I am going to miss our usual flight of Oktoberfests. Last year, we attended Keystone Oktoberfest where Ryan walked away as the Stein Hoisting Champion. I guess he gets to keep his title for two years.
I look forward to these events with an unusual amount of excitement and love everything about Oktoberfest—the chicken dance, drinking beer from my authentic German stein, and eating a pretzel the size of my head.
Lately, in Colorado, there has been a variety of Oktoberfests to choose from but this was not always the case. Ten years ago it was tough to find any ethnic event outside of Denver Metro.
Alas, while Oktoberfests have been on the rise, this year the accordions will go quiet.
So how does one capture the spirit of Oktoberfest? I’ve thought about the topic for a while and this is what I advise.
Oktoberfest on the Road
One of the best places to celebrate Oktoberfest is in Vail. Not only does this place resemble a Bavarian hamlet, it is home to a handful of German restaurants.
Vail is a purpose-built ski resort and the fact that it resembles a village in the Alps is not a coincidence. During the 1960s, when Vail was built, the European look was popular at ski resorts around the United States. It didn’t hurt that some of the people who put Vail, Colorado on the map, Pepi Gramshammer for instance, had deep European roots.
This fall, a stay in Vail is the perfect way to Oktoberfest. Enjoy a meal at one of their German restaurants like Almrest, Pepi’s Bar & Restaurant, or the Alpenrose. Or at one of their other, European bistros such as The Left Bank or La Tour Restaurant.
For breakfast, try a Pannekoeken (Dutch Baby) at The Little Dinner, my favorite breakfast spot in Vail.
Oktoberfest at a Brewery
Breweries around Colorado are releasing their Oktoberfest beers with fanfare this year. A few have invited a food truck serving brats, pretzels, and even Wienerschnitzel sandwiches. German music will waft from the speakers and dirndls and lederhosen will be encouraged.
Check with your favorite brewery to see what they have planned.
Oktoberfest at Home
With a lack of Oktoberfests happening this year in Colorado, some of us will celebrate at home by raising a pint of German beer with a small group of friends. And with German polka easily available via Pandora or another streaming service, we’ll play Roll Out the Barrel over our speakers, making our affair feel even more authentically festive.
German food can be purchased or made for an at-home Oktoberfest. It takes just 20 days to make homemade sauerkraut in a crock, so you have time (and it is so good). Adventurous cooks can try their hand at Wienerschnitzel or Germany curry ketchup or be like us and throw brats on the grill and buy pretzels at a nearby bakery.
By the way, for readers in the Denver area, Helga’s German Restaurant and Deli sells curry ketchup. I always purchase a tub when I am there.
However you choose to safely celebrate Oktoberfest during the pandemic, I hope you do so with a big beer, a pretzel and a smile. Next year, I’ll see you at an Oktoberfest! Prost!