Can’t make it over to Munich? Want to try your hand at hosting your very own Oktoberfest this year? Well, we’ve got the tips to help you make that happen. This is our official Oktoberfest Party Guide.’
Victory Festbier – A favorite local marzen, it’s perfect for this event with its pleasant German malts. 5.6% ABV
Susquehanna Oktoberfest – Another local marzen with caramel and toffee notes, and Bavarian hops to balance the flavor. 6.2% ABV
Goose Island Oktoberfest - Sweet dried fruits, burnt sugar and earthy hops make up the flavor profile of this lager. 6.4% ABV
Dominion Octoberfest Maerzen – Smooth caramel, honey and bready flavors are followed by crisp hops, creating a warm yet refreshing beverage. 5.7% ABV
For the little ones or anyone else who doesn’t drink, you could always serve hot or chilled apple cider, seasoned with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg for a perfectly autumnal flavor.
Apart from beer, food is the most important thing about Oktoberfest. Pretzels are a must, the salt and breadiness coupling perfectly with malty beers. This pairs well with mustard, obatzda and weisswurst, a mild, pale sausage made of veal and pork. Of course, you can always use your favorite sort of wurst. For appetizer or buffet-style servings, make or purchase small pretzels, cut one-inch lengths of sausage, and arrange with a dish of mustard and/or obatzda and toothpicks on a fall leaf-colored platter.
For a heartier meal, you could make Bavarian style burgers, using traditional Leberkäse or ground beef with German-style fixings like sauerkraut, pretzel or kaiser rolls, tasty cheeses and of course mustard. Goes great with potato salad.
The natural dessert option here is Lebkuchen hearts, a style of gingerbread cookie decorated with icing, but you could also go with the fall-appropriate apple strudel if you’d rather.
Blue and white are the traditional colors of Oktoberfest, typically seen in a lozengy pattern as they are in a variant of the Bavarian flag. This can come in the form of tablecloths, flags, paper plates, hats, etc., all readily available at many party stores and online. For splashes of color that won’t overload the senses, fill beer steins with blue and white flowers, or tie blue and white ribbons around silverware or mug handles.
Speaking of mugs, it’s important that you aren’t drinking out of bottles or plastic cups, since that just isn’t in the spirit of Oktoberfest. Beer steins in glass, ceramic or plastic are perfect for this event, adding to an authentic atmosphere.
The backyard is the perfect spot for your Oktoberfest, and the addition of a pop-up tent or canopy can make it feel less like a yard and more like the fest itself. Using smaller tents, you can designate a biergarten, buffet and dining areas with festive signs.
Stein Race: Fill a stein with beer (or any liquid), and have contestants race from one side of a field to the other, spilling as little of their beverage as possible. Whoever can fill a most of a bucket at the end of the line in the allotted time wins.
Chicken Dance: Great for kids and adults alike, this silly dance actually started as a German tradition, originally called the Duck Dance.
Barrel Roll: Another traditional Oktoberfest event. Use an empty barrel or keg, and have participants roll it through an obstacle course. The fastest time wins, and points are deducted for losing control of the barrel and crashing into spectators.
Beer Tasting: Set up a table with a variety of the beers you’ve purchased for the occasion and small tasting glasses, allowing party-goers to try a few beers before they pick what they’d like a full glass of. For the full tasting experience, include pretzels and cheeses that pair well with the different brews.