Prost! Oktoberfest Celebrations You Don’t Want to Miss
11 ways to enjoy the best beer, brats and spirited competitions around Austin
By Holly Cowart
Even if you’ve lived in Austin for years, you may still not be aware of our city’s rich German history. From Johann Friedrich Ernst, who became the first German immigrant to Texas in 1831 and is a direct link to the massive influx of German communities thereafter, to Scholz Garten, the oldest operating biergarten in the country that has been a gathering place for Germans since 1866, it’s impossible to deny the cultural impact on our Texas heritage as a whole. One tradition that most certainly carried over is the love for parties, and around here Oktoberfest is celebrated all season long. If you’re ready to break out your lederhosen, are a folk music fanatic or have been itching to feast on a mouthwatering array of schnitzel, bratwurst and pretzels, mark your calendar with these unforgettable Oktoberfest happenings.
September 23 – 25 | Banger’s
Austin’s ultimate sausage house is ringing in the holiday season with three days of traditional music and tasty treats, including Schnitzel Sausage, German Potato Cake, Pretzels and a host of German-style beers. The Rainey Street venue will also welcome a friendly game of Hammerschlagen, where players pass a hammer around a stump and take a swing at their nail in one fell swoop in hopes to drive it down first. Check out the full schedule of activities here.
September 22 – 26 | Easy Tiger Locations
Leave it to Easy Tiger to already have gotten the party started. Thanks to their many locations, Austinites in every corner can easily enjoy exciting festivities. North will be bringing the live music with performances from local favorites like TubaMeisters; East will have a Dogtoberfest dedicated to our furry friends; and South will introduce Craft Beer Nights, with food specials across the (Oktoberfest) Board. Just don’t forget the Apple Strudel!
September 25 | St. Elmo Brewing Co.
Grab your lederhosen and head to St. Elmo Brewing for its 4th annual Oktoberfest on September 25. The South Austin biergarten will be rereleasing its oak-aged schlagen while guests dance the night away to classic Polka tunes and battle it out in an epic stein hoist competition, where strength is put to the test by holding up a liter of beer as long as possible.
October 1 & 2 | Neill-Cochran House Museum
Beertoven is partnering with string quartet, Invoke, for two family-friendly nights of music in honor of Oktoberfest. Performing original hits and holiday classics, the first concert will take place on the front porch of the historic Neill-Cochran House Museum while Saturday’s show will be held in the backyard of an exclusive West Austin home — only to be revealed to ticket holders at a later date.
October 1 – 3 | Fredericksburg Marktplatz
Fredericksburg was originally founded by some of Texas’ earliest German immigrants in 1846, so you know they’ll be putting on a bash to remember this year. Get ready for an all-out celebration of German heritage, featuring five stages of music, a massive menu of German goods, a 5K and 8K kraut run — plus a slate of competitions from stein-hoisting to high-striking. Check out their website for more info on what’s in store and plan accordingly!
October 1 – 3, 8 – 10 | Carpenter Hotel
Right alongside Austin City Limits, Carpenter Hotel is planning a festival of its own for two weekends in October. Open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., the biergarten will be the perfect place to stop after a day spent dancing. Just a 15-or-so minute walk from Zilker Park, the midcentury hotel will be offering brats, brews and laid back vibes while you wait for less traffic and cheaper ride sharing rates.
October 3 | Cork & Barrel
Round Rock’s Cork & Barrel is throwing its first-ever Oktoberfest on October 3. Joining forces with Altstadt Brewery in Fredericksburg, visitors will be treated to refreshing beer, lawn games and contests ending in sweet prizes like swag bags, glass beer boots, gift cards and serious bragging rights.
October 9 | GTHS & Mohawk Austin
Kicking-off at noon, this tradition doubles as a fundraiser for the German Texan Heritage Society, which recently opened its German International School of Texas at Austin Pre-K for children ages three to five. Don your dirndl and groove to four performances by top Polka talents at the long-standing GTHS building and The Mohawk, a local favorite stop for live music. Ticket amounts will be limited for the outdoor event with social distancing and safety precautions in place.
October 23 | Fiesta Gardens
Get your beer here! Although this event may not technically be based on Oktoberfest, it’s certainly German in spirit. Hosted at Fiesta Gardens by Texas Craft Brewers Guild, enthusiasts will get to sip more than 200 Texas-made craft beers from 90 independent breweries. There will also be onsite food trucks, live music and an after party at Craft Pride, with ticket specials for designated drivers.
October 23 & 24 | Meanwhile Brewing Co.
Located in Southeast Austin, this newcomer to the scene is already a staple for beer and music lovers alike. After celebrating its one year anniversary on October 14, Meanwhile will keep the good times rolling with Oktoberfest specials the following week. Along with a seasonal menu release, Off the Grid will take the outdoor stage on Saturday followed by Austin Polka Band on Sunday for two nights of free shows for all ages.
November 5 – 14 | New Braunfels Landa Park
There’s no better time for a trip to New Braunfels than during Wurstfest, an unforgettable 10-day-long festival packed with revelry. After all, the city is one of the epicenters of German culture in Texas. Offering plenty of options for lodging and transportation, guests will feast on an array of Bavarian food and drinks while bouncing between five stages of live entertainment, carnivals, miniature golf and fun vendors. Make sure to keep an eye out for free admission days and don’t forget to purchase your drink tickets!
Honorable Mention: Austoberfest
It’s hard to talk about Oktoberfest in Austin without acknowledging this iconic celebration. Originally slated for October 9, Scholz Garten and Austin Saengerrunde recently announced that their annual event has been cancelled for 2021.