- Created on 06 October 2011
Most of the beer served at Oktoberfest is of the Märzen variety but Dunkel, Vienna, Pilsner, and Hefeweizen styles are also prevalent. Fortunately, most of these styles are widely available in the U.S. to buy or brew. Many breweries in the U.S. also brew their own interpretations of these styles. Spaten, Ayinger, Bells, Flying Dog, Weihenstephan, Flensburger, and Shiner all brew different versions of these styles. Be sure to check out Mr.Beer’s Octoberfest Vienna Lager, Otto’s Octoberfest, German Alt Dunkel, Grand Bohemian Czech Pilsner, and German Hefeweizen recipes. A fun idea for your party would be to have a beer tasting. You could get some special glasses and taste a variety of German and homebrew beers! Pairing the beer with the correct glass will really bring out the nuances of the style. For Märzen, Pilsner, Vienna, and Dunkel styles a Pilsner glass is the correct vessel. If you are feeling festive (you probably are!), a stein or boot can also be used. For a tasty hefeweizen, nothing beats a Weizenbeer glass. If you are using a keg, be sure to start your party by yelling “O' zapft is!” (It’s tapped!)
So now you know what kind of beer to serve at your own Oktoberfest. But there is more to a good party than just beer. To set the mood, you will need some good decorations. Some festive checkered Bavarian tablecloths and streamers, a few German flags, and a couple of picnic tables and you will be all set. Try to make the party an outdoor one if possible.
After the decorations are set, you need music. I suggest a nice mix of polka. Food is next. There are plenty of easy recipes on the internet for things like spaetzle, pretzels, and bratwurst. You can make this as complex or easy as you like. Bratwurst, sauerkraut, and pretzels are available at any supermarket. Or you could go for the gusto and make your own. It’s up to you! Just make sure you have plenty so your guests don’t pass out and turn into Bierleichen (beer corpses)!
A good theme party is nothing without costumes. Fortunately, Halloween is just around the corner so if you do decide to buy or make a costume, you can reuse it in a few weeks! In a pinch, guys can make their own lederhosen with a pair of brown shorts, some suspenders and a piece of brown cloth to link them in the middle. Wear a short sleeve dress shirt underneath, put on some high white socks and a fedora or alpine hat and you are all set. For the ladies, a classic outfit can be made starting with a white summer dress or a blouse and skirt. You can take an old brown or tan t shirt and cut it to make sort of low cut tank top vest (look at some classic outfits for inspiration). Then cut some slits in the front and tie it together with some red ribbon. You can wear this over the white dress or blouse. Put your hair in some pig tails, and put on some tall white socks and you are ready to go.
You now have all the components for a great Oktoberfest themed party! It can be done cheaply and will be a lot of fun. So have fun and enjoy this wonderful time of year! Prost!