Oktoberfest isn't dead in St. Louis
On the scale of everything COVID-19 has taken from us this year, beer festivals don’t rank too highly. But a fall without rich, malty Märzen lagers, oompah music and bratwurst is still a loss we refuse to accept.
Google Oktoberfest 2020, and the first thing you’ll see is just the word “canceled.” Munich, Germany, won’t be hosting the annual festival, which has attracted millions of people to celebrate beer and Bavarian culture since 1810. Closer to home, the 40th Annual Belleville Oktoberfest is canceled due to the coronavirus. Oktoberfest at Soulard Farmers Market’s park won’t happen either, but the organization is hoping to partner with neighboring businesses to provide us with the beer, pretzels and Wiener schnitzel we need.
“2020 Oktoberfest at Soulard Farmers Market will look different for sure, but we hope to keep the spirit of the festival alive in the Soulard neighborhood,” a representative told us in a Facebook message. “Prost!”
Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. is getting similarly creative. “We knew immediately that we wouldn’t be able to proceed like normal,” said Urban Chestnut business and marketing operations manager Ashley Troutman, who helps plan the brewery’s Oktoberfest every year. “Of course it’s disappointing, but we don’t want to have it if it’s not going to be safe.”
Last year, more than 30,000 people attended Urban Chestnut’s Oktoberfest St. Louis, which took over Washington Avenue from the Midtown brewery to Circus Flora. There won’t be any massive crowds, circus performers or petting zoos this year, but Urban Chestnut is still trying to help us have our steins and drink them too. Barring any changes or further mandated restrictions, the brewery plans to host socially distanced, outdoor celebrations at its Midtown biergarten with live music and a special German-focused menu. “Rather than limit it to one day or one weekend, we’ll give people many chances to come out and experience it over a few weeks,” Troutman said. “What we’re planning on doing will be really reminiscent of the very first Oktoberfest we hosted in 2011. This would have been our 10th.”
Even if the brewery’s modest festival plans fall through, their Oachkatzlschwoaf brew, or O-Katz, will be available for the season. “The festival celebrates our German heritage, but it also celebrates the release of our Oktoberfest lager,” Troutman emphasized.
The traditional, Munich-style O-Katz is just one of many St. Louis-brewed Oktoberfest lagers we look forward to every year. We may not be able to drink in a bierhall packed with strangers, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate. So blast some German polka and plan your own masskrugstemmen (stein holding) contest with liter steins of the beers listed below.
9 LOCAL OKTOBERFEST BEERS TO BUY
4 Hands Brewing Co.
1220 S. Eighth St., St. Louis, 314.436.1559, 4handsbrewery.com
Two Plumbers Brewery + Arcade
16-ounce crowler: $6.50.
2236 First Capitol Drive, St. Charles, 636.224.8626, twoplumbers.com
Narrow Gauge Brewing Co.
Third of the Way to März Oktoberfest
1595 US-67, Florissant, 314.831.3222, narrowgaugestl.com
Ferguson Brewing Co.
418 S. Florissant Road, Ferguson, 314.254.7359, fergusonbrewing.com
2nd Shift Brewing
Oktoberfest Märzen Lager
1601 Sublette Ave., St. Louis, 314.669.9013, 2ndshiftbrewing.com
Schlafly Taproom, 2100 Locust St., St. Louis; Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave., Maplewood, 314.241.2337, schlafly.com
Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.
Urban Chestnut Midtown Biergarten, 3229 Washington Ave., St. Louis; Urban Chestnut Grove Bierhall, 4465 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.222.0143, urbanchestnut.com
The Civil Life Brewing Co.
3714 Holt Ave., St. Louis, thecivillife.com
Third Wheel Brewing
4008 N. Service Road, St. Peters, thirdwheelbrewing.com
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