Fall in Austin can go beyond 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 all its lederhosen-clad glory.
Despite the name, the O.G. Oktoberfest in Munich actually begins in September, and many Austin bars and breweries follow suit with fests of their own this month. Here are all the places hosting Oktoberfest events this year, arranged in chronological order.
23rd Annual Oaktoberfest Celebration at Live Oak Brewing
Yep, the season starts this early. Head to the tucked-away brewery for an afternoon of European-style beers, food trucks and live music that will get your toes tapping. Bands, including the Austin Polka Band and the Reed Meisters, will start playing at 12:30 pm. Don't miss the Oaktoberfest brew, either. 1615 Crozier Ln.
Hi Sign Brewing Oktoberfest 2019
Hi Sign's sprawling outdoor space transforms into a Bavarian beer garden for the day. Enjoy its märzen-style lager, the Austin Polka Band performing live, and hot bratwurst by Whoa BBQ. Admission is free but doesn't guarantee glassware — a 17 oz. stein — so you may consider paying $30 for advanced VIP tickets. Not into the classic lager? Hi Sign also releases three new Garrison Brothers barrel-aged beers at the all-day event. 1201 Bastrop Hwy.
Celis Oktoberfest Party
The makers of some of the best Belgian-style beers in town also know what they're doing with German-style brews and will have two tapping at the event: a märzen and a wiesn, a lesser-known (to us) and lighter-bodied festival beer popular abroad. Additionally, you can expect Bavarian pretzels, sauerkraut, live music by the Hot Pepper and dimpled mugs (a.ka. steins). 10001 Metric Blvd.
Easy Tiger's Oktoberfest Weekend
The massive beer garden at Easy Tiger's new Linc location hosts three days of Bavarian-style fun: Friday is the kick-off with Sierra Nevada Brewing, Saturday is targeted for kids and Sunday is all about our pups. (Dogtoberfest, get it?) The bakery will offer food specials all weekend. 6406 N. Interstate 35 #1100.
Real Ale Oktoberfest
Make a day trip to this Oktoberfest event — it’ll be well worth the drive. Real Ale will bring in the Austin Polka Band and a variety of food vendors; plus, of course, there will limited glass boots to drink beer out of. It's recommended to buy the $25 advanced tickets so you can get your hands on one of the boots, as well as four full pours. At a slightly higher price, tickets will also be available at the door. 231 San Saba Ct., Blanco.
Black Sheep Lodge's 11th Annual Oktoberfest Party
Get a little competitive 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. 2108 S. Lamar Blvd.
Oktoberfest Opening Ceremony at Whitestone Brewery
With this event, featuring a stein-holding contest and live tunes, the Cedar Park Brewery is just getting started on Oktoberfest celebrations. Try the Fire Axe Amber Lager, proceeds from which will go toward the Cedar Park Firefighter Association. Whitestone's other festbier releases at the beginning of Oktober, when there will be a closing ceremony. 601 E. Whitestone Blvd. #500.
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1st Annual Oddtoberfest at Oddwood Ales
As an accordion and a piano liven up the festive vibes even more, you'll have plenty of beers to choose from — a festbier that will go in cans and three other special tappings. Plus, a limited number of half-liter mugs will be for sale at the afternoon event, and Oddwood will have German-inspired food specials. 3108 Manor Rd.
Banger's Oktoberfest 2019
The Rainey Street beer bar's favorite time of year isn't Christmas or even its August anniversary. Instead, the sausage-slinging Banger's loves Oktoberfest and will have three days of spaetzle, oompa bands and German-style beers to prove it. So slip on a dirndl or strap on some ledernhosen — any day you choose to come will provide a good time.
12 Fox Beer Co.'s Oktoberfest
One of the Austin area's most remote breweries hopes to draw you to the Hill Country for a full weekend of activities and German-inspired beers and wines. Sunday is the main event, with a whole bunch of competitive games and a live German polka band playing from 3 to 5 p.m. There will be prizes if you win. Dirndls and other outfits are optional but strongly encouraged. 4700 W. Fitzhugh Rd., Dripping Springs
Central Texas has a rich German heritage that the Austin Saengerrunde venue will celebrate for the seventh year running with this downtown festival, which in 2017 was named one of the best Oktoberfests in America by Food & Wine magazine. So it shall likely be again. The evening event will have German-style sausage, beer from mostly Texas breweries, a contest stage, bowling and live music. Tickets range from $25-$50. 1607 San Jacinto Blvd.
Oktoberfest! at St. Elmo Brewing
Think you can hoist a stein the longest? Participate in one of the two rounds (one for men, one for women) for a chance to win a prize. But that's not all. There will be polka music and a sing-along with the Czech Melody Masters and, of course, German-style beer from St. Elmo and a German-influenced menu from on-site food truck Soursop.
Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg
The polka capital of Texas hosts a weekend of Oktoberfest activities. In this small town with a big German heritage, 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.
Black Star Co-op Oktoberfest
The North Austin brewpub is going all out with Oktoberfest this year, adding more traditional German food specials (currywurst, schnitzel, etc.) and offering Black Star's Oktoberfest-style lager — a märzen — in a limited half-liter glass boot. The event runs all day. 7020 Easy Wind Dr.
Texas Beer Co. in downtown Taylor hosts an all-day Oktoberfest celebration with polka music, a stein-holding contest and a couple of related beers: the Oktaylorfest Marzen Lager and the Smoked Oktaylorfest. Fork over $20 for one of the branded one-liter steins and your first fill is on the house. There's also a German and Czech food menu.
Wurstfest in New Braunfels
Held a little later than all the rest, Wurstfest might be Central Texas' biggest celebration of Oktoberfest. In early November, a huge 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. Hosted since 1961, Wurstfest is open during the week, arguably the best time to go because the crowds will be smaller.