This Saturday, September 19, is the official start of Oktoberfest for 2015, and fittingly there are a number of Oktoberfest celebrations taking place across the state the same day. Of course the celebrations aren’t confined to just the one day; so this year I thought I’d write a round-up post of the various Oktoberfests taking place, this weekend and beyond, around Oregon. I’ll be updating this article if I come across more events so bookmark this post and check back in over the next week or so.
Of course the biggest and oldest Oktoberfest celebration in Oregon is the Mount Angel Oktoberfest over in Mount Angel just north of Silverton. This year they are celebrating their 50th year with four days of celebrating starting on the 17th (Thursday) and running through Sunday the 20th. It’s huge; check out the packed schedule across their half dozen or so venues, and they have a number of special events lined up for the 50 years. If you go, prepare for big crowds, I’m told the entire town is closed to traffic (except for the one main road) and the pictures I’ve seen are from “regular” years—this year will be bigger than ever.
The Bier Stein in Eugene is holding their big Oktoberfest party on Saturday the 19th all day long, and this year they’re adding fresh hop beers into the mix—what’s more “Northwest Oktoberfest” than that? They’ve got a terrific beer list of classic festbier lagers as well as fresh hop beers that you can view on their events page; and in addition: “In order to add more fun, we are putting up an Oktoberfest-themed photo booth! We encourage you and your friends to dress up, or use our bin of costumery, take some pics and tag them with #BierSteinOktoberfest on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) for a chance to win sweet prizes. As usual, we have Weihenstephaner mugs available for $3 to take home, but if you are dressed in legit O-Fest garb your mug is free. Pretzels, schnitzel, and bratwurst will be available at a discount. [W]e will run Oktoberfest and fresh-hop beers until they go out of style. We will take over most of our 25 taps with these beers and maybe more, roughly eight of each style at a time, and in no particular order.”
The annual Bend Oktoberfest takes over downtown Bend Friday evening and all day Saturday, the 18th and 19th respectively. It’s completely free to attend, and there will be German-styled food, 16 taps of beer (many from the Central Oregon breweries, of course), and Oktoberfest games that “will feature absurd games of skill for prizes including yodeling, hammerschlagen (race to hammer a nail into a custom table), a costume contest, tricycle races, Medieval Swordplay, The Wiener Dog Parade, and the Wiener Dog Races.” Oh, and don’t forget the Oompah music!
McMenamins, of course, has a number of Oktoberfest events going on at their various locations; here’s a rundown of what I’ve found:
- Old St. Francis School (Bend): Saturday the 19th (same day as Bend Oktoberfest) is their all-day free admission Oktoberfest celebration, featuring beer, live music, brats, and more.
- Kennedy School (Portland) follows up Bend the next day (Sunday the 20th) with plenty of live music and revelry.
- Edgefield (Troutdale): Sunday, September 27th, their celebration includes the beer, food, and live music, and adds a golf tournament and a plant and vegetable sale—how’s that for eclectic?
- Grand Lodge (Forest Grove) has their Oktoberfest taking place on Saturday, October 3rd.
- McMenamins Corvallis also has their O-day on the 3rd.
Springfield’s Hop Valley Brewing has their annual Hoptoberfest taking place on Sunday the 20th, at their Springfield location from 5 to 8pm: “There’ll be traditional Oom Pah Pah music, German-style dinner specials, our annual Hoptoberest Beer release, raffle prizes, kids activities, a photo booth and more! The event is free and open to all ages – join us for a celebration Hop Valley style.”
Dueling event names! (Or great minds think alike!) Worthy Brewery in Bend has their 2nd annual HOPtoberfest taking place Friday the 19th starting at 5pm in their Biergarten. “This NW twist on Oktoberfest will feature our fresh hop biers with hops from our hop yard, and our annual release of Worthy Oktoberfest all paired with German-inspired food. Buy a HOPtoberfest Bier Stein and your first fill is included!” There will be live music as well.
