You don’t have to travel to Munich to fully celebrate Oktoberfest. You can do it from the comfort of your home with family and friends of all ages. Check out fun ways to celebrate with kids and grown-ups, learn about some of the traditional German foods served at the festival in Munich, follow our advice on which Oktoberfest beers to pair with them, then find everything you need for your celebration at a Giant Eagle or Market District near you.
Oktoberfest Fun for Kids
Combining crafts and food is a great way to entertain and educate kids about Oktoberfest and German culture. With a little string and some pretzels, they can make fun pretzel necklaces and snack at the same time. They’ll also love lebkuchenherz, or gingerbread cookies shaped like hearts. Let the kids help bake them and sting them up like necklaces, too. Or, just decorate, eat, and enjoy. You can also teach them a few German words to use throughout the day like prost, bitte, and denke. And, let German music be the soundtrack to all your activities.
And, of Course, the Adults
Adults also love the combination of food and craft (beer). We always have a bevy of Bavarian beers to choose from. In fact, the selection and variety of flavors grows every year. But, if a classic “festivalbier” is your goal, you can’t go wrong with our top three domestic picks:
They’re all brewed in the “traditional” Oktoberfest style (more on that later), and Sierra Nevada even teams up with a different German brewer each year to craft an authentic brew.
Or, if you want to get extra authentic, you can’t go wrong with these imported German beers.
Paulaner and Spaten, in particular, are two of only six breweries allowed to be served at the actual Oktoberfest in Munich because they adhere to Germany’s Reinheitsgebot, or Edict of Purity, which limits the ingredients that can be used in beer.
As for pairing with food, it doesn’t get much easier. The beers above go great with just about any of our preferred Oktoberfest foods.
You can also try your hand at a few other recipes with ingredients you can easily find at your neighborhood store.
Schweinebraten — Roasted boneless pork shoulder is a beer hall staple. Cook yours in some dark Bavarian lager to make your celebration a little extra rich.
Würstl — Germans know and love all sorts of sausage. Pick whichever variety you like and sauté it with apples and sauerkraut.
Steckerlfisch — A whole grilled fish on a stick so you can eat with one hand and imbibe with the other. It’s commonly mackerel, but you can get creative.
Brezen — If a whole fish on a stick sounds daunting, pretzels are an easy accompaniment for any beer. Bavarian brezen are boiled and baked to give them the perfect amount of chewiness.
Kartoffelpuffer — Fun to say and even more fun to eat, potato pancakes are great on their own or on the side of any of the dishes above.
Sauerkraut — What Oktoberfest articles, or celebration, would be complete without everyone’s favorite fermented cabbage?
Ready to start pairing (and partying)? Here’s our pork schnitzel recipe to get you started.
What’s an Oktoberfest Beer Anyway?
That’s a complicated question. The answer kind of depends on where you are when you’re drinking. Historically, the beer served at Oktoberfest was malty Märzen, named so because it was produced in March and allowed to age for a few months until reaching ready-to-drink status at the end of September, when Oktoberfest begins. Perhaps because this dark brew was a bit too rich for the long days of late September celebration, Oktoberfest brewers eventually switched to a lighter lager, more similar to a Dortmunder-style beer.
Domestically produced Oktoberfest beers tend to follow the original recipe. So, if you’re on the American side of the pond, there’s a good chance you’re enjoying a brew modeled after what’s technically the former festival style. However, the American-style flavor profile isn’t necessarily the same as what used to be served in Germany. American-style Oktoberfest beers may use more caramel malt than Munich malt, resulting in a sweeter flavor. Or, other flavors may be added to make the beers friendlier to a wider array of palates.
Make sense? Don’t worry. What matters most is that you’re having a good time enjoying whatever food and beer flavors you have on hand. And if you want more time to celebrate, order groceries online with Giant Eagle Curbside Pickup & Delivery.