Your guide to Oktoberfest 2015

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Schwandtoberfest at Bauhaus Brew Labs returns this year on Oct. 3 // Photo courtesy of Bauhaus

When Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig organized a series of horse races to celebrate his marriage to Princess Therese in 1810, he probably had no idea he was starting what would become the world’s biggest annual beer festival.

Oktoberfest is a German tradition that has—not surprisingly—established solid roots here in Minnesota. Today, it’s not hard to find Oktoberfest parties at Minnesota craft breweries and the Märzen-style beers they produce this time of year, which range from traditional to “Anti-Oktoberfest.”

See below for a chronological list of upcoming Oktoberfest events taking place in the coming weeks and Oktoberfest beers to be on the lookout for. But, you should probably start by reading this Style Profile of Oktoberfest beers so you’ll know what the heck it is you’ll be drinking for the next month.

As the Germans would say, prost!

Note: if you don’t see your favorite brewery’s Oktoberfest event listed below, please email event details to kgrauman (at) growlermag (dot) com.


The Fests

Sever’s Oktoberfest | October 2, 5–9pm | $15

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Photo via facebook.com/severscornmaze

Enjoy free samples of Badger Hill beer (while they last), including their limited Wet Hop Red and a cask of Foundation Stout, live polka music, food vendors, games and more at Sever’s Corn Maze in Shakopee. More info.

Bauhaus Schwandtoberfest Extra-Vaganza | October 3, noon–11pm | $30

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The Bauhuas Brew Labs “Haus Band” Viva Knievel perform at the 2014 Schwandtoberfest // Photo courtesy of Bauhaus

Bigger than last year’s inaugural Schwandtoberfest, this year’s event will feature multiple beer tents, live music, food options including brats and authentic Bavarian pretzels, and special releases to pour along with Bauhaus’ Schwandtoberfest Bavarian-style Festbier. The $30 ticket buys you entry, a commemorative 22 oz. glass, and three fills. More info. (Also, this video, because it does not get old.)

Waconia Brewing Oktoberfest Party | October 2–3, 2pm–10pm both days | Free

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Waconia Brewing Company’s first-ever, two-day Oktoberfest celebration will include a beer tent, live music both nights, commemorative steins, a food truck, and, of course, the release of their first traditional Oktoberfest beer. More info.

Bradtoberfest | October 4, 11am–6pm | $30

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2014 Bradtoberfest participants on the Canal Park Brewing patio // Photo via facebook.com/bradfest82

The ultimate Duluth, Minnesota, Sunday Funday, this event connects local music, craft beer, and outdoor culture in a fall fest that benefits young, local musicians & honors the memory of Duluth musician Brad Rozman. You can run or walk the ~5K path that connects pubs and local breweries including Bent Paddle, Canal Park, and more. Registration includes craft beer samples and live local music at each stop. More info.

Fair State Co-Optoberfest | October 10, 2pm–midnight | Free

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Photo by Aaron Davidson

Fair State Brewing’s Co-Optoberfest will feature 17 beers on tap, including their Märzen-style Festbier, food vendors, live screen printing, hammerschlagen, bags, and a strolling accordion player. They’ll also be releasing two styles of barrel-aged sours this weekend and will be marking one year in business at the event. More info.

Excelsior Docktoberfest | October 8-11, times vary each day | Free

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Excelsior Brewing’s Docktoberfest Märzen Lager // Photo via facebook.com/excelsiorbrew

Excelsior Brewing figured that if a one-day Oktoberfest celebration is good, a four-day affair is even better. This party on the lake will include live music, German food, plenty of Excelsior’s Docktoberfest Märzen Lager (pictured above), and more. Schedule and more info.

Schell’s Oktoberfest | October 10, 11:30am–4:30pm | $10

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Schell’s Oktoberfest 2014 // Photo courtesy of Schell’s

If you want a taste of a traditional Oktoberfest—both the beer and the experience—you can’t go wrong at Schell’s in New Ulm. German fare, music, dress, dancing, and more are all on display at Minnesota’s oldest brewery. More info.

Herkimer Oktoberfest | October 10, 4pm–2am | Free

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The Herkimer Pub and Brewery’s Oktoberfest celebration will include a charity bags tournament (starting at 4pm), specials on German food and Oktoberfest mug fills, a live polka band from 6–10pm, and the release of their Oktoberfest Lager. More info.

Badger Hill Shaktoberfest | October 16–18, times vary each day | Free

Badger Hill’s Shaktoberfest will include a .01K Beer Run, pumpkin painting for kids, hammerschlagen, the release of their Oktoberfest and “Anti-Oktobefest” (lighter, hoppier, less-malty), special firkin tappings, and food every from Papa’s Hot Dog Cart. More info.

Summit Brewing Altoberfest | October 17, 2–9pm | Free

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Summit Brewing’s Altoberfest will celebrate the release of their Unchained Series #20 Sticke Alt, and will include harvest-themed games, costume contests for best traditional German garb and best-dressed scarecrow, authentic German cuisine from The Black Forest Inn and live music from Brass Barn Polka Band. More info.

Next page: The Beers

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