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5 Lederhosen-Less Ways to Celebrate Oktoberfest
It may still be too hot in Los Angeles for lederhosen and itchy felt hats, but that’s no reason we can’t partake in a little Oktoberfest revelry. After all, we’re pretty sure the former is a sweaty mess no matter how low temperatures dip. Lucky for us, there are enough Bavarian fun times going on around town (both permanently and seasonally) that we’ll have our fair share of oompah goodness long after October’s come and gone. Here, our 5 favorite ways to celebrate:
1. Beer, er, Bier at Home
Oktoberfest is a time of excess and enjoyment; so we say: stock up on as many different varieties and producers of German beers as you can and learn a little something, why don’t you? Plus, Germans are known for their Pils, Lagers, and Wheat Beers, so you’ll be less likely to feel like the Goodyear blimp than you would with their English or Belgian ale counterparts. We’re eyeing Ayinger’s Oktoberfest Marzen and Spaten’s Optimator Double Bock, but there are tons of producers imported into the U.S. and even more interesting brews with which to experiment. Better yet, grab some friends and consult our guide to throwing an at-home beer tasting.
2. Raise a Glass to the Greats
You didn’t think we were going to have you holed up at home all Oktober, did you? For shame. Get out there and take your bier-knowledge of the road! There are several iconic German haunts in and around L.A. county at your disposal. Start in Silverlake, at Red Lion Tavern, where they’ve been serving old-world food and beers for over 50 years (LivingSocial is running a Red Lion special today, too). For a day trip, try the Alpine Village in Torrance, where you can stock up on Germanic specialties before grabbing wienerschnitzel and a draft of Warsteiner. Finally, make the pilgrimage to Rathskeller in Huntington Beach. This quaint bar has been owned and operated since 1978, which is always a good sign.
3. Raise a Glass with the New Kids
Unless you’ve been living under a mossy rock deep in the Black Forest, you’re probably well aware that German sausages and beers are experiencing a revival here in L.A. (Heck, even The Standard’s getting in on it.) And we say, what better time than this month to make the rounds and try them out (especially now that we’re well-versed in the classics)? Start with the granddaddy of Deutsch-revival, Wurstkuche (you can even chose a downtown or west side location to suit), for dozens of German and Belgian beers and gourmet sausages that pale only in comparison to their thickly cut, twice-cooked fries. Or, grab authentically German street food at Berlin Currywurst in Silverlake. Don’t go east of La Brea? There’s also a place called Currywurst (no relation) on Fairfax. Or, get right up to the border at Wirsthaus on La Brea. Finally, make sure to visit Steingarten LA in the Pico-Robertson area. In addition to over 100 beer selections, the open-air (retractable ceiling?!) haunt also serves exotic brats like salmon, elk, and wild boar. Since we’ve obviously left purism squarely in the dust, we also suggest checking out Biergarten LA (we know, why didn’t they all get together over a beer to discuss these names because it’s getting c-o-n-f-u-s-i-n-g), where you’ll find Korean-Japanese-German fusion sausages. Yes.
Now, the aforementioned themed activities could, theoretically, be performed at any time during the other 11 months of the year. But, what makes Oktoberfest special is consuming said beers and brats with hundreds of other people (each of whom you may eventually stumble into at some point) if at all possible. Start it off classy at Bar Bouchon in Beverly Hills, where they’re offering house-made pretzels and sausage—and then let it slowly devolve from there. The epicenter of devolution is surely the three-day L.A. Oktoberfest in Hollywood, where the marketing is unabashedly mammary-centric and, according to their promoters, a guaranteed sell-out. For a quainter experience of drunkenness, Alpine Village is still your place—as in, cheap beers, dancing, a ton of people, and an oompah band. Down in Orange County, hit up OldWorld, where they’re blowing it all out with a parade, Dachshund races, bands, and even a mini-fest for the kinder (we kid you not). While you’re down there, stop by the Lazy Dog Café for cheap eats and drinks all month long. If this all got real hokey for you really fast (just start drinking, it’ll fade away…), take a more sobering approach to your boozing at L.A. Beer Week or the B.A.M. (that’s: beer, art, music) Festival.
If you aren’t the lazy type (bless you, would you clean our apartment?), you may be inclined to try all of this yourself. In which case we say, "Please, yes do… and invite us over, please." To start, get yourself one of these handy and foolproof home brewing kits, or better yet take a class at Wurstkuche this week. Then, learn to make your own wurst with local carnivorous superheroes Lindy & Grundy, who just started offering classes. Finish it off by trying your hand at Rockenwagner’s famed pretzel recipe and you’ll be one step away from honorary German citizenship! Or, at the very least, enrolling in tuba lessons.
Sep 24, 2012 - 08:43 PM