What’s Brewing? Drink to the 219th year of Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest celebrates the traditions of Germany, in particular Munich, for the 219th time this year.
It has only been canceled 24 times due to war and epidemics. The annual festival, which originated with the marriage of Prince Ludwig and Princess Teresa, begins Sept. 21 and lasts until Oct. 6. The festival is celebrated worldwide with the main attraction being well-crafted German beer.
Patrons of establishments around the Pittsburgh area celebrating Oktoberfest can expect to see men dressed in the traditional Bavarian lederhosen — short or knee-length breeches made of leather that include suspenders worn over a checkered, collared shirt. Women wear dirndls — tight-fitting bodice over a puffy, white, low-cut blouse and a full skirt. A bow cinched on the right side of a woman symbolizes she has a significant other while a bow on the left means she doesn’t.
As most of us know, Oktoberfest is also synonymous with traditional German music. The Grkmans are an amazing musical family that takes part in multiple bands throughout the Pittsburgh area to bring us that great music. Seek them out and other German musicians at local Pittsburgh breweries including Hofbrauhaus and Church Brew Works. Check out the Grkmans page, grkmania.com.
Here are a few Oktoberfest celebrations you’ll want to check out as well:
Penn Brewery is selling tickets including VIP passes to its own Octoberfest on Sept. 20-22 and again Sept. 27-29. There will be plenty of German beer, German food and traditional German music all under huge tents, just as the tradition happens in Munich. The event will be packed, so be sure to purchase tickets soon if you plan to go. Details and tickets: pennbrew.com/ oktoberfest
Hofbrauhaus is all about German tradition 365 days a year. This year, they’ll be steeped in Oktoberfest tradition on Sept. 13-14 and then again on Sept. 20-21, for those of you who can’t get enough. Plenty of lederhosen, dirndls and traditional German music, too. See details at hofbrauhauspittsburgh.com
Spoonwood Brewing Co. in Bethel Park puts its own spin on Oktoberfest called Septemberfest. Starting on Sept. 20, there will be various events which include the tapping of Cinnamon Ghoul Pumpkin Ale on Sept. 20, the Septemberfest Bavarian menu release Sept. 24, axe throwing Sept. 27 and live music along the way. See events page at spoonwoodbrewing.com
Seven Springs Mountain Resort celebrates two days of Oktoberfest Oct. 5-6 during the annual Autumnfest. There will be plenty of live music, more than 80 craft vendors, a pumpkin patch and a hay maze in which kids can help adults find their way out. See it at 7springs.com
Mark Brewer is a Tribune-Review contributing writer. He’s the author and illustrator of “Brewology, An Illustrated Dictionary for Beer Lovers.”