Raise your stein: Oktoberfest is here again!
Raise your stein to the tapping of the keg and let the fest begin!
Someday I am going to make it to the actual festival in Munich, but until then I will enjoy this week-long celebration of the reason I write this column: It’s about the beer.
If you don’t drink anything other than macro lagers, then this festival and this time of the year won’t have much effect on you. But, if you are adventurous and care about the beer, then Oktoberfest is the right fest for you.
The festival is the celebration of the Märzen, a dark, carmel fresh lager to be consumed out of a 1L stein with a giant soft pretzel, sausage, Tyrolean hats, lederhosen, tuba music, and, of course, a couple hundred of your closest friends. Get to one of these events and celebrate the tapping of the keg, raise your stein and shout prost!
Pollyanna Brewing - Lemont Metra Lot, 101 Main Street, Lemont - September 15 from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. - $10, includes a commemorative stein
Pollyanna Brewing and Lou Dog Events are throwing their first combined effort to celebrate Oktoberfest. Pours of Pollyanna Brewing’s Great American Beer Festival bronze winner, Fruhauf Oktoberfest, are $5. Along with live music, plenty of food, and other Oktoberfest festivities, Pollyanna will also have a Hop Tent where they will be pouring hop forward beers like their NEIPA, a Brut IPA, a Wet Hop IPA, and their West Coast IPA – Lexical Gap.
Weber Grill of Lemont has a full Oktoberfest inspired menu for order at the fest, and local restaurant Gelsosomo’s Pizza will also be serving food. Pollyanna Brewing won bronze in the Märzen category at GABF in 2016, which had 79 entries that year. Winning a medal in a lager category is always impressive to me because there are certain breweries that make nothing but lagers (looking at you Metropolitan) and the idea that a brewery that makes every beer style there is from IPAs to Sours to imperial stouts to lagers is able to dial in an ultra-specific style like Märzen takes some talent. I love Fruhauf and look forward to it every year. I’m glad I will be able to make it up to Lemont this year and enjoy this beer in its natural habitat.
Two Brothers Oktoberfest - 205 N Broadway, Aurora – Sunday, Sept. 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. – Free entry
Two Brothers throws the earliest Oktoberfest celebration, kicking off the celebrations on September 16 with a schedule of awesome Oktoberfest fun, like stein hoisting, oompa music, and a lederhosen and dirndl dress contest. Two Brothers Brewing has three new beers just for this event, a Vienna Lager, a Dunkel and a Zwickel lager.
Two Brothers will also be cooking up all your favorites from Deutschland, including options like “house-made beer brezen pretzels, German sausage platters, pork schnitzel, and traditional German sauerbraten.” Not to mention, Two Brothers Atom Smasher is one of my favorite Märzen beers brewed in Chicagoland.
Manteno Oktoberfest – Square at Second Street Manteno, IL - September 27-30 – Free entry
Manteno Oktoberfest comes back with another year chock-full of awesome family-friendly events in beautifully redesigned downtown Manteno plaza. A highlight for me will be the 6:30 p.m. in which my daughter will participate.
The Sam Adams Oktoberfest Stein Hoisting starts at the beer tent at 7 p.m., and registration begins at 5 p.m. BrickStone Brewery will be in attendance, pouring some hopped up beers like Permanent Vacation Citra IPA and one from their Haz’D Juice series. Grapes & Hops will also be serving up some of their wine slushies.
Argtoberfest Argus Brewing – 11314 S. Front Ave, Chicago – Saturday, Sept. 22 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. - $20 in advance, $30 at the door, includes mug and two beverage tickets
Argus Brewing throws some of the funkiest fests in the city of Chicago, and I for one am personally excited to check this one out. “Come celebrate Argtoberfest with us at Argus Brewery and our team,” reads the official announcement. “Music, beverages, raffle prizes and contest.”
I don’t know much about Argus, but here’s what I do know: You can’t get into Argus unless you set up a tour in advance, and looking at the projects this brewery throws in, they always seem like something I would be into. I think this one is going to be a good time.
Revolution Brewing - 2323 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago – September 28-29 - Free, $5 donation encouraged, cash only event
The awesome people at Revolution Brewing, the kings of Chicago craft brewing, are throwing the Oktoberfest we need right now. The weekend kicks off at 3 p.m. on Friday Sept. 28 with the ceremonial tapping of the first keg of Revolution Oktoberfest Märzen. Donerman, Café Tola, Das Radler, and Revolution Brewpub will be serving food.
This is a family-friendly and pet-friendly event. As a cash-only event, this will be right up your alley, Derek Yarno, of Kankakee. Donation suggestion is $5. Last year they were able to raise $20,000 for the Friends of Goethe. Don’t sleep on the bands, bands, bands playing at this fest, like Whitney, Ex Hex, King Khan and the Shrines, and Melkbelly. If I can possibly swing it in an already packed weekend, I’ll be there.