Make Your Backyard a Beer Garden!
Sure, you can celebrate at a proper biergarten (dozens of cool new ones have been opening across the U.S. in recent years) but it's way more fun to host an Oktoberfest bash of your own. So put on your dirndl and raise a glass with our guide to the food, drink and decorations that'll make your guests say Oompah!
Dress up your buffet in Bavarian blue and white with this plastic beer-proof Oktoberfest Table Cover
Meat & Greet!
Set out a spread fit for a Kaiser with a slew of sausages, condiments and rolls, preferably of the pretzel variety! There's a world of wursts out there; cook up any of these classics and let guests pile on toppings as they please.
These thin, marjoram-spiced pork sausages are the ideal cocktail frank. Bet you can't eat just one!
There's beef and pork in these finely ground sausages, named for their snappy casings ("knack" means "crack" in German).
There are many varieties in Germany, but here in the States, they're plump pork links -- a Midwestern specialty.
The prototype for the American hot dog, this slender, traditionally all-pork wiener is usually seasoned with garlic and spices.
Grill these smoked, oversize Polish pork sausages and serve them in bite-size pieces.
Supermarkets carry some German sausages, but there's great variety online. Try schallerweber.com or oscarsadksmokehouse.com (Rach's fave!).
Poach sausages in beer, white wine or apple cider with bay leaves and onions to make them extra tasty. Grill them for just a few minutes before serving to crisp up their skins.
You read right! This spiked cheddar spread was made for slathering on sausages and pretzels. In a food processor, combine 2 cups grated sharp cheddar, 1/2 cup flat, room-temperature beer, 2 tsp. Dijon mustard, 2 tsp. hot sauce and 1 chopped garlic clove. Process until smooth, season, cover and chill. Makes 1 cup.
Eat with Your Eyes!
The only thing better than cool decorations are ones you can eat! Make a pretzel garland (thread twine through the top loops or use an upholstery needle) and hang it. Tell guests to tear them off if they're hungry!
Because everything's better on a pretzel roll! This recipe was adapted from Pretzel Making at Home (Chronicle Books, 2013) by Andrea Slonecker.
Do the twist!
Form the dough into a U shape with the tips pointing up.
Take the left tip and press it to the right side at 4 o'clock.
Take the right tip and press it to the left side at 8 o'clock.
Roll with It!
Shape the dough into 8-inch buns, plump in the center and tapered at the ends.
Your backyard brewfest calls for shatterproof Go Anywhere Beer Glasses, reusable cups that look like the real thing.
You finished with that? Use empty beer bottles as vases for wheat straws or flowers.
Ask everyone to bring a different six-pack to the party so you can taste them all!
Brew Ha Ha!
Oktoberfest lagers, also called marzen because they're brewed in spring (Marz = March) and consumed through fall, are a medium-bodied, malty seasonal treat that you can get right now.
Pictured: Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen (Berlin)
Samuel Adams Octoberfest
The ruby-hued crowd-pleaser tastes of caramel and light, herbal hops.
Left Hand Brewing Oktoberfest Marzen Lager
The Colorado brewery's medium-bodied lager has a spicy, dry finish.
Widmer Brothers Brewing Okto Festival Ale
This amber ale tastes fruity and floral.
Texas's finest malty marzen is a bracing palate refresher.
Full Sail Brewing LTD Oktoberfest
Smooth and nutty, this award-winning Oregon lager goes down easy.
Why dirty more dishes? Use six-pack holders for serving party snacks! Remove the bottle dividers, load the cartons with your favorite bites -- then toss them out when you're done.