Though it may be far away from the annual festivities in Munich, New Hampshire is no stranger to Oktoberfest. The Hippo has the scoop on ways to celebrate Oktoberfest in the Granite State, from oompah music to brewing your own beer.
Out for Oktoberfest
If you’re looking to embrace the festival in a lively group atmosphere, check out Oktoberfest at Anheuser-Busch.
“This is actually our first Oktoberfest that we are holding here. Anheuser-Busch in Merrimack is going to bring Munich to Merrimack,” Carla Reardon, assistant tour supervisor at Anheuser-Busch in Merrimack, said in a phone interview.
Guests are invited to enjoy Spaten Oktoberfest and Franziskaner beers, bratwurst, Bavarian pretzels, gingerbread cookies, live music and Oktoberfest games like barrel racing and a stein relay.
“Our brewmaster and the chair of the Merrimack town council … will tap the first ceremonial keg,” Reardon said. “We’re excited to bring guests together to learn about our beers and see our property and take an opportunity to celebrate Oktoberfest.”
Another way to celebrate the beer experience of the annual autumn event is by brewing your own at IncrediBREW’s Oktoberfest, taking place over two nights this year.
“[Guests] show up and we will have six different beers,” owner Erik Croswell said in a phone interview.
The beer lineup includes Oktoberfest, My Favorite Marzen, Oom-pah Pilsner, Hefe-Weizen, Dunkelweizen and Rogg-n-Roll, giving a variety from lighter to darker beers.
“When everyone gets there they break up into teams and those teams are responsible for brewing their batch of beer,” he said. “Folks will come in and brew all six of those beers and come back two weeks later and bottle it up and get a variety of each.”
Since the brewing process has certain time gaps (like waiting half an hour for something to boil), guests can alternate between brewing and sampling goods from German John’s Bakery.
“There is some music we try to put in there ...but the fact of the matter is it’s really [about] conversing with everybody,” Croswell said. “It’s more about community; that is a very unique part of our business.”
Oktoberfest at home
While a large festival full of people is typically associated with the fall event, key components can be replicated on a much smaller scale right in your home — like getting together with friends and family, listening to German music, and of course lots of eating and drinking.
According to Judi Heer of German John’s Bakery in Hillsborough, a number of Oktoberfest traditions done in Germany have not translated to American celebrations.
“They make fried herring sandwiches and spiraled radishes,” Heer said in a phone interview. “The salty things, the fried herring and radish, is intended to help you with your alcohol consumption.”
While most American Oktoberfests will have soft pretzels, to bring more authenticity to the party Heer recommends a menu complete with grilled chicken, pickles, German potato salad, red cabbage and sauerkraut.
“German sauerkraut is a side dish and not a topping so it gets cooked a long time with apples and seasonings,” she said. “That’s something that we serve, but it’s pretty easy to make yourself.”
Another popular item that translates well to make at home is bratwurst — but make sure to serve it on a hard roll.
“Not on a hot dog roll. That’s a disgrace,” Heer said. “Knockwurst, that’s another sausage you can throw on the grill.”
As far as a dessert, go for something with apples, like a strudel.
Since no Oktoberfest is complete without a good selection of beer, curate your own variety by visiting a beer store with plenty of local, national and international brews.
“Right now we’re in the Oktoberfest or pumpkin season,” Barbara Lambert, owner of Barb’s Beer Emporium in Concord, said in a phone interview. “Right now we have Harpoon Oktoberfest, Brooklyn Oktoberfest, we’re getting Left Hand Oktoberfest.”
She said they also carry Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr beers, both of which are from Munich.
Typically, Lambert said, the types of beer to look for this time of year are either pumpkin beers or märzen, an amber-colored, malty, full-bodied German-style beer that Lambert said really encapsulates what an Oktoberfest brew should be.
“The ones we seem to be really selling is the Paulaner or the Hofbräu, which are German, definitely German-style beers,” she said.
For those who want to imbibe something other than beer, Lambert suggested a hard cider like McKenzie’s or Harpoon, both of which make a pumpkin variety.