Oktoberfest, the worlds biggest, most inviting beer drinking festival exports its Bavarian heritage to the South Bay and beyond this October. What started as a way to celebrate the matrimony of Bavaria’s Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese in 1810 eventually grew into the carnival like atmosphere that engulfs every Oktoberfest celebration today. For whatever reason, the people of Munich were invited to this royal marriage which turned out to be a five-day raging party centered around horse racing. Soon, tradition set in and annual gatherings morphed into anniversary celebrations that held all types of activities like goose chases, an agricultural show, barrel races, and mush eating contests. By the turn of the 20th century Oktoberfest had mechanical rides, beer tents, food vendors, and live music.
In summary, think of Oktoberfest as an extension of a wild wedding party that was cross bred with the evolution of the modern fair or amusement park. Also, much of the entertainment that surrounds Oktoberfest showcases local, regional, and national Bavarian customs (i.e., horse carriages, lederhosen, wooden kegs). The one ingredient that makes everything about Okotberfest seem amazing is beer. Much of German and Bavarian culture revolves around a stein of beer or a whiff of schnapps, but there’s an engineering spirit that endures and is reflected in Germany’s beer.
Every German brewery must adhere to strict standards as beer is something that not only tastes great but also is a conduit for national pride. According to the Reinheitsgebot (established in 1516) all German beer must be brewed with the following ingredients: hops, barely, malt, yeast. Oktoberfest beer usually comes in an amber color and boasts anywhere from a 4.5% – 6.0% ABV. The official beer style of Oktoberfest is called Marzen (Marzenbier) which generally has a mild hoppy flavor and medium to high alcohol content. Only six breweries in Germany are allowed to serve this type of beer at Oktoberfest: Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, and Spaten. Other domestic breweries that make a stylish Oktoberfest beer are Samuel Adams, Beck’s, and Harpoon. Anyone of these German or Domestic Oktoberfest beers is worth a hoist (preferably in a stein).
Oktoberfest Events in the South Bay
- Alpine Village: Oktoberfest Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until October 23rd, The Alpine Village in Torrance boasts the most authentic German style Octoberfest in the South Bay. Bring your stien and listen to The Haderlumpen & Udelhoevner Dorfmusikanten Oom Pah Pah band imported directly from Germany as you flap your wings to the Chicken Dance. This year the festival pours all types of tasty craft beers like Bitburger Premium Pilsner, Warsteiner Dunkel, Stone Brewing Arrogant Bastard, Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, and much more. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online.