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Oct 08, 2008

Drink away the fall doldrums with your own Oktoberfest at some of the best beer festivals and halls.

By FLYP Staff

Find out the best places near you to make your own Oktoberfest, from schnitzel-selling pubs to street festivals that come complete with beer barrel races.

Chicago: Say “Cheers” auf Deutsch
Where: Prost! in Lincoln Park
It’s “Oktoberfest all year round” at this beer hall, named for the toast raised by German beer-guzzlers. Alongside beers like Ayinger Celebrator, Spaten Optimator and Weihenstephaner, the restaurant serves up schnitzel, sauerkraut, sausage and spätzle (a type of egg noodle in dumpling form).
Prost! imports its rustic wood tables straight from the beer heartland, and revelers drink like true Bavarians from 2-liter beer boots. Make it to a second serving, and you may be sufficiently sloshed to participate in a sing-along of traditional German music.

Birmingham: Wilkommen to ’Bama
Where: Loft District, Downtown Birmingham
Capture the chill of Central Europe in the heat of the Deep South.
Birmingham hosts its own club of the Freunde Deutscher Sprache und Kultur (that’s Friends of German Language and Culture, for the non-Berlin-o-philes among us) at 2318 2nd Avenue North on October 10 and 11. Show up for food, live music and dancing. You can also hunt for knickknacks and lederhosen at a booth run by the local alpine gift “shoppe.”
Wolfgang Moritz and Texas-based Volksmusik duo Lorelei und Schatzi will perform.

Boston: Kid-Friendly Kultur
Where: Harvard Square
Beer is just the beginning for Cambridge’s tweed-wearing elite at a streetfair on October 12.
In between touring the six stages of live entertainment, music, dance, art and performers, passersby can check out the wares at over 200 stalls run by artisans and merchants. Young parents can keep the kids happy at the “Pumpkin Patch,” which features face painting, carving, crafts, music and storytelling, while the athletically-minded can join a parade of walkers, skaters and bikers.
And those craving less responsibility or exertion can kick back at the Sam Adam’s/Grafton Street Beer Garden with a cool pint.

Tulsa: Swift with a Bier Barrel
Where: 2100 S. Jackson Avenue
We’re not sure how much Frito chili pie can actually be found on menus near the Tiergarten or Reichstag, but that didn’t stop Bon Appetit from naming Tulsa’s Oktoberfest (slated for October 16 through 19) “Best German Food” in 2005.
Those looking for a more authentic bite, fear not: kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes) and knackwurst will also be served up.
Even those who are not keen on overtaxing their tummies can have some beer-related fun. The “Bier Barrel Race” will pit teams of six against each other to see who can roll an empty keg back and forth the fastest. Honestly.

San Antonio: Singen und Tanzen in the Southwest
Where: Historic King William District
On October 10 and 11, shuffle over to Pereida Street’s Beethoven Halle und Garten, which hosts German language classes, a folk dancing troupe and one of Texas’s oldest German singing societies.
Enjoy performances from groups like the Maennerchor (translates into “men’s choir”), founded in 1867 by former San Antonio mayor August Theilepape. German wine and beer such as Bitburger, St. Pauli and Paulaner Hefe-Weizen will be served in the outdoor garden alongside bratwurst and reubens.
Suggested donation is $5, but children can kommen frei.

New York: Authenticity All Year Long
Where: Loreley, Lower East Side
Skip the monstrous lines at Astoria’s famed Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden for this small gem of a German restaurant on Rivington Street, named for a fabled slate rock in the Rhine Valley.
The food menu goes way beyond sauerkraut and sausage, offering homeland favorites such as baked Camembert with lingonberry sauce and “currywurst”—an unexpected combo of bratwurst, ketchup and curry sauce that is a popular street treat in Berlin.
The beer menu doesn’t disappoint either, with a dozen German specialties including Warsteiner Premium, Reissdorft Kölsch and Hofbräu Original (a Munich classic).

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