Fall in Austin has come to mean more than pumpkin spice lattes, Halloween and the dubious use of scarves and sweaters in 80-degree weather — it’s also the season of bratwurst, polka music and beer steins that we can barely hold. Oktoberfest, a traditionally German celebration held every autumn, has arrived in full force.
Despite the name, Oktoberfest is not limited to the month of October, and Austin bars and breweries will start holding their own fests later this month. Here are all the places hosting Oktoberfest events this year, arranged in chronological order.
Oktoberfest at Black Star Co-op
Black Star’s first-ever Oktoberfest-style lager, brewed with 100 percent locally malted Blacklands Malt, will go on tap at this evening event. Have it poured into one of the limited half-liter, Black Star-branded steins that you can purchase and take home. The North Austin brewpub also promises schnitzel and shenanigans.
Hi Sign Brewing’s 2018 Oktoberfest
Kick off the season at this East Austin brewery, which will have a fresh batch of its märzen-style lager pouring, the Austin Polka Band performing live, and German food by two local vendors: bratwurst from Frank and pretzels from Sour Duck Market. Both general admission and VIP tickets will get you a take-home stein, beer and fresh-grilled bratwurst, although the VIP stein is much larger.
Sure, sure, Celis Brewery specializes in Belgian-style ales, and Oktoberfest is traditionally a German thing. But you can count on some good German-style fun here, with the release of Celis’ wiesn and marzen beers, Bavarian pretzels, live music, authentic German food from the Salty German, and limited dimpled mugs — that being another term for ‘beer stein.’ You don’t need tickets to attend, but the $10 purchase will guarantee you a stein, a pretzel and a pour of one of the two brews.
Hops & Grain’s 1st Oktoberfest
In celebration of the return of Hops & Grain’s O-Fest Märzen Lager, which was on a two-year hiatus, the East Austin brewery is throwing the first of three fall parties (the Halloween bash and anniversary party have become must-attend to-dos for local beer lovers). Costumes are encouraged at this one, too, so bring out your lederhosen or dirndl dress.
10th Annual Oktoberfest at Black Sheep Lodge
Find your competitive edge at the South Austin bar, which is hosting a pair of contests: a stein-holding competition and hammerschlagen, a nail-driving competition. The festive afternoon will also have brats, pretzels and all the Oktoberfest beer you could want.
OAKtoberfest at Live Oak Brewing
One of the best German-style breweries in town is timing its annual Oktoberfest party to take place on the first day of the two-week Munich festival that inspired all the rest around the world. Live Oak will debut its Oaktoberfest brew, along with all-day live music and German food from the Black Forest food truck, at the celebration.
Real Ale Oktoberfest 2018
Make a day trip to this Oktoberfest event — it’ll be well worth the drive. Real Ale Brewing will have live music from the Polkasonics, a variety of food vendors and plenty of beer, including its annual Oktoberfest lager. Tickets will be available at the gate, but you’ll only be able to receive a souvenir mug if you buy your ticket in advance via Eventbrite. Tickets also guarantee four full pours.
Whitestone Brewery’s Oktoberfest 2018
This Cedar Park brewery is ambitious: Oktoberfest here is a two-week event that runs nearly the length of the big one in Munich. It’ll kick off with what Whitestone is calling the opening ceremony, which will have a special Oktoberfest cask tapping at 2 p.m., a stein-holding contest at 4 p.m., and live music provided by Off the Grid from 5 to 8 p.m. For the full rundown of Oktoberfest events, check out Whitestone’s events calendar.
Oktoberfest at Uncle Billy’s Brewery
At the barbecue-loving brewery, you won’t find a traditional German-style marzen lager: Uncle Billy’s has made the I Know a Little German, a rye Oktoberfest beer, with the addition of rye malt. It’ll finish clean and dry, with a bread-like sweetness, as you’d expect, but with a pinch of spice from the rye. Try it with Oktoberfest festivities at the brewery with door prizes, live music and more.
