Oktoberfest is the ultimate German event and the largest annual fair in the world. It features a 16-day festival celebrating Bavarian German culture and one of German’s favorite drinks – beer. The event runs from late September to the first weekend in October. In the U.S., we have our own version of celebrating the festival of beers. Below are some places that have annual events around the Washington, DC area.
1309 5 St. NE
Washington, DC 20002
Date: Oct. 19, 2013
This craft beer festival is under the direction of Greg Engert, the beer director for Birch & Barley, ChurchKey, Rustico and Bluejacket. It usually occurs in mid-October. Last year, there was food, live bands, activities and over a hundred unique, artisan crafted beers from around the world. You can expect to taste some of the following: German-style beers, seasonal autumn brews, unheard-of rarities and sought-after international brands, cask ales, barrel-aged brews and several Franconian gravity-poured, rubber-clad kegs. Tickets are required to gain entrance to the event. Individual tickets or a variety of passes, including VIP early access, are available. Children accompanied by a parent are able to enter for free.
Das Best Oktoberfest
137 National Plaza
National Harbor, MD 20745
Dates: Sept. 27 through Sept. 28, 2013
National Harbor’s annual Oktoberfest will take place September 27 and 28. There will be a beer hall theme this year with over 150 varieties of craft beers, wines and schnapps. Two live music stages for local bands with polka and oompah bands will keep the celebration going for the two-day event. Plus, German food from brats to Bavarian treats will be available to purchase at various concession stands. Enter to win cash prizes on Saturday. Some other contests include the best beer belly, Miss Oktoberfest and the pretzel necklace contest. Join the Das Boot Oompah Party under the tent on Friday night. This limited-entrance event will give guests a wunderbar experience of German sausage platter dinners and special das boot glasses for their beer.
1355 H St. NE
Washington, DC 20002
Biergarten Haus usually hosts its Oktoberfest celebration in late September. The establishment has a fairly large beer garden. The atmosphere at this Washingtonian German gem on H Street is worth the long wait time to get into the month-long festivities at the bar. Every Friday and Saturday night will feature live bands, including oompah bands. Biergarten Haus pays homage to the Munich-inspired event with the traditional songs of the ale and dancers in German costumes amusing the crowds. All this, while drinking seasonal beers from Munich breweries (like Spaten, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr) in liter-size mugs, will be a great way to share Oktoberfest with friends.
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4001 Campbell Ave.
Arlington, VA 22206
Date: Oct. 5, 2013
Capitol City Brewing Company opened its doors in 1992 as the first brewpub in our nation’s capitol since prohibition. For 14 years, the Capitol City Brewing Co. has sponsored the Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest in Shirlington, VA. For one whole day, the city has a block party of German dining and partying. Over 30 breweries turn tents into tasting pubs. Local German organizations provide authentic German food. Designated drivers and kids get in free. Last year, $25 would get you your own tasting glass and 10 drink tickets. Additional tickets cost $1 each.
7121 Bethesda Lane
Bethesda, MD 20814
Date: Call the restaurant for this year’s date.
Redwood Restaurant and Bar hosts an annual Oktoberfest. It is a one-day event that brings neighborhood restaurants together in celebration of the Munich event. Throughout the day, craft beer, delicious food and live music are available to commemorate this special occasion. Part of the proceeds goes to the cystic Fibrosis Foundation every year. At time of press, the date was still undecided so please call the restaurant to find out more details.
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Sonya Dunn is a freelance writer covering all things Washington DC. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.