Oktoberfest, the annual two-week Bavarian folk festival that draws visitors from around the world, was canceled this year, for the first time since World War II. Amid mounting global coronavirus cases in April, German officials deemed the Munich beer tents, oompah concerts and food stalls too risky to go on — and many U.S. versions of the event followed suit.
But smaller festivals, breweries and even tour companies have had ample time since then to plot a socially distant kind of revelry.
Because Oktoberfest was originally scheduled for Sept. 19 through Oct. 4, now is the perfect time to celebrate. So try these U.S.-based pretzel kits, recipes, live streams and more for a spirited way to hoist your stein at home.
If you want to enjoy soft pretzels and bratwurst without having to cook, some Oktoberfest-at-home kits can bring them to your door.
The Eastern Standard Provisions Oktoberfest party pack offers soft pretzels, craft mustard and Oktoberfest stickers, and many breweries are offering similar add-ons when you buy beer. (More on that below.)
Meanwhile, to celebrate its Oktoberfest ale, Austin-based Lone Star Brewing is giving away five “beer garden in a box” deliveries. The winners will get everything they need to plan an Oktoberfest celebration in their own backyard, including beer-garden decor, pretzel- and cocktail-making video guides, recipe ingredients, and everything needed to play the German drinking game flunkyball.
Beer pick-ups and virtual tastings
For beer lovers, there are a number of limited-time seasonal brews on offer, some coming with other goodies.
With its Oktoberfest stein kit, the Open Bottle in Chicago is offering 32 ounces of Revolution Brewing’s seasonal beer, along with two traditional stoneware mugs designed for the occasion. Giant Jones Brewing Company in Madison, Wis., is offering German Fest kits for a DIY Oktoberfest, complete with a 6-pack of beer as well as bratwurst, beer mustard and sauerkraut.
For a compelling virtual tasting experience, Devil’s Backbone brewery in Virginia is offering Oktoberfest tasting-note video guides — led by a cellarman in lederhosen, no less. All you’ll have to do first is pick up the seasonal bottles at your local store and, according to the brewery, wear a pretzel necklace for optimal tasting.
Oktoberfest is a great excuse to have fun in the kitchen. Try frying up your own crispy schnitzel or fermenting cabbage for sauerkraut to pair with some traditionally cooked sausages.
Voraciously, from The Washington Post, has five beer-friendly options here that bring home the fall festivities of Munich.
Stream the largest Oktoberfest in the U.S.
While the world’s largest Oktoberfest is off, the largest in the United States will still hold some activities in person and virtually through Sunday.
Cincinnati’s Oktoberfest Zinzinnati will be live-streaming musical performances nightly and holding the world’s largest Oktoberfest prost, or cheers, on Saturday. (It already held the world’s largest chicken dance last weekend.) There’s also a dachshund photo competition running until Sunday, in lieu of Zinzinnati’s annual “Running of the Wieners.”
Take a virtual Munich tour with a local guide
If you want to learn more about the world’s largest fall festival, travel provider EF Go Ahead Tours recently launched a line of fully remote “Online Escapes,” starting with a live Oktoberfest experience offered through Oct. 4.
The one-hour interactive “tour” is led by a seasoned Oktoberfest guide and covers the event’s history, as well as traditional songs, food, costumes and relevant customs. Among them? How to prost and the right way to eat a traditional German sausage.