The BeerMongers beer bar and bottleshop in Portland is holding “Mongtoberfest” taking place on Friday the 18th starting at 5pm. (I’m not clear if this is just a Friday evening thing, or going on the entire weekend.) They write: “We love German bier. So we decided to showcase some delicious biers brewed both near and far. The draft selection will feature biers from Hacker-Pschorr, Ayinger, Rosenstadt, and more.” In addition, they’d posted on the Facebook page, “If you come in traditional attire you will get a discount and special FREE raffle ticket!”
Not to be outdone, Portland’s German beer bar, Stammtisch, has their weekend-long Oktoberfest celebration kicking off Friday the 18th and running through Sunday, and they are going big! “Once again we will be closing off Flanders at 28th for a weekend street festival with a massive biergarten, 10 Oktoberfest style biers, BBQ, live music, glassware for sale, games, face painting and more! For the BBQ, Chef Graham Chaney will be grilling up Roast Chicken, Bratwurst Sandwiches, Curry Wurst, Döner Kebabs, Giant Pretzels, and more out on the street.” There will be plenty of authentic German beer, and the party starts at 5pm on Friday.
Apparently we just missed the Sandy Oktoberfest, which took place this past weekend (September 11-13). And, on the 11th and 12th we missed the Newberg Oktoberfest as well. And sadly, the Widmer Brothers Oktoberfest is also past, having taken place on the 12th. (But really, who holds Oktoberfest earlier in September before it officially starts?)
Pacific Northwest Brew Cup: Astoria’s under-the-radar brew festival isn’t exactly a fall harvest event but it is promoted as having “an Oktoberfest vibe sans the long lines” so that’s good enough for my book! It’s their 14 annual iteration of the event this year, taking place from Friday, September 25th through Sunday the 27th. It’s pretty straightforward: “The festival features northwest beers on tap Friday through Sunday, along with live music, food vendors, and activities for the kiddos. Admission is FREE. To taste beer you’ll need a souvenir mug ($9 each) and tokens ($1 each).” And they’ve got a great lineup of over 40 beers and ciders from great breweries and cideries from around the Pacific Northwest.
That same weekend (September 25 – 27) Portland hosts Oktoberfest at Oaks Park, billing itself as “Portland’s premier fall festival” and offering up a family-friendly atmosphere featuring “authentic German food and beer, local wines, live oompah bands, polka dancing, wiener dog races, cooking demonstrations, Kinderplatz children’s activities, and much, much more!” An interesting feature is the use of “scrip” as forms of payment (1 script = 1 dollar), which is the only form accepted at the bars. The beer selection looks to be Paulaner, a good choice, with 12 ounce pours costing 5 script (dollars). Overall this one looks to be the big one of Portland, and a lot of fun.
Portland’s German American Society is holding an Oktoberfest celebration on Saturday, October 3rd, according to this page: “Their annual Oktoberfest celebration will be held on Saturday Oct. 3rd from 2pm until 10pm. Music by Lyle Heiman “The Polka Beats”. They will also celebrate the opening of Oktoberfest in Munich on September 19th with a language learning day and carnival.”
That final weekend of September (25 – 27) will see Southern Oregon’s historic Jacksonville hosting the Jacksonville Oktoberfest, with a variety of lesser activities also taking place earlier in the week. It’s in its 8th year and takes place at the historic Frau Kemmling SchoolHaus Brewhaus on Bigham Knoll, with over 30 German beers on tap, traditional Oompah music, German-styled food, and of course games and activities like stein holding competitions, sausage eating contests, the chicken dance, cow train rides and more. It’s the largest Oktoberfest in Southern Oregon, drawing (they say) over 7000 people each year.
