The favourite month of beer lovers across the globe is almost here. If your thoughts are turning to pretzels, schnitzel and all things Deutsch but you can't make it to Munich, Melbourne may just be the next best thing this year.
For the most authentic Okoberfest experience, go straight to the source at Melbourne's club for German expats, Club Tivoli. The Windsor-based club is hosting their annual Oktoberfest on October 13th (11am – 11pm) and 14th (11am – 8pm). German music, folk dancing, kids activities, and traditional food (including kartoffelpuffer, the yummy potato pancakes) are all on the itinerary.
Prost! European Bier Cafe's Oktoberfest
For those more interested in beer cultures than German culture, the European Bier Café, as the name suggests, is all about the bier. They are boasting Melbourne's biggest Oktoberfest celebrations, on October 5th and 12th. $40 gets you entry to the Bier Hall on their top floor, ein stein (the 1 litre glass is yours to keep), and a traditional German pretzel. There will be an Oompah band for that authentic Munich soundtrack and German food to help wash the steins down.
Indulge in some thigh-slapping dancing at the Hofbrauhaus Oktoberfest
That institution of pork and pretzels, the Hofbrauhaus, is also gearing up for a beery big October. In keeping with German tradition, their Oktoberfest actually starts in September and runs from the 17th until October 14th.
If you think your Bavarian beer-belly is not quite big enough, you might want to take up the Hofbrauhaus' Schnitzel Challenge: a whopping 1.5kg pork schnitzel, bowl of chips and 1 litre stein of beer. You get 45 minutes or less to polish it all off, and winners eat free.
If that's not enough to put you off schnitzel for life, Tuesdays at the Hofbrauhaus will be 'Schnitzel Tuesdays' with a special menu every week during the Oktoberfest.
Their closing party on 14th October (11am – 11pm) features a traditional Oktoberfest menu, bier tastings, kids games and face painting, drinking and eating competitions, live music and dancing.
A more sedate, family-oriented event will be held at the Deutsche Schule Melbourne. This German-English bilingual primary school in Fitzroy North is having its Oktober fete on the 15th of September (yes, September). From 10am – 4pm, the school will have an animal farm, treasure hunt, maze and bouncing castle for the kids, the obligatory bier and pretzels as well as other German foods, bands, dancers, and a childrens choir. There's also a plate-throwing stall to test the German saying 'Scherben bringen Glück" or "shards bring good luck".
So if you want to get your German on this Oktober, put on your best lederhosen or dirndl and raise your steins. Prost!