Oktoberfest — the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Looking forward to all of the RI beer festivals this season? Pete’s got you covered

Oktoberfest season is upon us, and I don’t just mean that Sam Adams has released their much-loved, if incorrectly spelled, Octoberfest fall seasonal. The kids are going back to school, the temperature is dropping, the leaves are beginning to turn, and if my hop plant is any indication, it’s time to stop trying to be a gardener because I clearly don’t have the knack.

For those who don’t know, and I’m sure there are those of you who don’t know because there are people who think Einstein invented the light bulb, Oktoberfest is a celebration that began in Germany in 1810.

Back in the days when monarchies were still relevant, Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen (don’t ask me to pronounce that). That’s right, Oktoberfest is a wedding party! Over the years, the date has been shifted a bit, but at present, Oktoberfest begins at the end of September and lasts until about mid-October.

Where the beer comes in: A special style of beer was brewed for the event. A new style, called a Märzen Lager, AKA Märzenbier, AKA March beer. The obvious question is, “Why is it called a March beer if the festival is in October?” Well smarty-pants, because it’s brewed in March and allowed to ferment and age until it’s ready to drink in October. The Germans were big on that, seeing as how they invented the lagering process in the first place. It became a tradition to hold the festival every year, and thusly it became tradition to brew the same beer over and over again to keep the 16-day festival well-fueled.

See? I bet you learned something today. Use your newfound knowledge to impress your friends on your next outing, provided you learn how to pronounce Saxe-Hildburghausen.

And if you can’t, well … enjoy the beer and girls in dirndls.

While we’re on the subject of beer festivals, here are a few upcoming events to look out for.

September 7: Narragansett Beer’s Neighbor Days Block Party at Luongo Square in Providence – Neighbor Days Block Party and Bohemian Pilsner launch between The Avery and The E&O Tap. There will be live music on two stages, food trucks, local vendors, plus a beard and moustache competition. Not sure what to say about that last thing.

September 27: First Annual Beer Tasting at the Paine House Museum in Coventry – Enjoy history while enjoying beer and raising money for a good cause. Rhode Island’s best resident brews will be there, so you should be, too.

October 4: Sun Brewfest at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT – Live music, games, brunch, plus more than a hundred brews and a commemorative pilsner glass.

October 12-13: International Oktoberfest at the Newport Yachting Center – This yearly celebration includes both local and international brews, as well as traditional German music, food, and hopefully, some cultural education.

October 13: Second Annual Battleship Brewfest at Battleship Cove in Fall River – Enjoy both history and libations as you watch the flag wave from the USS Massachusetts. Dozens of breweries with their best fare will be there – all for a good cause.

October 18: Beervana at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston – The big one! This is the beer event that dominates our tiny little state. Every craft beer nerd’s dream!

Want more? Stay tuned for Motif’s Beer Guide this October!

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