Let me start off by admitting something. I am the product of three Irish grandparents and one German one. So March 17 of every year is a very happy time for me. People from every culture and background put aside their differences and congregate in green to celebrate...well, let's be honest: drinking.
Now again, on this day I revel in the fact that I get to wear a pin that says "Kiss Me, I'm Irish -- No Really" instead of "Irish for a Day." But I have to admit that I've always felt it should be this way for ALL cultures! Here in Pittsburgh, St. Patty's day is the most widely celebrated drinking holiday aside from Steeler Sundays. However, throughout the world, Oktoberfest is the most heavily attended celebration of it's kind without question. I'm told by Beth at Hofbruhaus that 22% of the local population is of German decent. And to that I say: WHERE IS YOUR PRIDE, PEOPLE?
With this principal in mind, I am proud to post the Oktoberfest events across the city of Pittsburgh.
Traditionally, Oktoberfest is a 16-day festival with roots in Munich, Bavaria Germany. Essentially, it began 200 years ago as a wedding celebration marking the reunification of Germany, so naturally it's largely based around drinking.
I've done the research. From what I can tell, authentic German restaurants in our region are few and far between. So while your choices are limited, it simply means you don't have to do as much thinking when planning your Oktoberfestivities.
Dates/Times: September 17-19 and 24-26, 5 p.m. to midnight (4-10 p.m. on Sunday)
Specials: Penn Brewery is the closest you'll get aside from a $2,200 ticket to Munich itself, so the award winning Münchener/Bavarian Oktoberfest brew (4.5% alcohol) that they serve is special in it's own right.
Food: Their deliciously authentic German menu will be available as always.
Entertainment: Heimat Klang, Autobahn Band, Kevin Solecki, and a very special new local group, Gaudi Buam, (translated literally from Bavarian, "fun young men") will be performing in the restaurant throughout the course of the celebration.
Come find me: I will be there checking things out on Sunday the 26th!
Dates/Times: Friday October 8, 6-11 p.m. and Saturday October 9, 10 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Specials: Free admission. Free and plentiful parking. Sam Adams Oktoberfest and 13 other import and craft beers on tap. Imports not your thing? Choose from their unprecedented selection of bottled beers!
Food: B&H famous Brats & Kraut will be bringing the culture home while South Pittsburgh's (in)famous Rowdy BBQ will be cooking up their famous pulled pork and chicken.
Drink for a Cause: A portion of procedes to benefit Huntingtons disease research.
Entertainment: Hen House Roosters will crow and croon followed by the Billy Oats Band.
Come find me: Sadly, you won't. I'll be out of town enjoying the farm-fresh goodness of Bob Evans Farm Festival that weekend but I encourage those who can't make the trip to Rio Grande, OH to celebrate with Ray and Jeff at Barley's & Hop's!
Dates/Times: Sept. 17-18 and Sept. 24-25
Specials: Things kicked off today (sorry, we missed it together) with a ribbon cutting a 7 p.m. where a larger than life 60-foot-tall work of art in the form of the traditional Bavarian Maibaum was revealed outside restaurant doors. Go check it (and their delicious, house brewed German biers) out this week!
Food: These guys do right by German cuisine. Their menu stays true to the German palate and I personally suggest the pretzels and bier cheese. But outside, under the tents they're offering meals of brats and kraut, pulled pork sandwiches and an array of German inspired desserts.
Entertainment: Tons. Check out the line up on their website.
Come find me: I'll be there Friday night singing on tables, doing shotskis and enjoying kraut by the barrel.
Dates/Times: Sept. 17-19
Specials: Continuously ranked one of the nations top 10 Oktoberfest celebrations by aol.com.
Food: One block is devoted to German cuisine and beer along with a variety of American and ethnic foods and the Vendor Concourse.
Entertainment: An outstanding array of both authentic German music mixed with a little much needed rock n' roll, the streets of Canonsburg will certainly be jammin'. You can find the full list on their site, but this event is family friendly as well. Bring your kids and let them enjoy the amusement rides, face painting and games while you enjoy the bites and brews.
Come find me: I'll be at the street stage and in the beer garden on Sunday the 19th.
For more details: Follow Washington County on Twitter
Venue: PUMPtoberfest at the Pittsburgh Opera
Location: 2524 Liberty Avenue, in the Strip District
Date/time: October 8, 7 p.m. - MidnightDetails: PUMP is celebrating their 15th straight year of striving to make Pittsburgh a more dynamic and diverse place to live and what better way to do it than with an Oktoberfest themed party?! German beers will be flowing and a Root Beer garden will be available for anyone who wants to experience the fun without the hangover. Prices include admission, food and beverages and, dependent upon cost point, a one-year PUMP membership. There is a special discount for designated drivers. Anyone who purchases a ticket will receive a code good for $5 off admission to their 40 under 40 party. Admission + Investor Membership*: $120
Current PUMP Partners/Investors: $25
Designated Driver: $15
*Includes One Year PUMP Membership
Entertainment: TBD but they're working hard on booking a German band!For more details: Follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook
Oktoberfest one of the largest fairs and events in the ENTIRE WORLD. So why shouldn't it be widely celebrated in Pittsburgh?! Let's get to work. So yinz should don the yellow, red and black and develop a taste for heavy hops and kraut. It's time for Oktoberfest!
If you know of another celebration or I missed yours, please e-mail me at tasteofpittsburghblog (at) gmail (dot) com.