Weekend of Sept. 20-22
The District’s largest German-style beer garden kicks off its Oktoberfest celebrations Sept. 21, the same day the festival in Munich gets underway. Take your pick of nine draft Oktoberfest beers from Germany, served in giant one-liter masskrug mugs, while partaking of an outdoor barbecue and enjoying a German music performance. This date is also penciled in for the debut of Biergarten Haus’s new bar, the Ratskeller, which will open in a converted garage next to the back patio.
As fate would have it, that Saturday coincides with the insanely popular H Street Festival, which means you should brace for long lines to get your beer and pork. If you’d rather not fight the crowds for a seat at a table under the chestnut trees or at an upended barrel for two on the rooftop deck, there will be more celebrations — complete with pig roast and live music — every weekend through the end of October. Remember: There’s never a cover during Oktoberfest, but you can make reservations only for groups of 15 or more.
Sept. 21 from 11 to 3 a.m. 1355 H St. NE. 202-388-4085. www.biergartenhaus.com.
The Old Stein Inn
The Old Stein Inn is a survivor. The Edgewater restaurant and pub was almost destroyed by a December 2010 fire, but after $900,000 in renovations, it looks better than ever, just in time for its 30th anniversary. Expect entertainment every weekend through the end of October in the split-level beer garden, including strolling accordion players (Sept. 21 from 5 to 9 p.m.), music with alphorns and cowbells (Sept. 22 from 4 to 8 p.m.), and straight-up polka (Sept. 20 from 6 to 10 p.m.). Make reservations and come hungry: The pork shank and schnitzel are worth the trip.
On Oct. 4, the Old Stein is hosting an alphorn blowing contest on the patio during a performance by the Heidi und Heimut Echo Band, giving audience members a chance to try the enormous wooden instrument. Then on Oct. 6, the beer garden will host Spanferkel-Fest, with a pig going on the spit to roast at noon and music from Mike and the Continentals at 4 p.m. Reservations are strongly suggested.
1143 Central Ave., Edgewater. 410-798-6807. www.oldstein-inn.com.
Heurich House Oktoberfest
The Heurich House Museum has become a regular site for beer-related events this year, honoring the legacy of former owner Christian Heurich, the German immigrant who became Washington’s biggest brewer.
At the museum’s Oktoberfest, held in the pretty Victorian garden behind the Dupont Circle mansion, guests can sample five beers from Baltimore’s Heavy Seas Brewery, including the Cutlass Amber, a German-style Maerzen; the Great’er Pumpkin ale; and the seasonal AARGHtoberfest. A polka band provides the music while Cafe Berlin supplies sausages, pretzels and other Oktoberfest treats.