Welcome to the world’s largest beer festival, which kicked off Saturday in Germany. Oktoberfest is celebrated by more than 6 million guests from around the world all descending on Munich. Not a dry mouth among them as more beer is consumed during Oktoberfest than any other day of the year.
So what is Oktoberfest all about?
Initially intended as a celebration to commemorate a royal wedding, the German tradition of Oktoberfest began in 1810, according to Munich’s official website, muenchen.de.
The festival has since been adopted in places near and far from its Bavarian home, evolving into a holiday celebrating all things German—especially the brewing of märzen, the traditional Oktoberfest beer.
This year’s merriment lasts 16 days and begins September 22, according to oktoberfest.de. Although Las Vegas is nine time zones away from the official celebration, many venues around the city will be tapping their Oktoberfest beers and putting on events during the lengthy fest (which ends October 7) and throughout the month of October.
So, what are you waiting for? Head to one of these local venues and get your prost on!
Hofbräuhaus (4510 Paradise Rd., 853-2337) Celebrate in true Bavarian style here, as the Hof’s local outpost is a direct replication of its sister location in Munich. The lively beer house kicks off the holiday with two Oktoberfest keg tapping parties this weekend—with Michael Grimm of America’s Got Talent (and Weeklycover) fame and the R-J’s Norm Clarke playing host on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Still not sold? The two parties also boast stein-holding contests (8 & 11 p.m.) and traditional German music from Die Alpenlauser. Keg tapping parties: September 21-22, 7 p.m., free entry.
Freakin’ Frog (4700 S. Maryland Pkwy., 217-6794) The watering hole is known for its diverse and impressive beer selection, and it’s backing up that reputation with special Oktoberfest offerings. Owner Adam Carmer ensures the bar has the biggest selection of celebratory beers in town: 15 fest beers and 5 Oktoberfest beers. Patrons are in for a special treat on October 1, when the venue taps a cask of Hofstettner Hochzeitsbier von 1810, which Carmer says is the only wooden cask of Oktoberfest beer in the state.
Gordon Biersch (3987 Paradise Road, 312-5247) The California-based brewery’s two local outposts celebrate with seasonal Festbier, available now through October 21. In addition, Biersch’s version of the traditional märzen will be on tap, as well as its two other German-style beers: hefeweizen and schwarzbier.
DOG-Tober Beer Fest & Brat Party at Big Dog’s Draft House (4543 N. Rancho Dr., 645-1404) The local brewery’s annual fest features more than 125 regional and international beers, as well as the tapping of Big Dog’s Chocolate Lab Porter and Lake Mead Monster Double Red (though if you’re looking for something more traditional, the Oktoberfest brew will also be on draught). Enjoy live music from Vegas Rock Xperience (6 p.m.) and Okay Jim (9 p.m.) or attempt to score one of the event’s many raffle prizes (everything from growlers and beer parties to an electric guitar). And patrons will be partying for a cause, as $1 of each Chocolate Lab pint sold (and donations) benefit the Patrick Kelley Youth Foundation.Saturday, October 6, 2-9 p.m., free.
Wurst-Fest (Boulder City) The Boulder City Sunrise Rotary Club presents its annual fundraising bash, where proceeds benefit Boulder City High School’s senior grad party. Wash down your brats with a festive beer, as Boulder Dam Brewing (453 Nevada Hwy., 243-2739) taps its märzen that night. Silent and live auctions, live music and a car show complete the philanthropic event. September 29, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
Oktoberfest Pool Party at The Golden Nugget (129 E. Fremont St., 866-946-5336) The belated Oktoberfest celebration completes the Downtown hotel’s third annual Fall Beer Fest. Beer enthusiasts can sip and sample a bevy of brews poolside, as the event features more than 200 domestic and international varieties. The Paulaner-sponsored party also features Oktoberfest fare and a traditional German music band. October 20, 3-9 p.m., free.
Tenaya Creek (3101 N. Tenaya Way, 362-7335) The local brewery’s Oktoberfest Lager is now available to try on tap at its brewpub or to take home (22-ounce bottles, $6). At press time we were told it should last through the month of October.
Barley’s Brewery & Casino (4500 E. Sunset Road, 458-2739) If you don’t get around to celebrating in time, don’t worry. The Henderson brewery’s Red Rock Oktoberfest beer is available year-round.
While the core of the Oktoberfest has remained the same, with Dirndl-clad waitresses delivering steins, its flavor has evolved over the years. A local festival with small beer gardens has mushroomed into a major international event featuring about a dozen cavernous beer tents, some seating about 10,000 singing, inebriated revelers at a time.