Despite what the heat or the wildfires or the temperature of the Pacific might imply, fall is here. It is the turning point when summer has waned and winter is on the horizon. I know because it is Oktoberfest season.
It is that time of year when we take a break from the hoppiest hops to reach for the sweet, malty, pale lagers that briefly hit the shelves and draft lines around town as breweries attempt to pay homage to the original Märzenbier.
In addition to my favorite North County local seasonals, like Eppig Brewing’s FestBier and Bagby Beer’s It’s Festastic, this year I decided to fill my fridge with a variety of California beers, including Alesmith’s 2021 California Craft Brewers Cup Gold Medal-winning Aleschmidt Oktoberfest and Brewery X’s Festbier Ja!
I’m excited to try this year’s crop of new beers, but the true spirit of Oktoberfest isn’t just about drinking. It is about communing together to share stories, sing songs, laugh and be filled with the same joy that Prince (and future King) Regent Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen felt in the fall of 1810 when their wedding reception, complete with horse race, inspired the modern celebration.
We’ve all been grappling together with COVID-19 and all that has come with it. We each have our own level of comfort engaging with the world. The beauty of beer, and of Oktoberfest, is that it can be as social or socially distanced as you like. I encourage you to take time out this season to share a beer with your friends and family, be it at your favorite local brewery, at the beach, or over Zoom.
The original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, has once again been sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic. The festival, which in recent years has drawn upwards of 6 million patrons from around the world, will likely set some records when it returns. Maybe I’ll get to be one of them.
Until then, I intend to honor the spirit of the season by trying and sharing the best Oktoberfest beers I can find stateside. Prost!
- WestBrew in Vista has brewed their first-ever Oktoberfest beer which they’ll release on Friday, Sept. 24, at their first Oktoberfest celebration — complete with made-to-order sausages and steins.
- In Del Mar, One Paseo shopping is also hosting their first Oktoberfest event on The Lawn (Oct. 2). Stop by the Harland Brewing beer garden. Try your hand at ax throwing or compete in the costume contest to become Mr. & Mrs. Oktoberfest. Get tickets
- Stop by any of the Burgeon Beer locations on Oct. 2 to celebrate Oktoberfest 2021. Prizes for those best dressed in Fest-inspired garb. Break out the lederhosen.
- Carlsbad Rotary is hosting Oktoberfest at the pumpkin patch with a German-style meal, craft beer garden, music and a celebratory Chicken Dance. Get tickets
For more on the origins of Oktoberfest, check out last year’s Cheers! column detailing just that. If you want to see what I’m drinking (or know what I’m thinking) be sure to follow Cheers! North County on Instagram and Twitter.