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Ask the Brewers: How to Celebrate Oktoberfest at Home

Ask the Brewers: How to Celebrate Oktoberfest at Home
Taylor Laabs

While the actual Oktoberfest celebration in Munich, Germany, is canceled, Festbiers that celebrate the famous Bavarian tradition continue to pop-up on local store shelves across America. While some people may complain of an increasingly aggressive seasonal creep, I’m just happy to have a crisp Festbier in-hand to celebrate the latter stages of summer. While my ticket to Munich may be refunded and I won’t be donning lederhosen and dancing on tables — at least not this year — I still plan to celebrate Oktoberfest from my own home. To find out how others are getting into the spirit of the beer season and to offer tips on how to celebrate Oktoberfest while maintaining social distancing, I asked the brewers. 

Schlafly Beer, Stephen Hale: Founding Brewer

“First, set the mood with some great music (with an appearance by former St. Louis mayor Francis Slay at 1:43, toasting everyone with “ich bin ein Stuttgarter!”) — this is sure to make your festival the best for blocks around, the volume is helpful.

Include a variety of traditional Bavarian foods along with Schlafly Oktoberfest and other favorites, and if you really want to spice it up, make sure to wear your Dirndl and Lederhosen for even more authenticity. Until next year, Everyone, Prost!”

Yuengling, Sheryl Yuengling

An homage to the Yuengling family’s German heritage, Yuengling Oktoberfest is a seasonal fan-favorite. It’s so popular that fans flock to stock up on the brew, while supplies last, for their chance to enjoy the expert blend of roasted malts and just the right amount of hops each year. This year, Yuengling is helping consumers bring the biergarten home not only with their highly-anticipated seasonal release but with recipes for their at-home Oktoberfest celebrations like Yuengling Oktoberfest soft pretzels and Yuengling Oktoberfest cheese dip.”

Revolution Brewing, Jim Cibak: Head Brewer

“We still intend on celebrating Oktoberfest in my household. Our plan is to socially distance in the backyard and enjoy some fresh cans of our Oktoberfest beer. We are also going to grill up an assortment of delicious sausages from Paulina Market and make some fresh spaetzle to pair with them. Some sauerkraut and red cabbage will also be a nice addition to the meal.”

Surly Brewing, Ben Smith: Head Brewer

“The secret to festing at home is to consume as much Oktoberfest as possible, as quickly as possible — just like if you were at Oktoberfest in Munich. If you’ve got Lederhosen, get suited up and head to the back yard, hopefully with a spouse and/or family members to imbibe with. Luckily, Spotify has tons of German drinking music so turn it up, fire up the grill, and tune out COVID-19 for a grand party at home. And, the silver lining — there’s no line for the bathroom and no one to steal your table. Fill your stein, grill some sausages, pile on the Kraut — Oktoberfest is here!”

Founders Brewing, Jeremy Kosmicki: Brewmaster

“Get a group video chat going! We use it for all of our work meetings these days, but I also do social hangouts that way as well. Crack a few Oktoberfest beers and virtually drink/chat with some friends — even ones that live far away or you normally couldn’t hang out with.” 

Schofferhofer, Rasmus Hunke-Ewers: Braumister

“Beer is inherently part of the culture in Germany, so it’s painful to see Oktoberfest canceled this year. But there’s no reason you can’t celebrate at home by picking up some authentic German beer — try a light and refreshing Hefeweizen to start things off. It’ll ease you into the spirit of the celebration, and most are lower in alcohol content. Make a few batches of homemade Bavarian pretzels and purchase a few German beer steins that your guests can use and take home afterward.”

Off Color Brewing, Shane Doherty: Head Production Brewer

Fest Bier is meant to bring people together, but this year we have to find a new way to be together. Distance, virtual connections and responsible interactions enable us to celebrate responsibly. For us, we like to air-cheers where the beer lives”

Athletic Brewing, John Walker: Head Brewer 

Oktoberfest to me is about the seasons, the outdoors, the warm sun on my back with a cool breeze and enjoying good company, festive music and good food. Oktoberfest at home may be a little quieter this year but no less invigorating and festive as I sip on my bright, refreshing malty Athletic Oktoberfest and feast on delicious German dishes from my grandparents and throw my lederhosen-clad kids in piles of leaves in the warm Autumn sun.”

Wallenpaupack Brewing, Logan Ackerley: Head Brewer

“Of course, it all starts with beer, so pick up some Oktoberfest beer from your favorite local craft brewery. Purchase a few German beer steins for your guests and hold a contest to see who can hold the beer up the longest (just be sure everyone stands 6 feet apart). And while this is taking place, prepare some German bratwurst on the grill with some onions and beer and make the sandwiches for your guests to enjoy. Prost!”

Logan with Festbier in-hand. Photo credit: Wallenpaupack Brewing

Lone Tree, Dennis Stack: Sales & Marketing Director

“Oktoberfest is an event where friends and neighbors gather, but in these unique times those gatherings have become increasingly difficult. Typically celebrated outdoors in beer gardens, there’s the capability to continue the Oktoberfest tradition by taking your drinks and friends outside, with safe social distancing, of course. I suggest swapping large community tables at the celebration for smaller options to keep the distance. However you celebrate, enjoy your liter of beer responsibly. Prost!” 

*Feature image courtesy of Shuttershock

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