Monday, September 19, 2011

Oktoberfest – The Best of the Würst!

Well, the weather is finally cooling down and October is upon us. Buckets full of candy for the kids in costume, and buckets full of beer for the adults in costume. That means that it’s Halloween time here in the U.S., but in Germany, they’re holding the biggest party in the world, Oktoberfest!

Texas has a rich German culture and heritage; in fact Germans comprise the third biggest ethnic demographic in the state! The first permanent Germanic settlement in Texas was established in the early 1830s by Friedrich Ernst and Charles Fordtran, in Austin County.

Many of the German settlements such as New Braunfels, Fredericksburg, Kerrville, Luckenbach, Schulenburg, Weimar, and Deutschburg had distinctive architecture, customs, food, religion, and politics. The residents spoke with a strong German patois and drank Texas-German beers like Pearl (Pearl Brewing Co.) and Shiner (Spoetzl Brewery).
Oktoberfest is a 16 to 18 day party held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, that runs from late September to the first weekend in October. More than 6 million people attend annually and it’s been an important part of Bavarian culture since 1810.
Only beer brewed within Munich city limits is allowed to be served, and Oktoberfest Beer is a registered Trademark of the Club of Munich Brewers, which includes Augustinerbräu -Hacker-Pschorr Bräu, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulanerbräu, and Spatenbräu.
Before refrigeration was available, it was nearly impossible to brew beer in the summer months due to the inherently hot Texas weather, so the brewing season ended at the beginning of Spring, and began in the Fall. Most of the brewing was done in March (Märzen), which is where the Oktoberfest beers got their name. Märzenbier is full-bodied, and has a spicy, rich, maltiness, and a typically dark-copper color, with a medium to high alcohol content (roughly 4.0-7.0%). The beer was stored in caves or below ground before the summer weather hit. Stocks would be drunk during the summer months, and finally exhausted in October.
Over 7 million liters of beer are served during Oktoberfest and visitors enjoy a wide variety of traditional Bavarian fare such as Schweinebraten (roast pork), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würstl (sausages), Brezn (Pretzels), Sauerkraut, and much more.
Munich’s Oktoberfest covers 103.78 acres, the festival halls seat approximately 100,000people, over 7,100,000 liters of beer, 89,259 liters of wine, and 37,733 liters of sparkling wine are served, and there are about 980 seated toilets and more than 2,880 feet of urinal troughs for the patrons. Now that’s one “gross (“huge” in German) party!

I went to S.W.T.S.U. in San Marcos, and one of the most anticipated events of our collegiate year was Würstfest in New Braunfels, an Oktoberfest of sorts. At Würstfest we could consume copious quantities of beer and sausage-on-a-stick, there was plenty of dirndl and lederhosen-clad eye-candy, and the chicken dance played every 30 minutes or so! This year’s Würstfest is being held from November 4th through the 13th and promises to be the biggest in the event’s history.
Here are some DFW area locations that embrace Oktoberfest, so throw on your best lederhosen or dirndl, slam some sauerbraten and sauerkraut, make the best of some würst, mug down on massive Märzens, and enjoy these establishments throughout the month of October (and for the rest of the year for that matter).

Kuby's Sausage House Inc. - 6601 Snider Plaza, Dallas TX 75205 (214) 363-2231

Kuby’s has been serving great German food and making incredible sausage in Dallas since 1961. This is an authentic top-notch establishment!

Henk's European Deli and Black Forest Bakery - 5811 Blackwell St., Dallas TX 75231 (214) 987-9090 – This little gem has been tucked away behind the Half-Price Books on N.W. Hwy. for as long as I can remember. My mother used to love to get their Black Forest cakes for her birthday.

Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant - 8060 Park Ln. # 125, Dallas TX 75231 (214) 369-2739 – This brewpub gives a nod to German heritage and brews up a fine Märzen on site. They have a German themed menu for the occasion as well. Great staff here!

Bavarian Grill - 221 W. Parker Rd., Plano TX 75023 (972) 881-0705

This is the closest thing to a German Beer Garden in the Metroplex. Buxom barmaids heft their huge… mugs of beer. These girls really know how to handle sausage!

Everything’s German – 2816 Brown Trail, Bedford TX 76021 (682) 503-7991 – Although not a bar, E.G. will let you bring in your own beer (or whatever) and will pour it into some frosty mugs for you, while you sample their fairly authentic Bavarian cuisine.

Greenwood’s German - 3522 Bluebonnet Circle, Ft. Worth TX 76109 (817) 921-6777 – Reasonably priced German beers and a well executed German/European menu make this an easy choice in Ft. Worth.

Bavarian Bakery and Café - 3000 S.E. Loop 820, Ft. Worth TX 76140 (817) 551-1150 – A nice sausage plate, a good beer selection, and great pastries. They do charge to split a plate, but the prices are very reasonable for a German restaurant.

Gerhard’s – 301 S. Oak St., Roanoke TX 76262 (817) 491-0300 – Small beer list, but Mushroom Brie Soup and Apple Slaw… ‘nuff said! They’re having an Oktoberfest party with live music from Brave Combo and others October 20th through the 23rd.


By the time this issue of Lit hits the stands, Addison’s Oktoberfest (September 15 – 18) will have come and gone, but I heartily encourage you to get out and try some of the Oktoberfest beers offered by many of our local brewhauses and pubs, or head down to New Braunfels for a taste of Würstfest if you’ve got the yearning to down some beer, strap on some leather britches, and shove some sausages down your throat.

Michele Bachmann

Good night folks! Try the Schnitzel. I’ll be here all month!