Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The KC Oktoberfest Guide

The Mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter, tapped the first
keg of Oktoberfest 2014 on Saturday. (photo: dpa)
Now that you've all read my Oktoberfest primer (you have read it, haven't you?), and the official Oktoberfest has begun, I'm sure you're all ready to don your Trachten, listen to some Volksmusik, and drink a Maß of Bier. I'm sure you'll all be glad to hear that there's no shortage of opportunities for just that over the next three weeks! And lucky for us, the weather looks absolutely fantastic for all the outdoor events this week. So here's your official KC Beer Blog Oktoberfest Guide!

September 22 - September 28

Westport Oktoberfest - 9/22 - 9/28

The Westport Oktoberfest isn't a single big fest, rather a lot of smaller Oktoberfest-themed events and beer and food specials throughout the week. The Foundry, Harpo's, Westport Saloon, and McCoy's have special German menus all week long. There will be a variety of special Oktoberfest beer specials during the week, and McCoy's will be hosting their Oktoberfest beer release party today at 4pm. Also, apparently KC Taco is making German sauerbraten tacos. So random.

Grunauer Oktoberfest - 9/26 4p-11p & 9/27 12p-11p

Grunauer is in their 5th year of hosting Oktoberfest at the restaurant. This has been my Oktoberfest stand-by in town over the last couple of years and has been great every time I've been. Apparently I've been so much they randomly put a picture of me and my wife in our Trachten up on their website.

They're going to have various Volksmusik players all day and night, and have a special Oktoberfest menu. If you've ever been there, you already know their food is fantastic, and their Oktoberfest food is no different. They don't have a huge selection of beer, but they do a very good job of keeping their German lagers about as fresh as you can find them in town. They'll also have Bobs 47, Mother's Oktoberfest, and Santa Fe Oktoberfest on tap.

KC Bier Co Oktoberfest - 9/27 11a-10p & 9/28 12p-9p

Since KC Bier Co only opened last spring, this will be their first Oktoberfest celebration. I'm super stoked for this one, and have a feeling that it will be the closest in character to the beer tents on the Wiesn. They're going to have a host of bands throughout the day, food specials, and, of course, house made Festbier! They've even got a traditional Bavarian cask flown straight in from the Vaterland to serve their beer out of.

They're also going to have a beer stein holding contest, and a competition for the best lederhosen and dirndl. You better bring your A-game though, because I'm going to be there rocking the full getup. The event is free of charge, but they'll be taking donations for Habitat for Humanity in exchange for an Alpenhut.

KC Bier Co filling the cask...

Lee's Summit Oktoberfest - 9/26 5p-11p & 9/27 10a-11p

Lee's Summit Oktoberfest is another great fest celebration held on the streets in downtown LS. This one probably mirrors the actual Oktoberfest best of any in the area. They've got all kinds of events, activities, and carnival rides in addition the the main beer tent.

This fest is really geared more towards families rather than hardcore festbier drinking, but they do still have a beer tent, a wine tent, and there's even going to be a homebrew tasting and competition this year hosted by Apex. There will be traditional music and food throughout the fest as well. Also, completely random, there is a dog contest and a baby contest. I assume the baby who throws the beer keg farthest wins.

Rheinland Oktoberfest - 9/27 & 10/4

The Rheinland Restuarant is the oldest German restaurant in KC and is well respected for having very good traditional food, although I can't speak to it personally since I've never been. (Kind of hard to justify driving 45 minutes to Independence when Grunauer & Haus are so much closer.) They're having a special Oktoberfest dinner event this Saturday and next.

September 29 - October 5

Bier Station - 10/3-10/5

They are pretty light on details still, but Bier Station will be hosting an Oktoberfest celebration all weekend long. They're going to have special German beer on tap and food specials catered in by Affäre. Judging by the recent Zwanze Day success, I'm guessing this event will be excellent. We'll post more details as they come available!

The sign above the bar at Bier Station is from the Marienplatz subway stop--one of the main stations in Munich.
Just three stops from the Wiesn!

Hermann Oktoberfest - 10/4 Opening Day, Every Weekend in Oct. 

The Oktoberfest celebration in Hermann is my favorite in the area for a full weekend excursion. If you haven't ever heard of Hermann, it's a little town in the "Missouri Rheinland", the heart of Missouri wine country. The city has a strong German heritage and lots of wineries in and around the city. (And contrary to popular belief, there are wine tents at Oktoberfest in Munich in addition to the beer tents!) The Tin Mill Brewery is also downtown. They brew some solid lagers and have a nice stand of chestnut trees growing up in their beer garden.

There are things going on all over town, mainly on Saturdays, every weekend of October. For some extra fun, take the Amtrak down there and drink on the road! Here's a tip if you're going--buy up all the local wineries' wines at the grocery store. They'll let you bring it bottles from their winery and it'll be 1/3 the price. Come find me down there next weekend!

View from the Hermannhof Winery

Shawnee Oktoberfest - 10/3, 5:30p-10p

The Shawnee German-American Club is hosting an Oktoberfest celebration this year at the Shawnee Civic Centre. They will have home-cooked German food and beer, bands, and activities for the kids.

October 6 - October 14

Holyfield Winery Oktoberfest - 10/11, 12p-4p

Like Hermann, this Oktoberfest is focused on wine instead of beer. It's a little bit of a drive out of town, but if you can swing it (and swing a ride home!), then this makes for a nice Saturday afternoon of enjoying the weather, walking the vineyards, and drinking some pretty decent wine. They also have the Alpen Spielers, bierocks (which are delicious), and brats to eat. You can also sample their wine for free. There's a $5 admission fee.

KC Ren Fest Oktoberfest - 10/11-10/12

If rigid adherence to historical and cultural accuracy isn't really your thing, and you're a fan of busty women and giant turkey legs, why not go check out the Oktoberfest at Ren Fest? I've never been, nor have I ever talked to anyone who has, but I imagine it would make for some excellent drunken people watching at the least. At the Oktoberfest area, there will be a keg toss, knackwurst eating, arm wrestling, and costume competition, among others events.

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