Deep Fried Diaries

The insider's scoop on food, travel & southern culture

Oktoberfest (celebrating remotely)

Too bad we’re not a little closer to Munich, huh?

We could be smack dab in the middle of the 179th Annual Oktoberfest, drinking ourselves into one of those famous “beer corpses.” The acclaimed German beer festival is now in it’s second week, and it’s shattering records for beer consumption. At the halfway point last weekend, the tally was the highest it’s ever been at 3.6 million liters — well on track to reaching last year’s all-time record of 7.5 million liters.

But beer consumption isn’t the only benchmark Oktoberfest is surpassing this year. According to Spiegel Online, there’s been a record number of “assaults by beer glass,” not to mention a significant increase in the number of lost children handed over to authorities. I’m sure their parents are looking for them, too…

On second thought, perhaps I’ll just enjoy Oktoberfest from afar. Lucky for me, Washington, DC, puts quite a bit at our finger tips.

Picture from Oktoberfest Reston website

While the real Oktoberfest lasts for a little over two weeks, the U.S. tends to celebrate from late September throughout the month of October. I’d like to think of us as smart, running a beer marathon instead of the Munich sprint. A little background: Oktoberfest was first celebrated in honor of a royal wedding. So I guess that makes it the longest wedding reception ever.

You may not have known that Reston has a its own little Ocktoberfest celebration — Northern Virginia’s largest festival at the Reston Town Center. Oktoberfest Reston kicks off this weekend, Oct. 5-7. Partake in Oktoberfest beer, food and a 5K run — although maybe not all at once. The Low’n’Borws German Band and the Alpine Dancers will be among the traditional music and entertainment on the main stage this weekend. Take a glance at the weekend’s schedule of events.

Greg Engert, photo from Saratoga.com

Snallygaster Beer Festival is the following weekend (Saturday, Oct. 13) at Yards Park. Go ahead and guess what a “snallygaster” is…

Beer DC defined it for us as “a mythical dragon-like beast said to inhabit the Blue Ridge Mountains in Maryland.” I talked to beer director Greg Engert about how that ties into Oktoberfest and how he went about selecting the 155 different craft beers they’ll have this year:

“We’ve held this festival for the last five years, and it’s really evolved into something much broader. We’ll have the same great variety of Oktoberfest ales, pumpkin ales and seasonal hop harvest ales, then of course the best of the German-style beers. I also selected some American craft brewers to make sure we have something for every palate. So then we needed a name — something with regional significance, something memorable — and something that would represent this monster festival, monster beer list and monster undertaking: Snallygaster”

Both Oktoberfest Reston and the Snallygaster Beer Festival are family friendly.

The Biergarten Haus on H Street NE has 13 imported Oktoberfest brews and live German music every Friday and Saturday throughout the month of October. I can’t imagine anything better than Oktoberfest on a rooftop in this beautiful fall weather. But who says you have to celebrate Oktoberfest with the Germans? Up the road, Brasserie Beck has the best of the Belgian imports. If you head west on K Street, District Commons has 99 beers on the wall, so you can get creative — sample brews from all over. It’s all about the Oktoberfest spirit of good beer and good company.

Still a little bummed that you couldn’t make it to Munich?

Well the official Oktoberfest runs a constant live video stream of the festival on its website. Perhaps you could pour a Pilsner or a Hefeweizen and tune in… It’ll be just like the real thing, without the beer stench and airfare! Then go ahead and drink yourself merry, knowing your kids are tucked safely in their beds.

For a list of more celebrations, check out the Washington Post rundown of Oktoberfest in DC.

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