If you haven't put on your lederhose or dirndl and made it to das Oktoberfest in München (Munich) for the world famous beer-soaked festival before it closes on 7 October, fret not. We can still raise our steins till 14 October at the European Bier Cafe in Melbourne.
It is neither the Wiesn (the large field where Oktoberfest takes place in Munich) nor the Hofbräuzelt (largest tent serving beer during Oktoberfest) but das European Bier Café tries to bring the celebratory drinking, eating and dancing of Oktoberfest to Melbourne. There are over 50 European beers to choose from, and with 20 of those on tap.
In addition to specials on Bavarian biers and food, the Euro (as commonly referred to by locals) has organised a bier hall with live oompah band, brezel (pretzel) and a litre of bier on 5 October and 12 October at AUD40 per person. As a member I pay a discounted price of AUD35. The ticket also includes a take-home stein. The Oktoberfest Bier Hall at das European Bier Café operates from 5 to 10pm and tickets are available directly from their website.
I enjoyed the special Weihenstephaner Festbier and the more common Hofbrau. There was no weißwurst (traditional Bavarian veal and pork bacon sausage) or Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle) but the grilled kransky was deliciously crunchy with braised red cabbage on mash potato and beef jus.
Enjoy what Melbourne can offer of Oktoberfest at das European Bier Cafe but remember to drink responsibly and not become a bierleiche (beer corpse). In the meantime, "Kellner, noch ein Bier, bitte!"