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How to best enjoy Pittsburgh’s best Oktoberfests

There are hundreds of thousands of Pittsburghers with German heritages. Let’s pay them some respect.

Ryan Deto Sep 12, 2018 6:00 AM
Jared Wickerham

This region was built on the backs of many hardworking German immigrants. Let’s pay them some respect by participating in some real Oktoberfest traditions.

Oktoberfest is a German beer festival that typically runs from mid-September to early-October. Pittsburgh has several fall beer festivals, but City Paper wanted to guide readers to the most authentically German ones, and provide tips on how to celebrate like those in Deutschland. 

Drinking German or German-style beer is priority No. 1. Most German beer served during Oktoberfest follows German Purity Law, meaning it’s brewed from just four ingredients: water, yeast, grain, and hops. Go for these styles, particularly the namesake Oktoberfest brew, which is malty and toasty, yet very drinkable.

Second is food. The best grub to pair with German beer is, of course, German food. Try bratwurst and knockwurst with grilled onions and kraut. For something lighter, grab a soft pretzel.

Lastly, Oompah music must be playing. Every drinking festival needs liveliness, and there is no better way to burn off those beer and sausage calories than bouncing up and down to the joyous sound of accordions.

Hofbrauhaus Oktoberfest

Jared Wickerham

One of the original Munich beer halls expanded to Pittsburgh in 2009. The original is more than 400 years old. Pay homage with a liter stein of Pittsburgh-brewed, Bavarian-recipe beer. There’s a patio overlooking the Mon if the weather is agreeable, complete with an outdoor bar. Inside, traditional live music fills the huge hall. Sept. 14-15, 21-22. Hofbrauhaus, 2705 S. Water St., South Side. hofbrauhauspittsburgh.com

Penn Brewery

A massive celebration occupies Pittsburgh’s oldest craft brewery. Penn is so dedicated German-style beers, the brewery even has a “lager cave” to cold-brew the beer in traditional style. Penn’s entire complex is converted into a party space, with German food and music. Try the Oktoberfest beer or Penn Dark for something different. Sept. 21-23, 28-30. Penn Brewery, 800 Vinial St., North Side. pennbrew.com

Lorelei

Not a weeks-long, German-themed party per se, but more an extended period to sample the finest and freshest imported German Beer. The new bar will carry rare brews and gravity kegs filled with unfiltered Deutschland specialties. Lorelei’s beer hall even has an alpine mural to help whisk you away to the European Alps. Sept.22-Oct. 7. Lorelei, 124 S. Highland Ave., East Liberty. loreleipgh.com

Pittsburgh Oktoberfest in Butler County

This massive festival at the Butler County Fairgrounds has all the staples: German beer, sausage, lederhosen, and live music. But there is so much more. Round out your German consumption with dachshund (wiener dog) races, a contest of who can hold a beer stein the longest, and tons of craft vendors. Sept. 28-30. Butler County Fairgrounds, 1127 New Castle Road., Prospect. oktoberfestpitt.com

Tweet your Oktoberfest tales @pghcitypaper.