Beer, brats, & Bavarian culture: Your guide to Oktoberfest 2016

Oktoberfest fields - WEB

Oktoberfest dates back to 1810 when Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig organized a series of horse races to celebrate his marriage to Princess Therese. This bronze statue titled “Bavaria” and commissioned by Prince Ludwig overlooks the Oktoberfest grounds in Munich, Germany. // Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Minnesota is approximately 4,500 miles from Munich, Germany—home of the original Oktoberfest that began over 200 years ago—but that doesn’t stop us from breaking out our lederhosen and strapping on our dancing shoes for some traditional polka music, all to the sound of the clinking of steins and shouts of “Prost!”

Here’s how you can celebrate Oktoberfest in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. (Note, events are listed in chronological order by start date. Did we miss one? Please email events [at] growlermag [dot] com.)

Urban Moose Oktoberfest | September 16–18 | Times vary each day | Free

Head to Sauk Rapids for Urban Moose’s first annual, three-day Oktoberfest celebration. The weekend festival will be full of beer, food, music, yard games, and prizes every hour. More info.

Saint Paul Oktoberfest | September 16–18 | Times vary each day | Free

Everyone is German at the 16th annual St. Paul Oktoberfest in Rice Park. Prost your way to a great time with Minnesota-made Oktoberfest beers, authentic German fare, carriage rides, bed races, polka music, dancers, and many other German treats and traditions. More info.

Gausthaus Bavarian Hunter Oktoberfest | September 16–18, 23–25 | Times vary each day | Fri & Sat: $5 admission, Sun: $3 admission

Stillwater spreads its Oktoberfest celebration across two weekends with Gausthaus Bavarian Hunter’s event featuring music, dancing, imported beer, brats and chops, huge pretzels, cinnamon roasted almonds, and Hammerschlagen. Bring your own stein. Fridays and Saturdays are 21+ only, while Sundays are family days with kids activities. More info.

Bemidji Brewing Oktoberfest | September 17 | 12–6pm | Free

Photo via Bemidji Brewing’s Facebook event page

Bemidji Brewing will be closing down the street in front of their taproom to make room for a block party full of music, dancing, games, food, and beer. More info.

Black Forest Inn Oktoberfest | September 23–October 2 | Hours of operation

Photo via Black Forest Inn’s website

Black Forest Inn is celebrating Oktoberfest for 10 days and nights. Every day has a theme to it—from sausages to David Hasselhoff to the Germanic art movement, Dada—with plenty of authentic German food and beer to boot. More info.

New Glarus Oktoberfest | September 23–25 | Sat: 9am–midnight, Sun: 11:30am–6pm

Photo via New Glarus Oktoberfest’s Facebook page

For those looking to get away, New Glarus Brewing is sponsoring their town’s Oktoberfest celebration, which will see the downtown area filled with live music, food, wagon rides, chainsaw carvings, and many other family-friendly activities. More info.

SurlyFest | September 24 | 11am–10pm | Free

Photo via Surly’s website

The ninth annual SurlyFest is taking over the entire destination brewery in Minneapolis for an 11-hour celebration. Tickets that guarantee entry are sold out, but the event is free to attend and open to the public until they reach capacity. SurlyFest will feature German-inspired food, pints of SurlyFest, and live music outside. At the end of the day, don’t forget to take home your commemorative stein. More info.

St. Cloud Oktoberfest at Beaver Island Brewing | September 24 | 2–8pm | $14


Photo via St. Cloud Oktoberfest Facebook event

Beaver Island Brewing is throwing an Oktoberfest celebration that will include German music, food, and Beaver Island’s Oktoberfest beer. Each ticket includes a commemorative mug and your first fill. More info.

Oktoberfest at The Herkimer | September 24 | Free

Photo via Herkimer’s Facebook page

Every October, The Herkimer Pub & Brewery hosts a party to celebrate the release of its Oktoberfest beer and to commemorate the festival that started it all in Munich. Activities include a live polka band, the release of their Oktoberfest lager, and beer pong. More info.

Mill City Oktoberfest | September 24 | 8am–2pm | Free

Photo via Minnesota Historical Society website

Celebrate Minnesota brewing past and present at the annual Mill City Oktoberfest. Within the Mill City Museum and surrounding area, join in on the fun with cooking demonstrations, music, dancing, beer samples, brewing history, and food. More info.

New Bohemia Golden Valley Oktoberfest | September 24 | 12–10pm | $50

Celebrate Oktoberfest at New Bohemia Golden Valley, with unlimited samples of 30 local and international beers, and a selection of sausages and pretzels (for purchase). There will also be local crafts, live music, keg bowling, and a wiener dog keg pull. The event benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. More info.

Oktoberfest at South Fork Brewing | September 24 | 2pm–10pm | Free

Photo via South Fork Brewing Company’s Facebook event page

Join Delano’s South Fork Brewing for their Oktoberfest party, with music, food, games, and of course, beer. Get there early enough so you can try South Fork’s Oktoberfest Märzenbier for $20, and one liter of beer for the price of a pint. More info.

Fair State Co-Optoberfest | September 24 | 2pm–midnight | Free

Photo via Fair State Brewing Cooperative’s Facebook page

Fair State is hosting its third Co-Optoberfest, in addition to its second birthday, with a plethora of ales and lagers. The brewery will turn its beer garden into a mini-Munich with brats, pretzels, a strolling accordion player, shirt printing, games, and much more. More info.

Voyageur Brewing Company Oktoberfest | September 29–October 2| Thurs & Fri: Noon–10pm, Sat & Sun: Noon–7pm | Free

Photo via Voyageur Brewing Company’s Facebook event page

Grab your friends and head over to Grand Marais, where Voyageur Brewing Company will be celebrating with German music, food, and beer. Not only that, but there will also be pretzel tosses, Hammerschlagen, best dressed dog contest, and many other fun games. More info.

