It’s that time of the year. The weather is turning hues of orange and brown, your favorite network shows are back, and weekends belong to football again. But everyone knows fall doesn’t really kick into full swing until you’ve lifted a water-cooler sized stein of strong beer and chowed down on some Bavarian meats with old friends and those friends you met 10 minutes ago. Here are five places doing Oktoberfest right (and differently) this year.
It's the inaugural Oktoberfest for this Pioneer Square bierhaus and brathaus, and it's setting the bar high with a kickoff party on Sept 20 that includes a ceremonial beer tapping and three-piece polka band. Traditional Bavarian food will be available all day, and prizes will be given away every hour. The more beer you purchase, the better chance you'll have to win Altstadt clothing, ceramic steins, even a pair of Sounders tickets.
On Thursday September 18, the Capitol Hill mainstay formerly known as Von Trapp’s will start things off with a little music from the Happy Hans band and a lot of beer, including seven special Oktoberfest brews on tap. For the next two weeks it’ll be non-stop brats. On weekends, chef Pete Fjosne will be serving up uber special traditional Bavarian fare, including steckerlfisch (whole trout grilled and served on a stick) and wiesn hendl (half chicken seasoned with all sorts). Don’t try to pronounce it, just put it in your face.
Oktoberfest in Seattle has become synonymous with Fremont’s neighborhood-wide party, and with good reason. For one, it boasts the Coachella of beer gardens, open September 19-21. At the Tasting Garden you can sample 80 different microbrews and German offerings. Or, if you are more inclined to chug Bitburger out of a glass boot, the Buxom Beer Garden is probably more your speed. New this year: on Sunday the tasting garden will be open to all ages (with a paying adult) for some family-friendly activities. You can purchase tickets here.
The modern Korean cuisine may not automatically inspire much Oktoberfest fanfare, but anyone who’s sat down for brunch at Joule knows husband and wife team Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi know comfort food. This year they will be observing the festivities with some creative brunchy takes on traditional German favorites, including beer poached apples, kraut salad, sausage flammkuchen, and a huckleberry radler.
Chef Derek Ronspies will double down on his already-inspired pork creations during the three-day Hogtoberfest. Close enough to the Fremont beer gardens for a little stroll, here you’ll be able to indulge in all things pig, including pulled pork posole, pork buns, pork belly, and the "Fat Ass pork schnitzel." Bitburger will also be served by the can, along with the restaurant's usual draft offerings, wine, and beer flights.