The 6th Annual AustOberfest
Last year, this authentic celebration was named one of the best Oktoberfests in America by Food & Wine magazine, so you know it must be good. And so it shall: AustOberfest will have all-you-can-eat sausage, European-style beers from three Texas breweries, live polka music and bowling. The evening affair will be held at Scholz Garten and Saengerrunde Halle; you can’t really get more German than that. Tickets are $25-$50 and available on Eventbrite.
Oasthouse’s Oktoberfest Celebration
The Northwest Austin restaurant is breaking out the beer and bratwurst for a special afternoon featuring Fredericksburg’s Altstadt Brewery, which is opening a massive Bavarian-style tasting room and brewery in October. Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar will have Altstadt door prizes and beer specials, German-inspired dishes including currywurst, and live music by Shawn Matthews. The event will run from 2 to 8 p.m.
Pluckers’ Oktoberfest Celebration
There’s no word on whether chicken wings count as proper Oktoberfest fare, but the Round Rock location of this popular Austin chain will have live music, a chicken dance contest, a stein-hoisting competition and crafts for kids. Plus, of course, there will be beer tastings at the indoor-outdoor event.
Deathtoberfest at the Brewer’s Table
This is no ordinary Oktoberfest celebration — it’s a metal version. Live metal music will play while you participate in a stein-hoisting competition and yard games and enjoy the Brewer’s Table’s newest beer offering. The Rheinheitsgebot is a fest-ish malty lager with smoked acorn squash and tulsi basil. Enjoy it with a blood sausage special grilled on an outdoor smoker.
Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg
One of Central Texas’ small towns with a big German heritage is hosting a weekend of Oktoberfest activities. Expect to choose from an impressive number of German foods and beer to enjoy and a full schedule of live bands, including Czech & Then Some, Oma & the Oompahs, and the Czechaholics. Plus, there will be side events such as Oktubafest, the Hauptstrasse Chicken Dance and the Oktoberfest Kraut Run.
Bluebonnet Beer Co.’s 4th Annual Oktoberfest
Round Rock isn’t missing out on the Oktoberfest fun. Bluebonnet’s family-friendly celebration will have polka music, American- and German-style beers, bratwurst, soft pretzels, a Kinder Park inflatables area for the kids, contests, prizes, local craft vendors and much more. It’s only $5 for adults, free for kids. Head to the Bluebonnet website for a pre-sale admission ticket.
Three full days of Oktoberfest festivities? That’s right. Banger’s is once again hosting this celebration with free firkins of Live Oak Oaktoberfest, live German-inspired music in the beer garden, special menu items, contests like hammerschlagen and more. You can bet Banger’s will have tasty German dishes, including two sausages — schnitzel sausage and weisswurst — available during this time.
Samuel Adams Rocktoberfest
Domain Northside’s Rock Rose Avenue will transform into a full-fledged German festival complete with live music, food, beer and stein hoisting. Not sure you’ve got the strength for that competition? Try your hand at other activities including Angry Orchard Plinko, Sam Adams Ring Toss, cornhole and a brat-eating contest. Admission is free, but Rocktoberfest will be accepting donations to Austin Pets Alive.
Wurstfest in New Braunfels
This annual 10-day celebration of the city’s German heritage gives us a few days of recovery time from all the other parties. In early November, a central section of New Braunfels will transform into a mini Germany, with a marktplatz, wursthalle, biergarten and other areas where you can listen to polka tunes and drink an authentic German dunkel in a pitcher.
New Braunfels has hosted Wurstfest since 1961, and it’s — of all the Oktoberfest celebrations out there — the one you really don’t want to miss. It’s open during the week, too; go when the crowds are smaller.
We’ll update this page when more Oktoberfest events are announced. Know of one that’s missing from the list? Let us know in the comments.
RELATED STORIES:New local brewery, Lake Austin Ales, launches with the juicy IPAs we’re all craving right nowBubbly like champagne: Austin brewers clamoring to make new brut IPAOz. Tap House to open as beer garden in Northwest Austin’s River Place neighborhood