The Loyal Legion Beer Hall in Portland is celebrating Oktoberfest from September 18 through October 4, in style: “Our first annual Oktoberfest party! Running from Sept. 18th to Oct.4th. Kicking it off will be Ninkasi and we will have their Mt. Angel 50th anniversary Oktoberfest beer. Each day of the celebration we will put a different Oregon Oktoberfest/German style beer on tap, ending with a huge Occidental tap takeover. And this is the only time of the year that you will find non Oregon beers on our taps: Paulaner, Ayinger, Weihenstephaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Spaten, Warsteiner, Franziskaner, will all be on tap as well! Das boots and lederhosen galore, Prost!”
The new Eugene Beergarden is celebrating their grand opening in style with the full 16-day Oktoberfest party, with special tappings each night featuring a variety of traditional German breweries and beers as well as locals like Claim 52, Plank Town, Brewers Union Local 180, and more. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for status updates for the latest event each day.
Occidental Brewing in Portland, and all-German-style-inspired brewery, will be holding their Oktoberfest party all day long on Saturday, September 26 starting at noon. “Get out your lederhosen and come celebrate Oktoborfest with Occidental! Enjoy a seasonal Festbier or choose from many others. Urban German will be there serving up delicious authentic German grub and we will have a lineup of musical acts. This event is free to attend and $10 will get you a half liter glass stein (because we don’t believe in small plastic festival mugs) with a beer fill. This is a family friendly event. Hope to see you there! Prost!”
It’s a bit after the official Oktoberfest dates, but over in Pendleton the first-ever Pendleton Oktoberfest will be taking place on Saturday, October 17 from noon to 9pm: “Inaugural launch of Oktoberfest Pendleton will be on October 17th, 2015, on the Pendleton Round-up Grounds, from 12:00pm to 9pm. Live music, fun events for kids and adults, and great beers from all over Oregon!”
Over in Redmond, the Redmond Kiwanis Club is hosting the 8th annual Redmond Oktoberfest on Friday and Saturday, September 25 and 26, taking place at Redmond’s Wild Ride Brewing. There will be German food, live music, and beers from a variety of Central Oregon breweries; in addition, it’s the first annual RocktoberFest Homebrew Competition being held by the Redmond homebrew club, the Cascade Fermentation Association; the judging for this competition in fact took place on September 13, so on the 26th at Wild Ride during Oktoberfest it will be the results party.
Block 15 Brewery in Corvallis has their 7th annual Bloktoberfest taking place Friday and Saturday, October 9 and 10, with a big block party: “We will once again transform Jefferson Avenue in front of our pub into an Oktoberfest tent celebration! We will have live music, great food & beer, games, and a festive fall atmosphere in the middle of Jefferson Avenue.” Bloktoberfest runs from 4 to 11pm Friday, and 12:30 to 11pm on Saturday; Friday features an Ayinger beer dinner and live music, and Saturday will be all about the block party, with plenty of live music, darts, cornhole, beer, and more. Admission is $5 and any questions you might have are probably answered on the FAQ here.
Chetco Brewing in Brookings is bringing the first-ever Brookings Oktoberfest to the remote southwest Oregon town on Saturday, October 11, taking place at The Vista Pub all day long from 10am to 10pm. They will be featuring 20 Oregon breweries, live music, authentic German fare, games for all ages, and more. Admissions is free, but for beer it follows standard beerfest pricing: $15 for the souvenir mug and 8 tokens, with additional tokens $1 each. (1 token per taste, presumably.)
Portland’s Breakside Brewery is hosting their 2nd annual Breakside Oktoberfest Sunday, October 11, from 12 to 8pm, featuring an impressive list of 13 Breakside beers plus cider: “This all-ages event was a big hit with Breakside fans and the Milwaukie community last year, featuring a day of special beers, German style food, authentic glassware, games and all-ages family friendly activities. From 12-8pm on Sunday for $15 attendees get a souvenir German-style Pilsner glass and 5 drink tickets. Guests will be treated to German pub fare grilled up by Breakside Chef Mike Blank-Delaney, with piped in German tunes and a covered outdoor area. No advanced tickets necessary.” It takes place at their production brewery in Milwaukie.