pm. German food, their Oktoberfest, their pils and others.

Indy Herron-Morton Place Oktoberfest, Sept. 29 3-9 pm, 1927 N. Alabama St. with local beer from Cannonball, Mashcraft, & Sun King ($15)

Richmond, IN, Oktoberfest,  in Historic Depot District, 11am-7pm with German food and local New Boswell Brewery beer.

Winona Lake, IN,  Oktoberfest at the Village, Sept. 29, 11am -10:45 pm includes Porsche car show.

Brokerage Brewing Company, 2516  Covington Street, W. Lafayette, IN, celebrates Oktoberfest Sept. 27- Sep. 30, open Thursday 3-9, tapping announced at 5, Friday & Saturday Noon-Midnight, Sunday 1-8 pm.

Flat 12 Bierwerks has Oktoberfest Sat. Sept. 29, Noon – 10 pm. Polkamotion band,  Boot purchase ($20, includes beer)
Tapping Slam Dunkel plus will have Wrassel Frasssel Marzen.

Lagers in Lawrence (IN) is a ticketed event ($50 at the gate) Sept. 29, 3-7pm at the Civic Plaza with beer from Triton, Bare Hands, Bier, Round Town, Grand Junction, Centerpoint, Evil Czech, Traders, Schnitz, Rock Bottom, Wooden Bear, Guardian, Mind Over Mash, & Pax Verum,

Moontown Brewing, 345 S Bowers St, Whitestown, IN has Oktoberfest Sat. Oct. 6, with German menu, Two bands, Special beer tappings. Noon – Midnight.

Seymour IN Oktoberfest, Oktoberfest downtown Oktober 4-6 11am-11pm (per website) with Metazoa, Indianapolis, beer & Spaten, Franziskaner, Goose Island  & others.

Beech Grove, IN, Holy Name Church Oktoberfest,   Friday-Sat. Oct. 5-6, 5pm- midnight features games, music, German food, Craft beer.

If you are not a beer geek, it may help to understand a bit about the beer.  The current, slightly lighter style of beer for an Oktoberfest celebration, a Festbier, is yellow gold, has a slight quality of bread and sweetness and still just a hint of bitterness.   This style is now served in Munich as not as heavy and filling as the former Oktoberfest, also Marzen, which is amber in color, richly malty and a  bit of biscuit flavor.   Yet, craft breweries often choose the Oktoberfest name for their Festbier variety, and still the overall impression for beers served at this time for any local fest may vary from sweeter, maltier, to lighter with some having an interesting hop bite.

So… don’t be too nerdy, enjoy several and enjoy the differences!

The first two versions I tasted this season were from the Liter House,  5301 Winthrop Av, Indianapolis, serving their Big Lug house version, a Festbier and from Upland Brewing, (Bloomington, but served in Indy and Columbus locations) which also seemed to be a Festbier.  Both delicious and since the BigLug was the first I tried it seemed particularly tasty, some malt with a nice zing from hops.

I had the pleasure of trying the national Sierra Nevada  and Weihenstaphan collaboration for this year’s release is crisp, clean with solid balance between malt and hop. Sierra Nevada has been collaborating with German breweries since 2015 when they teamed with smaller brewery Riegele which is located about an hour from the original Oktoberfest location.   The Samuel Adams’ version is the Marzen style with solid malt sweetness.

In addition to three actual German varieties I’ve had  on tap this year that each varied not only from Festbier to Marzen but from sweeter to more caramel offering, I’ve snagged the following and will go hunting for more to add to the list:

Oaken Barrel Oktoberfest

Oaken Barrel has a version that seems more Marzen in style and was truly satisfying while listening to German style music at the Oktoberfest at German Park Indy.   This brewery also offers a German style grapefruit radler (bicycling beer, traditionally made with fruit soda) at their brewery this year.

Switchyard Brewing, Bloomington,  got their malt from Germany and their former Sierra Nevada brewer shows his stuff with a delicious Marzen variety this delivers a deep caramel.

 

When your local brewery offers a delicious one, email us at indianabeer2@gmail.com!

What you  missed but look for similar dates next year:

Carmel, IN, Oktoberfest is Friday, Sept, 21, at Carmel City Center, 6-10 pm with a Biergarten, food, music by Polka Boy and fun for all ages.

Fishers, IN, Oktoberfest @ Saxony is held Friday, Sept 21 (5:30-10 pm) & Saturday Sept. 22, 3-10:30 pm at Witten Park, Saxony Boulevard.  Sun King is the local beer.

St. John, IN, Oktoberfest is held at St. John the Evangelist (NE of Crown Point) 11301 W. 93rd, St. John, IN.  Friday, Sept. 21 (5:30-10:30), Sat. Sept. 22 (Noon-10:30, and Sun. Sept. 23 (Noon-8pm) with 4 bands,  Hacker-Pschorr bier (+ lite beers), German Food, under a big tent.

Rensselaer IN, Oktoberfest held at the Jasper County Courthouse is Saturday Sept. 22, 5-11 pm featuring local Fenwick Farms Brewing beer, music, and more.

Pumpkin Beer is next!

The Tap Brewery Bloomington tapped their Tapolantern already

Bier Brewery released their award winning version on Sept. 14!