How to Throw Your Own Oktoberfest

O’Zapft is! This week, people from around the world will travel to Munich, Germany for the world’s largest folk festival: Oktoberfest. Over the course of 16 days, an estimated six million festgoers will fill historic bier halls and consume an astounding amount of beer (over 7 million litres to be exact!) at an annual event that has been running since 1810. Rich with tradition, Munich’s Oktoberfest is a cultural experience unlike any other.

But you don’t have to book a flight to Bavaria to get in on the fun. The true spirit of Oktoberfest lies in its celebration of community, which means Oktoberfest can be celebrated anywhere and with anyone. So crack open an Oktoberfest and follow these 5 steps for throwing your own oom-pah-pah bash.

Step 1: Don’t wait until October!
We know, we know… the name is a little confusing, but waiting until October 1 to start your Oktoberfest celebration is starting too late! This year’s Munich celebration begins September 17, but if you’re from Cleveland, you already know our own kicked off Labor Day weekend. With the heat and humidity (mostly) gone in September, now is the perfect time to hoist your stein in the sunshine. Just remember: starting early doesn’t mean you can’t go late!

Step 2: Find your Bier Garden!
You don’t need a massive beer hall to celebrate Oktoberfest (though it’d be pretty cool if you have one!) Grab some bunting, hang a few flags, and drop your cooler wherever you feel like celebrating. A pop-up canopy tent in the backyard is perfect, but use what you have! A keg in the garage? Ach ja. Lawn chairs around a bonfire? Über fantastisch!

Step 3: Set the Mood!
Wherever you decide to hold your Wiesn, you’ve got to make it feel festive. Decorations and a great playlist will go a long way, but we’d argue your “floorplan” is even more important. Maximize a feeling of Bavarian camaraderie or gemütlichkeit, by arranging your tables and chairs in a communal way. The perfect Oktoberfest setup is one where you can easily prost! another festgoer without leaving your table, so get cozy! Another idea: a community cooler is a great way to share (and taste!) the many frothy libations your guests may bring that day. We recommend tossing in a few German-inspired offerings like Dortmunder Gold Lager and Eliot Ness Amber Lager for a bit of variety!

Step 4: Make Your Fest a Feast!
Packed with toasty autumnal flavors, the smooth and malty character of Oktoberfest makes it one of the easiest beers to pair food with! If you’re starting early, skip the bacon and cook up a plump and juicy Weisswurst for a hearty Bavarian twist on the classic kegs-and-eggs breakfast. But don’t stop there. You’ll need plenty of snacks to munch on throughout the day, and our Bertman Original Dortmunder Gold Lager Beer Mustard is a great accompaniment for pretzels and sliced Gouda. Brats, roasted chicken, and potato cakes are a safe bet for dinner, but if you really want to flex your culinary skills, our Pork Schnitzel with Oktoberfest gravy is sure to impress your guests.

Step 5: Have Fun!
Oktoberfest is, and we can’t stress this enough, a party, so find ways to let loose! Bust out the lederhosen and award prizes to your best-dressed guests. Test your strength with a stein holding competition. Stand up on a table and get a “Sweet Caroline” sing along going. It doesn’t necessarily have to make sense, but it does have to be fun, so don’t take yourself too seriously, drink responsibly, and you’ll be celebrating Oktoberfest like a pro in no time.

Oktoberfest, one of our most celebrated and critically lauded brews, is available now for a limited time. Use our Beer Finder to find 12 oz. Can 12-Packs, 12 oz. Bottle 6-Packs, 12 oz. Bottle 12-Packs, and Draft at a retailer near you.

Words and photos by Adam Ritterspach

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