Kick Off Oktoberfest at Koko’s Bavarian with Prince Koko Himself
The East Austin brewery will host the descendent of Oktoberfest founders and share new beer made for the festival
By Meher Qazilbash
Photos by Chad Wadsworth and courtesy of Koko’s Bavarian
Koko’s Bavarian will host its inaugural Oktoberfest with four weekends of special events and menu offerings. Guest of honor and partner Konstantin Prinz von Bayern — a.k.a. Prince Koko — will fly into Austin to tap the keg on stage at the brewery, a traditional kick off to the festival, on Saturday, Sept. 24.
“Every year, when the Oktoberfest begins, the tapping of the keg by the mayor of Munich marks the official opening of the Oktoberfest,” explains Prince Koko. “Only then are the tents allowed to serve beer.”
Since its beginnings in 1810, when Prince Koko’s fifth great grandfather King Ludwig I started the festival, Oktoberfest has brought grand celebrations to Germany and beyond. Koko’s Bavarian is now organizing an authentic fête for Austinites to enjoy.
Taking place from Sept. 23 to 25, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, Oct. 21 to 23 and Oct. 28 to 30, each weekend will feature live music, DJ sets, games, food specials and more. And while the brewery takes a break from hosting Oktoberfest during Austin City Limits, you can catch them at Zilker Park serving goods as one of the festival’s vendors.
Throughout Oktoberfest, the German-Texan establishment will offer a special beer made by head brewmaster Katie Lowe called Koko’s Festbier. This drink features Texas malt from Fort Worth and German hops, possessing a light profile that is crisp and balanced, with notes of bread and dough. Savor the beverage with Koko’s sought after bratwurst and pretzels.
Guests will have the opportunity to buy custom branded Oktoberfest 2022 steins full of beer for $30 and receive $1 off subsequent refills. Plus, customers can then participate in stein holding contests (they’re harder than you’d think). All the merriment will take place in an authentically decorated space with a giant Oktoberfest arch, designed to make visitors feel like they’re in Munich.
Koko’s Bavarian’s Oktoberfest carries a sentimental element for Prince Koko, as the celebration holds close ties to his childhood memories and family traditions.
“What I love the most about Oktoberfest is meeting at the ‘Schützen Zelt’ with close friends and singing along to staple Wiesn music,” says the prince. “My own family traditions used to involve hours of rollercoaster rides with my siblings followed by family lunches at ‘Käfer Zelt.’ We would eat so many sweets and then feel really sick on the rides.”
Now, the traditions continue in a new way at Koko’s Bavarian.
“It is pretty amazing that in my lifetime, the essence of Oktoberfest has always remained the same,” says Prince Koko. “Over the years, I shared these experiences with my eight nieces and nephews. Now that I have a son, when he is a little older, I cannot wait to introduce him to Oktoberfest, too.”
Live music and DJs start at 3 p.m. each day of the fest. Performers include Austin Polka Band, Off the Grid and Neon Bridges. Koko’s Bavarian is open from 4 to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays.