Like it or not, it’s time to start planning for Oktoberfest and fall beers

August 15, 2013

Today's weather has the unmistakable air of fall. As much as we'd like to pretend it isn't happening, summer is fading away. My calendar and e-mail inbox are full of Oktoberfests and seasonal pumpkin beers.

Biergarten Haus
Biergarten Haus launches its Oktoberfest celebrations with live music, dancing and beer on Sept. 21. (Photo by Evy Mages for The Washington Post)

Capitol City Brewing Company announced this morning that its 14th annual Oktoberfest block party in Shirlington will take place on Oktober – sorry, October – 5. At least 40 breweries will be in attendance, pouring samples of their beer from noon to 7 p.m. Admission is $25, which includes 10 beer tickets. (Additional tickets are $1 each.) Designated drivers, children and anyone else who wants to enjoy the food and oompah music without imbibing gets in for free.

Perhaps even bigger than the Cap City Oktoberfest is Snallygaster, the craft beer Oktoberfest organized by ChurchKey/Rustico/Bluejacket supremo Greg Engert. This year's event, held on Oct. 19, is moving from Yards Park to the parking lot of Union Market. Expect 150 brews on tap from all over the world. Advance tickets are $30, which includes 25 beer tickets and a souvenir mug. (If you want to get in an hour earlier, VIP tickets are $50, which includes 30 tickets and admission at noon instead of 1.) Each beer will cost between five and nine tickets, and additional tickets are $1 each. A portion of proceeds benefits the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture.

Biergarten Haus will launch its celebrations during the H Street Festival on Sept. 21, the same day the party kicks off in Munich. With luck, that will be the date everyone gets their first look at the beer garden's new outdoor bar. The owners are converting a garage, located behind the neighboring H Street Coffeehouse, into a two-level space for drinking and dining.

The Heurich House is hosting its Oktoberfest on Saturday, Sept. 21, with tables set up in the museum's beautiful "secret garden." Details are still being worked out, but it should be an afternoon affair with unlimited local beer, with German food catered by Cafe Berlin.

In seasonal beer news, Gaithersburg's Dogfish Head Alehouse is celebrating the "End of Summer Weekend" from Friday, August 23 to Sunday, August 25. Since you shouldn't drink pumpkin beer in the summer, they're tapping the brewery's famous Punkin Ale at 11 a.m. on Saturday, and continuing the all-day party with a pig roast and games, including corn hole, on the patio. On Sunday night, anyone who orders food takes home a Punkin pint glass.

Plenty of breweries are using DC Beer Week as an excuse to launch fall beers. Tonight, for example, Schlafly's Pumpkin Ale will be at Scion as part of the St. Louis Brewery's tap takeover; pints of Yuengling's brand new Oktoberfest will be $3 until 10 p.m. at the Laughing Man Tavern; and Lancaster Brewing's Fest Beer will be served on the patio at Farmers Fishers Bakers. Lost Rhino, which unveiled its seasonal Rhinofest at the brewery last week, will serve it at Meridian Pint on Friday. Great Lakes will tap its Oktoberfest during an all-Great Lakes brunch at Scion on Saturday.

Fritz Hahn has written about bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes. A product of Prince George's County public schools, Fritz majored in journalism at the University of Maryland and lives in the District.
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