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How to celebrate Oktoberfest in Austin: All the beer and brats you can dream of

How to celebrate Oktoberfest in Austin: All the beer & brats you want

Oktoberfest
We've picked the best Oktoberfest events in town.  Photo courtesy of Austoberfest

There are more German-style beer festivals than you can shake a schnitzel at this fall. Central Texas is especially blessed, both in our rich German heritage dating back to the mid-1800s and our ever-growing craft beer scene.

Celebrate with a stein of Marzenbier (the style of beer known as “Oktoberfest”) at one of these Austin-area Oktoberfest celebrations.

Oasis Brewing & Noble Sandwich Co. Oktoberfest: September 20
The Texas Oktoberfest with the best view is most likely at Oasis Texas Brewing Co. on Lake Travis. In addition to its regular session beers, the brewery will also be releasing its version of an Oktoberfest beer, a “lager brewed with German pilsner, Vienna and Munich malts, hopped lightly with spicy Hallertau Mittelfruh and with notes of warm whole wheat bread and toasted almonds.” Noble Sandwich Co. will be on hand serving up German sausages and other traditional fare. The event is free, but a shuttle service from the Draught House will be available. 

Banger’s Third Annual Oktoberfest: September 20 - October 5
Banger’s is making its best effort to match the epic 16-day Oktoberfest that has taken place in Munich, Germany since 1810 with its own 10-day extravaganza featuring local craft beer, house-made sausage, live music and all kinds of other shenanigans.

Food specials include dishes like the Schnitzel Sausage — a thinly pounded pork cutlet stuffed with bacon lardons and sauerkraut, dusted with panko bread crumbs, lightly fried and then served over a buttery spaetzle with a side of house-made spicy mustard. Shenanigans include human foosball, meat raffle, chicken shit bingo and more. Find the full schedule on the Banger’s Facebook page

AustOberfest: September 27
In its inaugural run last year, AustOberfest (held at Saengerrunde Halle) was a great success, thanks to all you can eat sausage from more than a dozen of Central Texas’s best meat purveyors including Mueller Barbecue, La Barbecue and Micklethwait Craft Meats, plus nine beers from German brewers Paulaner and Hacker Pschorr. It stands to reason that the folks behind AustOberfest put on a legit German throw-down – Austin Saengerrunde (where the event is held) was established in 1879 as a German singing society, making it the oldest ethnic organization in Austin.  Entertainment will include everything from authentic Czech polka to bowling and a braid bar. All-inclusive tickets are $40 in advance or $50 at door. Saengerrunde members get in for $20.

Black Sheep Lodge Oktoberfest: September 27
Neighborhood bar Black Sheep Lodge always attracts an enthusiastic crowd for its themed events, and its celebration of fall beers should be no different. Traditional German fare of brats and pretzels will be on the menu, as well as an array of Oktoberfest beers plus feats of strength and skill, like a stein holding contest and Hammerschlagen contest, which means “hammer striking” and involves driving a nail into a log. Hammerschlagen is a long-held tradition at the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.

Easy Tiger Oktoberfest: September 27-28
It's hard to believe that this downtown beer garden hasn’t thrown an Oktoberfest celebration before now, but it’s true. The Easy Tiger Oktoberfest tent will house craft brewers throughout the weekend, special food boards and giveaways. Breweries include Avery Brewing, Real Ale Brewing, Brooklyn Brewery and Austin Beerworks, which will debut the Montecore, a collaboration between the brewery and the folks at Easy Tiger.

Fredericksburg Oktoberfest: October 3-5
This three-day family-friendly celebration at the Fredericksburg Marketplaz has been going strong since 1981. Fredericksburg’s Oktoberfest features all the oompah and bratwurst you’d expect of a town with authentic German roots, plus a few quirks thrown in, such as the Chicken Dance on the Main Square and “Oktubafest,” welcoming any and all tuba players from near and far. The collection of beers is truly impressive, with more than a dozen German beers on tap (Hofbrau and Spaten, of course), plus top-notch Oktoberfest brews from across Texas (like Rahr & Sons, Real Ale, Pedernales Classic) and elsewhere in the U.S. (Brooklyn, Firestone Walker, and more). Sitting amidst a sea of lederhosen watching Oma & the Oompahs play polka, you’ll feel you’ve been transported to Munich.     

German-Texan Heritage Society Oktoberfest: October 18
Perhaps a bit more low-key than some of the other festivals mentioned here, the German Heritage Society's event captures the essence of a traditional Oktoberfest. Held at the German Free School (which has a fascinating, rich history), there will be imported German beer and wine, brats and, of course, accordions. Families are welcome — a magician and puppeteer will entertain the kinder. Admission is $10 at the gate, $7 via PayPal.

NXNW Oktoberfest: October 25-26
Another fest that’s fun for the whole family (including the four-legged members), Oktoberfest at North by Northwest is now in its 13th year. Count on NXNW beer (obviously), German dishes from NXNW's head chef George Powell, oompah bands, plus a dog costume contest, bratwurst eating contest, a bounce house and more. Admission is only $2 and benefits Therapy Pet Pals of Texas and Central TX Dachsund Rescue.

Wurstfest: November 7 – 16
They don’t officially call it an Oktoberfest, but Wurstfest in New Braunfels is probably the most epic of the Central Texas Oktoberfests. Going strong since 1961, festival organizers eventually built a permanent Wursthalle, Biergarten and Kinderhalle for the fest, which attracts around 100,000 visitors over the course of 10 days. Vendors sell all manner of sausage and kraut and several German, Texan, and other domestic beers will be flowing. There are carnival rides and games and a slew of performances from folk dancers, yodelers, polka bands and more. Admission is $7 per day. Prost!