Linda Johnson is a BUZZ Contributing Writer (beer!) and founder of the beer and travel website, BrewNymph.com, covering all things Florida beer from news to events. She is the first female Level 2 Certified Cicerone® in the Jax area, one of six in the metro area, and the only Level 2-certified independent beer writer in the state.
The 184th Oktoberfest officially began in Munich on Saturday, September 16, when Mayor Dieter Reiter tapped the keg of Oktoberfest beer and proclaimed “O’zapft is!” (“it is tapped”). The festivities will continue in Munich through October 3. The annual Oktoberfest tradition dates back to 1810 when King Maximilian Joseph threw a huge bash to celebrate the marriage of his son, Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese. The King offered free beer and food to the locals during the initial two-day fest. “Oktoberfest” is a protected name in Germany, and only certain breweries are allowed to use the name there. Oktoberfest is about the history, the party, and the seasonal beer! There are two styles of beer brewed for the occasion: the traditional Oktoberfest Marzen ( malty, amber-color lager) and the Festbier (a lighter golden lager). Take a look at the history of Oktoberfest and the descriptions of the beer styles here.
Of course, Oktoberfest is popular in the U.S., too, with many celebrations taking place: complete with special beer tappings, German food, Oktoberfest games, and, that foot-tapping Oompah music! To fully participate, be sure to get your lederhosen and dirndls, or at least a Bavarian hat! A number of Oktoberfest parties are planned around the Jax area through mid-October. It’s time again for the friendly Gemutlichkeit spirit, and get ready to sing “Ein Prosit” with that cheerful chorus of “Eins, Zwei, Drei, G’Suffa,” while hoisting your beer at one or more of these Oktoberfest events at local breweries.
September 19: Oktoberfest Tapping Party (6pm), at Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery, 9725 Gate Parkway. Oktoberfest beer $3. Seven Bridges is donating 15% of sales to Pit Sisters animal rescue. Games, raffles, music by Sidewalk 65. (Cover photo from Oktoberfest 2016)
September 23: Oktoberfest (12pm-6pm) at Intuition Ale Works, 929 East Bay Street. Tickets: $10, includes 20-ounce plastic mug with first beer, pretzel ticket. Sausage Paradise Food Truck, Community Loaves pretzels. Oktoberfest games, crowning of King and Queen. Polka and dance music.
September 23: Oktoberfest (11am-11pm) at Wicked Barley Brewing, 4100 Baymeadows Rd. Prizes for best Oktoberfest costumes. Oktoberfest games on the hour between 2-6pm. German food specials. Over 10 German styles of beer. Also: VIP ticket option ($75), including all-you-can-drink beer, one meal ticket, keepsake stein, private bar.
September 29-30: Oktoberfest and the Haunted Brewery, at Budweiser Jacksonville, 111 Busch Drive. Friday at 3pm; Saturday, 11am-11pm. Oktoberfest games, beer garden, live music, wiener dog races, Scarecrow Paintball, Clowns, Putt N Crawl. Kicks off the Haunted Brewery with Zombies and Zombie Hunt through October. See http://www.thehauntedbrewery.com or http://www.oktoberfestjacksonville.com for more.
September 30: Oktoberfest (1pm) at Engine 15 Brewing, Downtown, 633 N. Myrtle Ave. All-day family fun, with activities. Das Oktoberfest traditional lager. German food, live German music. Bounce house, balloon artist. Feats of Strength Oktoberfest games. Chicken Bingo. Purchase the liter stein and get refills all month for $8 (Oktoberfest Lager, J’Ville Lager, 904 Weiss Guy).
September 30: Oktoberfest (12pm) at Atlantic Beach Brewing, 725 Atlantic Blvd., Atlantic Beach. Release of Oktoberfest beer. Party on the new patio. Music, German food, Stein-holding competition, cornhole tourney, family fun games.
October 7: Oktoberfest (11am) at Engine 15 Brewing, Jax Beach, 1500 Beach Blvd. Giant Cinotti’s pretzels. German music. Special food menu. Oktoberfest Lager. Feats of Strength Oktoberfest games. Chicken Bingo. Purchase the liter stein and get refills all month for $8 (Oktoberfest Lager, J’Ville Lager, 904 Weiss Guy).
October 7: Oktoberfest (12pm) at Green Room Brewing, 228 Third Street North, Jax Beach. Features Oktoberfest Lager and additional tappings.
Linda Johnson, Certified Cicerone®
(all photos by Linda Johnson)