Wellington Scoop

How and where to celebrate Oktoberfest in Wellington

by Helen Schaufeld
We are back down to level 1. You know what this means? Oktoberfest will commence in Wellington! I am very excited to pull out my finest Dirndl and celebrate with beer and live music. Although the main festival has been cancelled in Germany, lucky Wellington dwellers will be able to raise our steins this October. Whether hosting a party at home or eager to get into the bars of Wellington, here are all the ways you can celebrate Oktoberfest.

Heyday Beer Co Oktoberfest is the event where the merrymaking begins. On Saturday the Cuba Street brewery will be creating a German bier hall.

This is one of the biggest events to be held in the spirit of Oktoberfest. There will be two large marquees with tables upon tables inside. Of all the three main events taking place in Wellington, I believe this to be the most child friendly.

The bier hall provides an undisputable Oktoberfest atmosphere; perfect for getting you into the festive spirit. Live music lovers will be overjoyed to hear the Steinbenders Oompa Band playing from 6pm. The owners have promised to fire up their BBQ and provide plentiful Fritz’s Wieners.

The Heyday Beer Co Oktoberfest acts as a exceptional warm up party for those wanting to ease themselves into Oktoberfest slowly. With the smell of Heyday beer, selection of roast meats and the sound of buoyant music playing it will be an entertaining way to spend your Saturday.

On the official Oktoberfest dates (October 2nd and 3rd) there’ll be a Bavarian showdown with bands, brews and brats on the waterfront. There will be a brass band playing and German food served with a few kiwi twists. I am a sucker for dressing up as well as a knees up. Not only does this holiday allow me to showcase my best plaits and Dirndl, it also encourages the rest of Wellingtonians to take on the traditional German attire.

It seems to me that over the years Halloween is becoming a holiday more admired by children whereas Oktoberfest is the adult alternative. As a new-be to Oktoberfest, I feel this would be the best place to start. The event provides an immersive German experience with the customary cuisine. The description seems to indicate there will be some frankfurters and wienerwurst circulating the venue. This is one of the few events which will be holding traditional German music and therefore providing a true to life Oktoberfest.

You do not have to narrow your celebrations to one day. On the 31st of October, BrewDay will take place at Brewtown Upper Hutt, 11.30am – 6.30pm. This shindig incorporates not one, but two themes by uniting both Oktoberfest and Halloween. So if you are not ready to choose between the two holidays, fear not; Brewday allows you to do both. It provides a different setting for anyone who wants to celebrate later in the month.

There will be specific craft beer served such as Panhead Custom Ales, Boneface Brewing Co and Te Aro Brewing Co. Beer day differs from the Bavarian as it has been hosted by multiple breweries such as Double Vision Brewing, Mean Doses, McLeod’s Brewery and Fortune favours to name but a few. As you are coming to the end of Oktoberfest you may feel a little brass band(ed) out. Brewday is offering alternative music such as high energy band Cover story and electric band Awan & friends

For those of you who are not ready to brave the bars just yet, you need not miss out on the fun. Whether throwing a party or just a small gathering within your bubble, you can create your own Oktoberfest from home! The first thing I think of when I hear Oktoberfest is…beer. So sticking to the traditional beer served at Oktoberfest acknowledges Oktoberfest convention. These can be any from one of Munich’s six breweries-Paulaner, Spaten, Hacker-Pschorr, Augustiner, Hofbräu and Löwenbräun. In my opinion a must have would be German-style pretzels, also known as brezen, which are traditionally paired with butter.

The celebrations would not be complete without some German sausages. You have several options here, there are all the different types of würstl, including bratwurst (typically all pork, can be fresh or smoked), knockwurst (pork, veal and garlic), blutwurst (pork blood sausage) and bockwurst (ground pork and onions). Whichever sausages you decide to choose they are best served with German bread such as dinklebrot.

If you are looking to cook up a feast, roast meat is the main dish at Oktoberfest – it can beroast pork, ham hock or chicken slow-cooked for 2 hours or more.

As much as my mouth waters thinking of the German cuisine, for many the most enjoyable part of Oktoberfest is the atmosphere. Beer steins or beers mugs are essential. Another easily incorporated prop would be a checked tablecloth; seen all around Oktoberfest.

When looking around the costume shops I was struck by how many options there are for Dirndl and Lederhosen. You could rent from Costume Cave, Jesters Costume Hires or Creative Show Off. Throwing on a flowery chocker or placing some ribbon in your hair can make for a charming accessory. The pièce de resistance is of course the oompah playlist filled with German brass band music. With a stein in one hand and pretzel in the other, you will be able to celebrate with friends and family Oktoberfest style!