Beer enthusiasts wait all year for the holy grail of brew festivals: Oktoberfest. Germany has been the epicenter of the largest festival in the world for over 200 years celebrating beer, Bavaria, and bratwurst – not necessarily in that order. As the evenings get cooler and the days shorter, you may be reaching for a dark, belly-warming beer over that last Corona more often so now is the time to celebrate. Sure, it’s only the middle of September, but when has that stopped anyone from hosting an Oktoberfest beer party?
If you can’t make it to Munich this year, don’t worry; there are plenty of opportunities to imbibe seasonal ales in a town near you. One of the biggest and best is this weekend in Kingsport, Tenn. We named the Kingsport Oktoberfest one of our “50 Best Festivals” in 2012 because of the huge variety of activities including family friendly entertainment, a wiener dog race, and “Das KidZone.” There is also a brat eating contest, cornhole tournament, and Beer University where local brewers discuss the intricacies of craft beer.
Another good option, though not officially an Oktoberfest, is the French Broad Fall Fest in Hot Springs, N.C. This fest is a straight up celebration of craft beer and music put on by the same folks as the French Broad River Festival.
Hot Springs, N.C.: French Broad Fall Fest
Kingsport, TN: Kingsport Oktoberfest