Oktoberfest

The top 5 Oktoberfest events in Toronto for 2013

Oktoberfest in Toronto is one of my favourite times of the year. There's beer, sausage, beer, short shorts, beer, dirndl — and did I mention the beer?

This year, thanks to the fact that there are a handful of Oktoberfest celebrations happening at different times in the city, you've got an opportunity to embrace your inner Bavarian a few times. I've selected my picks for the best Oktoberfest celebrations in Toronto, so now all you have to do is show up (getting the mustard and sauerkraut stains out of your lederhosen is your problem).

Steam Whistle's Oktoberfest | Sept. 21, 2pm-11pm | Steam Whistle roundhouse | $25

The entertainment
The founders of Steam Whistle will host a traditional keg-tapping and there will George Kash and The Oktoberfest Express (yes, that's the drink beer upside down guy).

Das Bier
Brewery-fresh Steam Whistle in one-litre steins--ceramic beauties this year!--that are included with the price of admission.

The food
Giant pretzels and sausages with saurkraut.

Best bet for
Fresh, local beer and hands down the best Oktoberfest party in Toronto.

BrOcktoberfest | Sept. 29 | 214 Augusta Ave | $13

The entertainment
Kensington Brewing Company founder Brock Shepherd is celebrating Oktoberfest with the Food Network's Kevin Brauch (get it?) of the Thirsty Traveler and Iron Chef America. They boast a non traditional event that will have "an adult-sized jenga set and a pinball machine" because Germany.

Das Bier
In addition to KBCo's full roster of beers, they'll be pouring collaboration beers made with with Indie Alehouse and Sawdust City, including a smoked pumpkin beer brewed with home-grown hops and a special one-off cask.

The food
Sausages from Sanagan's prepared by Completo.

Best bet for
Interesting beer (and mustaches)

Toronto Oktoberfest | Sept. 27/28, 4:30pm-12:30am | Kool Haus/Guvernment |$20-25

The entertainment
Billing themselves as the city's "authentic" Oktoberfest, they're offering a "festhalle experience" (yes, Geroge Kash will be here too. Apparently there's only one guy with lederhosen in Toronto who can drink upside down?). There will also be local dancers in traditional costumes, and for those who opt for VIP reserved tables, there will be Fräulein wait service.

Das Bier
Hofbräu Original Lager, Weihenstephan Hefeweissbier and Hefeweissbier Dunkel, Tyskie, Lech, Erdinger Weissbier and Dunkel Weissbier, Stiegl Lager and Grapefruit Radler, Mill Street Oktoberfest Marzenbier, Pumpkin Ale, Pilsner and Original Organic, King Kellerbier and Vienna Lager (as well as a selection of liquors and ciders)
The food: Smoked sausage, beef rouladen, pretzels, and warm beer nuts served in a cone.

Best bet for
A respectable list of European beer. And maybe my instincts are off, but the new venue this year and tableside "Fräulein" makes me feel like there could be some douche-baggery afoot at this one. But who knows, it could be a blast. Besides, who can say no to warm nuts?

Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest | Oct 11-19 | Approx $10-30

The entertainment
This is the world's second biggest Oktoberfest and has been taking place for almost 45 years — in short, it's the big kahuna (das kahuna?) There are a whack of events taking place over the week at 14 different festhallen spread throughout K-W and, with a list that includes everything from a car show to a golf event and a fashion show, there seems to be far too much to get in the way of downing sweet, sweet beer.

Das Bier
Once again this year, the word "beer" is insanely absent from the official K-W Oktoberfest promotions material (though pictures of children abound...). Once again though, Molson Canadian is listed as an official sponsor so you can probably assume actually decent beer will be in short supply. But hey! Face painting!

The food
Standard Oktoberfest fare will most certainly be on hand — they typically go through a staggeringly gross 50,000 pounds of sausage every year — however, there are also a number of "culinary" events such as the Stein and Dine wherein guests can enjoy a multi-course meal, prepared live, and featuring a Molson Coors beer paired with each course. Mmm, another lager!

Best bet for Line-ups, kids.

WVRST's Oktoberfest | Sept. 21 onward |

The entertainment
Well, there is going to a six-piece oompah band and a DJ on Saturday, but you won't get to see them. Perhaps owing to Toronto Beer Week this week, this beer writer is a little slow getting to the Oktoberfest round up and it turns out that WVRST's official Oktoberfest party this weekend is already sold out. Sorry...However, I still have to include WVRST here because it's a German-style beer hall that serves local craft brews and will add a number of märzens and Oktoberfest beers to the lineup for the whole month. Plus, after the dinner portion of Saturday's festivities, they will be doing one in and one out if you don't mind lining up. Hey, could be wvrse (Sorry).

Das Bier
In addition to their regular and always stellar lineup, WVRST will add appropriate seasonal offerings this month like Beau's Night Märzen, Black Oak's Oktoberfest, and more.

The food
Sausages!

Best bet for
Socializing. Great craft beer and beer hall-style seating means you're always going to make friends over your wiener.

POTENTIALLY TRAUMATIC BONUS

Because I short-changed you on WVRST, I'm also going to include the Jubilee Queen Toronto Oktoberfest Cruise.

Taking place aboard "Toronto's Luxury River Showboat" on October 5, the cruise is a four hour tour of Toronto's harbour that costs $72.95 per person and includes a four-course meal, traditional German music, and a dance party later on. With no mention of what kind of beer might be available and a link on their website to a flyer that hasn't been updated since their differently priced 2011 event, this is truly the gambler's pick for Oktoberfest; notably because you're on a boat so there's absolutely no escape once you're there. Good luck!

Ben Johnson also writes about beer over on Ben's Beer Blog. You can follow him on Twitter @Ben_T_Johnson


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