Wednesday, September 16, 2015


The official Oktoberfest 2015 Logo
It's that time of the year again--Oktoberfest! Although we are the KC Beer Blog, we should really be called the KC Craft Beer Blog, since we don't concern ourselves with the fizzy yellow stuff too often. I make an exception at Oktoberfest time though, since in reality, the fest is more about the music, lederhosen, dirndls, food, and Gemütlichkeit than the beer for me.

In reality, the Oktoberfest beer served in Munich on the Wiesn isn't even what we think of as traditional Oktoberfest or Märzen beer anymore. To be brutally honest, it's closer to a slightly more flavorful version of Bud Ice than Bob's 47. It's somewhat of a sad state of affairs, except when you consider trying to drink more than one glass of Bob's 47 in a sitting when it's being served in a Maß. On the Wiesn, I'll take something a bit lighter bodied and more carbonated for all day drinking by the liter

We've got plenty of options when it comes to great traditional Oktoberfest beers around here, though. There's the classic Bob's 47 from Boulevard, Schlafly's Oktoberfest, and my personal local favorite: Free State's Octoberfest. Urban Chestnut's Oachkatzlschwoaf (don't worry, I speak German and still can't pronounce it), is supposed to be excellent as well, although I haven't had a chance to try it yet. My favorite German Oktoberfest beer is the Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen, which is probably the best in the world, save for the long journey it has to make to get to KC. On the other end of the Oktoberfest beer spectrum is KC Bier Co's Festbier--a very nice beer that's closer to what's served at the real Oktoberfest (although not so close to be compared to Bud Ice).

There's a bunch of Oktoberfest events this year with a few new events even, and we've attempted to assemble all those most relevant to the beer nerds out there. And as always, we've got all these events and more up on the KC Beer Calendar. You can be sure I'll be there, lederhosen and all. Have fun and be safe! Prost!

Oktoberfest Events

Oktoberfest "Festbier" Tapping Party @ Gordon Biersch Leawood - Tomorrow 9/17, 5:30p-8:30p

First time they've put on the event. Sounds like a great deal though--$10 for a pint of the Festbier and the Bavarian buffet. They're also going to have a Volksmusik band and it all benefits the Henry's Haul charity. Also doesn't hurt that Gordon Biersch makes a pretty damned good Oktoberfest beer.

Oktoberfest Battle @ Bier Station - Fri. 9/18, 4p-1a

This is really the event to go to if you want to explore the Oktoberfest/Märzen style. Bier Station is pitting the old world against the new world, with lots of German and American beers. They're going to have 11 different Oktoberfest beers on tap, including a wood cask of KC Bier Co's Festbier.

The KC Bier Co Cask
KC Bier Co Oktoberfest - Sat. 9/19, 11a-10p & Sun. 9/20, 12p-9p

KC Bier Co, as you might expect, knows how to do Oktoberfest right. This is my personal favorite Oktoberfest celebration in town. Not only do you have KC Bier Co's great fresh lagers on hand, but you can even drink their Festbier out of a traditional wood cask if you show up early enough. They'll also have an outfit contest for best lederhosen and dirndl, carnival games, and a stein holding contest.

Grünauer Oktoberfest - Fri. 9/25, 4p-12a & Sat. 9/26, 2p-12a

This is my favorite local fest for true Oktoberfest cuisine. Some may scoff at the words "Oktoberfest cuisine" but those people are probably aren't any fun to hang out with anyway. They've also got a bunch of different Volksmusik bands coming in and do a good job keeping their imported German lagers flowing and fresh.

Lee's Summit Oktobefest - Fri., 9/25, 5p-11p & Sat. 9/26, 10a-11p

Even though it may not seem it, since beer is not the prime attraction, the Lee's Summit Oktoberfest is really the most true to form around here. Contrary to popular belief, Oktoberfest in Munich is really just a big carnival with some large beer tents included in the mix. And Lee's Summit Oktoberfest is just that--a carnival in downtown Lee's Summit with a beer tent included. They've also got German food, Volksmusik, dancing, and the whole bit. I've heard nothing but glowing reviews about the fest, although I've never managed to get down there myself.

Lee's Summit Oktoberfest

Westport Oktoberfest Pub Crawl - Sat. 9/26, 1p-5p

Another new event for this year. You buy a ticket ahead of time, and for the price you get a stein, a couple free beers, and a passport. After you hit 6 bars in Westport on your passport, you can be entered to win prizes at the after party. They're also going to have costume and stein holding contests, and lots of the bars down there are having German food and beer specials.

Take your Tin Mill stein back with
you for cheaper beer!
Hermann, Missouri Oktoberfest - Every Weekend in October

So this isn't really an Oktoberfest in KC, nor is it centered around beer, but it's my blog, and I'll post what I want to, damn it! Really, though, Oktoberfest in Hermann is a hell of a good time. Of course, you can hit up the Tin Mill brewery in town, which has a nice beer garden out back, and if you want to make a short side trip, 2nd Shift Brewing Co is just up the road in New Haven. But really, Hermann is all about the wine, and I post this because we go every year, it's tons of fun, and the most German you can get around these parts.

(Also, it's not bucking tradition that much to drink wine at Oktoberfest--there is an actual Wine Tent at the Munich Oktoberfest, and it's one of the most fun for my money.)

Renaissance Festival Oktoberfest - Sat. 10/3 & Sun. 10/4, 10a-7p

Still haven't gone to this one, and I haven't yet met anyone that has. I still post it, though, because it probably has the best mix of costumes of any of the other Oktoberfests in town... If you go, let us know how it is!

Holy-Field Winery Oktoberfest - Sat. 10/10, 12p-4p

Again, not really anything to do with beer, but I love this Oktoberfest. It's an idyllic setting, and they've usually got some good home cooked German food for relatively cheap. The wine seems pretty good to me too, although no one ever accused me of being a wine expert. But if it's good weather, you just about can't beat hanging out there for the afternoon--drinking wine, eating a brat, listening to Volksmusik, and wandering the vineyards.

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