Oktoberfest is known today as a riotous celebration of copious amounts of beer and roasted meats of all kinds, but not many people know that the 16-day festival started off as a royal wedding (see inset story). Not that it really matters; what’s more important is that this part of Bavarian history is now responsible for attracting millions of visitors to Munich during the months of September and October to participate in the festivities.
Oktoberfest has also made its way round the world, and in Singapore many German-themed or beer establishments likewise get into the spirit of things by throwing their own celebrations.
We take a look at what’s happening for Oktoberfest in Singapore this year.
Spaten! What is your profession?!
Brotzeit Bier Bar & Restaurant will be bringing in the Oktoberfest spirit to its chain of outlets from now to 15 October with the launch of a special Oktoberfest menu on 5 September. We’re particularly impressed with Chef Wolfgang Ranner’s Meter Sausage, a hefty 1-metre long paprika-cheese sausage, as well as the Veal Goulash with Spätzle, a traditional veal shank goulash in paprika sauce served with classic buttered spätzle, both of which you should wash down with a large stein of Spaten bier. Spaten from Spatenbräu is of course one of the original six Munich breweries that are officially allowed to produce Oktoberfest beer.
In case you’re wondering why Oktoberfest starts in September – in 1810, the city of Munich was celebrating the marriage of its crown prince Ludwig I, who was marrying the Saxon princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Its citizens – all 40,000 of them – were invited to partake in a weeks-long huge feast held in the fields in front of Munich’s city gates leading up to the official ceremony on 12 October. That wedding is today – two centuries on – celebrated as Oktoberfest, a 16-day affair that normally ends on the first Sunday of October.
The festivities at Brotzeit will culminate in with its annual Oktoberfest Party Weekend from 28 September to 1 October; the weekend affair will see special festive platters and even a Free Flow ($45 for two hours, $88 unlimited) beer package that will have you dancing on tables to an oompah band.
German beer brand Erdinger will be taking over “Satay Street” at the iconic La Pa Sat hawker centre right smack in the middle of Singapore’s Central Business District on 22 September that will see Erdinger’s signature Weisse and Dunkel variants poured to complement the local favourite satay. A short walk towards Marina Bay Financial Centre gets you to LeVeL33 microbrewery and restaurant, where head brewer Gabriel Garcia has specially brewed a seasonal Festbier for the occasion. You may need to head there quick though; it’s a small seasonal batch that won’t last very long.
If you head towards Riverside Walk, Brewerkz also has its Oktoberfest Lager, a Marzen that’s maltier and stronger than a typical Euro pale lager. More importantly, it’s available at happy hour prices all day from 22 September to 1 October.
If you don’t mind a trek to the west, Timbre+ at 73A Ayer Rajah Crescent will host an Erdinger beer garden for three weeks from 25 September to 14 October where beer lovers can look forward to various (beer) games and roving activities.
Alternatively, nearby Timbre+ is the newly-opened Savourworld, which will be hosting its first-ever Oktoberfest party which will take place from 13 to 15 October. A $28 ticket (you can purchase your ticket here) gains you entry into a festival hall, where you get a complimentary welcome stein of Maisel Weisse and tuck into a wide variety of hearty German fare such as schweinhaxen (pork knuckle), rotisserie chicken and a staggering assortment of sausages.
As you can see, there’s plenty to do during this Oktoberfest; to that we’ll say, “O’zapft is!”