Third Annual Schwandtoberfest Extra–Vaganza! | October 1 | 12–11pm | $30, $10 for DD/cover charge only, kids are free

Photo via Bauhaus’ website

It’s time to break out the lederhosen again for Bauhaus Brew Labs’ Schwantoberfest. There will be lots of live music, German fare, including brats from Gerhard’s Brats and authentic Bavarian pretzels through Aki’s Breadhaus, and tickets include a 23 oz. commemorative beer stein and three fills to whet your whistle. P.S. If you show up to the party in your finest pair of ‘hosen, you get a bonus fill. We’ll toast to that. More info.

Bald Man Brewing 1st Annual Rocktoberfest | October 1 | 3pm–midnight | $5 cover charge at door


Eagan’s new brewery will be holding their 1st Annual Rocktoberfest on Oct. 1, which will feature their Rock You Like A Hurricane Oktoberfest beer. Eat brats and sausages from the New Bohemia food truck, while listening to Minnesota rock ‘n’ roll band, The Issue. More info.

Minnesota Renaissance Festival–Oktoberfest | October 1–2, 9am–7pm | Various ticket prices

Photo via Minnesota Renaissance Festival website

Grab your German gear and celebrate Oktoberfest by strolling through vendors, artisans, and restaurants in the Bavarian Village. Other events at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival’s Oktoberfest weekend include dachshund races, traditional German music and dancing, stein holding competition, keg toss, bier pong, sauerkraut eating contest, and much more. More info.

BradtoberFest | October 2 | 11:30am–6pm | $25 in advance, $30 day-of

The fourth annual BradtoberFest Run/Rawk/Crawl connects Duluth’s craft beer, music, and running communities, allowing attendees to taste local beers and jive to music via paths that link the breweries and beer-centric locations. Whether you run or walk, the route begins at Bent Paddle Brewing and ends at the Red Herring Lounge. The proceeds from the event benefit young musicians and support many charitable programs. More info.

Urban Growler Mocktoberfest Celebration | October 5 | 11am–10pm | Free

Photo via Urban Growler’s Facebook event page for Mocktoberfest Celebration

Celebrate fall and the beer that comes with it during Urban Growler’s Mocktoberfest. There will be German fare served all day, with a special beer release. From 5–9pm there will be live music in the beer garden. More info.

Excelsior’s Docktoberfest | October 6–9 | Time varies each day | Free

Photo via Excelsior Brewing Company’s website

Join Excelsior Brewing for its lakeside Oktoberfest celebration with six German-style beers, food, and live music. More info.

Twin Cities Oktoberfest | October 7–8 | Fri: 4–11pm, Sat: 12–11pm | $30

Photo via Twin Cities Oktoberfest’s Facebook page

Partnering with Summit Brewing, Twin Cities Oktoberfest is all about beer, brats, and being German (for real or for a day). The event will feature live music, dancers, traditional Oktoberfest foods, beer, and other refreshments for non-beer drinkers. More info.

Pumpplefest | October 8 | 7:30am–11pm | Free

Photo via Lupulin Brewing’s Facebook page

Lupulin Brewing Company is presenting its second annual Pumpplefest, with an all-day celebration for the whole family. There will be a 5K walk/run, jumbo Jenga, live music by the Elk River German Band and DJ Soulfulsounder, beer releases, food trucks, and much more. More info.

Gull Dam Oktoberfest and Bavarian Costume Party | October 8 | 12–11pm | Free

Nisswa’s Gull Dam Brewing will have a day-long Oktoberfest celebration with polka music from Wally Pikal and blues from the Lamont Cranston Band, Oktoberfest games, and a $500 prize for the best Bavarian costume. Gull Damn’s Oktoberfest beer will also be released. Check out their Facebook event for updates.

F-Oktoberfest Celebration | October 8 | 12–11pm | Free

Photo via F-Town Brewing Company’s Facebook page

Join F-Town Brewing for their second annual F-Oktoberfest celebration. There will be live music featuring IV Play, food, and the release the F-Oktoberfest Marzen. New this year, they will kick off the party with the F-Oktoberfest Gravel Grinder 50-Mile Race. Learn more at on the Facebook event.

Oktober56Fest | October 13-15 | Thurs & Fri: 5–10pm, Sat: Noon–10pm

56 Brewing is making Oktoberfest a three-day event with music, food, and lots of beer. Beer selections include Zeusus Rubus Raspberry Wheat Ale, 1/2 Ton Double IPA, Walnut Joy Stout, and much more. Sit outside on the patio and enjoy the celebration. More info.

Photo via 56 Brewing’s website


Bad Habit Brewing Company Oktoberfest Party | October 8| 2–6pm | $15

Bad Habit Brewing067

Bad Habit Brewing’s Oktoberfest will feature food, games, and music, and tickets come with a custom beer stein and one drink token.  More info.

Schell’s Oktoberfest | October 15 | 10:30am–5pm | $10 general admission, kids 12 and under are free

Photo via Schell’s website

Drink like a Bavarian at Schell’s, with a large fest tent full of German delights: lederhosen attired servers passing around steins of beer, live music from Schell’s Hobo Band and Alpensterne, and authentic German food to devour. A majority of the proceeds benefit Minnesota Assistance for Veterans CouncilMore info.

Shaktoberfest | October 21–23 | Times vary each day | Free

Photo via Badger Hill Facebook page

Badger Hill Brewing is having a three-day Oktoberfest celebration, where their Untoberfest and Oktoberfest beers will be tapped, a 5K and .01K run, live music, and food. Keep an eye out for more details as they’re announced on Badger Hill’s Facebook page.


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