Schnitzel, spaetzle and beer. Do I really need to write anything more to get your attention?
I thought not. Oktoberfests big and small are planned this weekend and next throughout the South Sound. They’re festivals celebrating German beer and food – held in conjunction with the weeks-long Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, the world’s largest fair devoted to beer. Around here, there’s the little European cafe Bruno’s in Parkland that will serve its exceptional German menu and a few specially selected beers for a two-day Oktoberfest. Oh, and they’ll have a chicken dance contest (pack your camera). Harmon Brewery has a bring-your-own-mug night where they’ll pour their beer into your cup. Tacoma’s Wingman Brewers will debut a few Oktoberfest brews. And then there’s the biggest Oktoberfest of them all: The three-day Oktoberfest Northwest at the Puyallup Fairgrounds that is an homage to all things German food and beer.
Bruno’s European Restaurant
When: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday Sept. 29 and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday Sept. 30
Where: 10716 A St. S., Tacoma (near Pacific Avenue and 108th in Parkland); 253-719-7181
Bruno’s European Restaurant will have its second year of Oktoberfest at its Parkland location (the restaurant relocated in 2010 to Parkland from its tiny eight-seat restaurant in Lakewood). Owner Krystyna Tomaszewska wrote via email that there will be all kinds of dancing, including a chicken dance contest. As an anonymous diner, I’ve seen the chicken dance performed at Bruno’s to accordion music in the dining room. It’s something that should be experienced. The restaurant will have music from Sylvia’s Band, a pretzel eating contest, and a menu of German specialties beyond their European menu: bratwurst, frankfurters, currywurst and more. They’ll serve Munich beers: Warsteiner, Hofbrau and Spaten.
When: 6 tonight, Sept. 28, 2012
Where: 509 ½ Puyallup Ave., Tacoma; 253-651-4832, wingmanbrewers.com
Wingman Brewers will kick off a pumpkin and Oktoberfest party with the release of several new brews: a pumpkin barleywine, an Oktoberfest blend, a pumpkin milk stout and more.
When: Friday Sept. 28 and Saturday Sept. 29
Where: 1938 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253-383-2739, harmonbrewingco.com
The Harmon tapped its Oktoberfest beer this week. Today, bring your own mug (up to 24 ounces) and the Harmon will fill it for the price of a 16-ouncer. On Saturday, the band Tahoma Souls Alive will perform from 9-11 p.m.
When: Oct. 5-7
Where: Puyallup Fairgrounds; oktoberfestnw.com
Admission: $10 on Oct. 5-6, $5 on Oct. 7. Kids always free. Free admission also 11 a.m-3 p.m. Oct. 5.
This is the granddaddy of all South Sound Oktoberfest celebrations. The Puyallup Fairgrounds Showplex is converted into a German beer hall with row after row of seating, beer stations with numerous German taps, live bands and all kinds of entertainment, including wiener dog races and free kid activities.
The grub: About a half-dozen windows, stands and kiosks will serve food in the main hall. Last year, Bruno’s served a schweinebraten (roast pork) dinner for $10 that was a decent deal, and Ziegler’s had a bratwurst that was $7.50. Expect to pay $10 or more to feed yourself.
The grog: Warsteiner Dunkel, Warsteiner Oktoberfest, Hofbrau Oktoberfest, Paulaner Munich Lager, Paulaner Hefeweizen, Hacker-Pschorr Maibock and Snoqualmie Harvest Moon.
Tips for navigating: A few things may slow you down. Last year, there were two lines for beer – one to get the ticket for beer, another for the actual beer. Also, the food vendors only accepted cash last year.
When: Oct. 19-20
Where: Enumclaw Expo Center; enumclawoktobeerfest.com
Admission: $20 for a two-day pass; purchase at the website or at retail locations listed on the website
Beers, brewing and brats will be at this festival, which will include more than 30 brews. Brewing seminars and bottling demonstrations will delve into the hoppier side of the beer trade. There will be dancing, singing and comedy delivered by John Keister of “Almost Live” local TV fame. This could be your chance to heckle him for all those Enumclaw and Buckley jokes.