So now that it is October, it’s only fitting that I do a little post on Oktoberfest, right? Right. But make no mistake, despite it commonly celebrated over Thanksgiving weekend, Oktoberfest actually starts in September, and lasts a total of 16 days. The very first Oktoberfest took place in 1810 in Munich Germany, and was to commemorate the marriage of a German King Ludwig to his bride Therese. 200 years later, this festival of beer is still celebrated by 5 million people all over globe. A ceremonial 12 gun salute and official tapping of the first keg marks the beginning of the 2 week long festival.
This year Oktoberfest began on the 22nd of September, and so last week I decided to join in on the festivities by attending Steam Whistle’s (@SteamWhistle)annual Oktoberfest celebration. Complete with a celebratory first keg tap, traditional German fare, and lots (and I mean LOTS) of beer, I just couldn’t resist going!
I made a trip out to downtown where the Steam Whistle brewery is.
Steam Whistle Brewery
I love that the patio looks out to the financial district & CN twower! :)
After I register, I am handed one of many one litre beer steins. I knew Right then and there that this festival was going to be serious drinking business.
Take your pick!
Inside the brewery, there is a stage, food and beer sections, and rows of picnic style benches occupied with festival goers.
Everyone was encouraged to come in Oktoberfest uniform, and while I didn't think many people would have Dirndlor or Lederhosen lying around in their closet, lots of people did in fact come dressed for the ocassion!
Oktoberfest spirit for sale
But not to worry if you didn't come dressed. Steam Whistle made sure everyone could feel festive and fit in by selling Oktoberfest hats and pins on site.
WHAT TO DRINK?
Being a celebration of beer, Steam Whistle made sure you couldn't walk 10 seconds without access to a bar.
Beer Ticket ($5 each)
Trading just one of these drink tickets gets you half a litre of beer in your stein.
One of the many bars
At the back you can see them tapping a fresh keg of beer!
Steam Whistle Keg
The beer from this keg is actually different from the one from the bar taps. Since they are not brewed in large metal tanks and instead in a cask, the beer is unfiltered and unpasteurized.
Filtered vs. Unfiltered beer
I couldn't really tell the difference between the two, but you can actually see the difference between the filtered and unfiltered beer!
On the patio, the atmosphere is more relaxed, but still festive and cheerful!
WHAT TO EAT?
Of course with all that beer in your stomach, you need some substance to fill in the cracks. So what to eat?
Never fear, German food is here! Aligned with traditional Oktoberfest traditions, traditional German fare was served. Everything from schnizel to cabbage rolls, Bratwurst to pretzels.
Lots of Food
I wish I could eat this entire pan of sauteed onions. Nomnoms!
Bratwurst Sausage ($6)-sauteed onions, mustard, sauerkraut
Not going to lie, this wasn't the best pretzel, but I couldn't stop eating it. It was a dense dough, pretty flavorless aside from the flecks of salt, but it didn't a good job of filling the stomach and soaking up some of the alcohol. I shared this with my boyfriend and we were both pretty full after!
Scattered at every bar counter top were plates of pork rinds. I don't normally care for them, but these were delicious! Very crunchy and not at all greasy. A dash of spice made them a perfect combo with the beer!
What to do?
Some may come just to gorge on the beer and culinary delights, but a traditional Oktoberfest celebration should never keep you unamused! Emcee of the event kept every minute exciting with live folk music, traditional German dancing, and lots of games!
Live music and VERY entertaining emcee!
Polka Dance Performance
Learning and using some new phrases!
The live music there got everyone singing, but not just any old songs. Traditional German songs of course! Lucky for me the admission came with a song booklet with lyrics to all the songs included. It was one big sing-a-long!
Anyone want to sing "Too Fat" or "We left our Wives"? with me? =P
Bavarian style dancing
Vickie and I having a great time! :)
In Germany many waitresses have to train weeks in advance for the 16 day celebration. They start by holding a stein full of water extended for an hour the first day. 2 steins the next, and incrementally until full strength capacity is reached. To demonstrate just how intensive task is, some audience members were challenged to an endurance contest.
She may not have won, but she sure is happy!
I was honestly breaking a sweat just watching...
Interesting Fact of the Day
Can you believe that the world record for carrying steins is 19? You are one impressive woman Anita Schwarz!
So the conclusion of my first Oktoberfest event? LOVED IT! I loved the German fare, the music, and the communal style beer hall. The atmosphere is so lively, the people are energetic, and everyone has a good time over a a couple beers. Thanks for hosting an amazing experience Steam Whistle! :)