Lederhosen, bratwurst and beer. Since its first rendition over 200 years ago, Oktoberfest has been synonymous with good beer. Any beer connoisseur has, at least once, dreamed of visiting Germany during those magical 16 to 18 days and enjoying some of the best beer the world has to offer—all while surrounded by millions of like-minded folks.
The original Oktoberfest was held on October 12, 1810 to commemorate the marriage of Bavaria’s Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. To ring in the occasion, Munich residents were invited to partake in a gigantic feast held at the fields outside of the Munich front gates, which are known now as “Theresienwiese” (or Therese’s fields) after the Princess. The festivities mainly revolved around horse races, but later expanded with an agricultural fair, rides, and—most importantly—beer.
After the original celebration’s success, the festival became, for the most part, a yearly tradition known throughout the world. Over time, Oktoberfest has grown into one of the world’s largest festivals, attracting around six million tourists and over seven million attendees each year. During the festival, seven million litres of beer alone are served to patrons, as well as a mix of wine and non-alcoholic drinks, and an estimated $1 billion dollars are pumped into the local economy.
Sadly, not all of us beer fanatics can make it out to Germany for Oktoberfest. Luckily for us, Edmonton has its own Oktoberfest celebration—and though it’s on a smaller scale, that just means less line-ups to deal with! On September 29 and 30, the Edmonton Expo Centre opens its doors for the annual Edmonton Oktoberfest, hosted by Alberta Beer Festivals. This year’s line-up includes upwards of 300 different beers from over 40 different breweries, many of them from right here in the province. It’s a fantastic opportunity for people new to the craft beer world to try out a wide variety of beers without having to pay full price for a pint, and discover their taste preferences. For seasoned beer veterans, it’s a great chance to try out some old favourites and meet some new ones.
A variety of cask events will also take place thanks to local brewers Blind Enthusiasm, Blindman, and Brewsters. So, for people feeling a little adventurous, there’s the chance to try some one-of-a-kind, out-there brews.
For a $30 weekend pass or $20 day tickets, it’s sure to be a great way to spend the weekend. As an added bonus, the venue is open later this year and will offer full pints of beer. So come out and join Edmonton Brewery Tours at the Edmonton Oktoberfest as we sample some of the best beers our own little festival has to offer!