The top 5 Oktoberfest events in Toronto for 2014
Oktoberfest is finally here. It's a special time of year when we gather in pseudo-German beer halls to drink large quantities of beer from steins and, for once, no one looks down on me for my proclivity for inhaling sausage while wearing leather underwear.
While you probably already took part in Steam Whistle's excellent Oktoberfest bash at our recommendation (since it was included in our highlights of Toronto Beer Week), there are still a handful of opportunities coming up to unleash your inner Bavarian.
Here are our picks for the best Oktoberfest celebrations in and around Toronto, so grab your day planner and launder your dirndl, it's drinkin' time. Prost!
Now in its third year, Toronto Oktoberfest bills itself as Toronto's "only authentic Oktoberfest party" and while authenticity might be a tough claim to prove, at 30,000 square feet they may have a legitimate claim at being the city's biggest. Held over two days in the parking lot of Ontario Place, the festival boasts German and European beers like Weihenstephan and Erdinger, Bratwurst, Wieners, and Schnitzel prepared by chef Marc Thuet and "an atmosphere so authentic, you'll feel like you're in Munich."
Date: October 3rd and 4th
Location: 909 Lake Shore Boulevard West
Cost: In advance, $25 general admission for evenings and $22 for the afternoon, $30 and $25 at the door.
The world's second biggest Oktoberfest (guess where the biggest one is?) has been taking place for 45 years and seems uniquely suited to people who want to celebrate without pesky distractions like decent beer. Taking place over the week at 14 different festhallen spread throughout K-W this event has more corporate sponsors that their website can handle--among them Canadian Tire, Pepsi, Schneiders, and, tellingly, Molson Canadian.
Date: October 10th - 18th
Cost: Varies by event, see website for details.
Featuring beer from a handful of craft brewers, food from Toronto restaurants and food trucks like Gourmet Gringos and The Pie Comission, and music by local bands, OkotberFEAST doesn't seem to have all that much to do with the events in Munich from which it derives its name, but oh well, there's beer! Amsterdam Brewery, Junction Craft, Mill Street, and Steam Whistle are all listed among the event's participants and if un-aged locally made whiskey is your thing, it seems the fabulous folks from Toronto Distillery Company will be there, too.
Date: October 16, 5pm-11pm
Location: Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie Street
Cost: $25 for general admission
Oktoberfest at the Mill Street Beer Hall
There's probably few places better to hold an Oktoberfest shindig than an actual Beer Hall, so Mill Street's festivities might well be worth checking out. In addition to an appropriately named venue, the event will feature 20 Mill Street beers on tap including seasonal offerings like their Oktoberfest, Father John's, Frambozen, Palomar, and Altbier. There's also Bavarian food stations, live entertainment and, hopefully, no Putsches.
Date: October 4th
Location: Mill Street Beer Hall, 21 Tankhouse Lane
Cost: $25 for general admission
Oktoberfest at the Amsterdam Brewhaus
For three nights next week, Amsterdam Brewery will be celebrating Oktoberfest at their lakeside brewhouse location. Each night will feature an official keg tapping, along with live music, a German-inspired menu and, at the end of the night, you can take home your 1-litre stein. As an added bonus, they'll be running free brewery tours so you can get tipsy and touch brewmaster Iain MacOustra's stuff. He loves that!
Date: October 2nd, 3rd, and 4th
Location: Amsterdam Brewhouse, 245 Queens Quay West
BONUS (out of town)
The 6th Annual Beau's Oktoberfest
You may think that a five hour drive to Vankleek Hill, Ontario is a bit much just for a day of drinking, but quite frankly, this one is worth it. Beau's annual Oktoberfest bash is largely considered one of the best beer events in Ontario and was recently recognized with an Editor's Circle Award for Outstanding Achievement in Beer at the Golden Tap Awards. There's a ridiculous musical lineup that includes Rural Alberta Advantage, Tokyo Police Club, The Strumbellas and more. Importantly, there will be 13 different Beau's beers available, in addition to cider and cask offerings. Let's carpool!
Date: October 3rd (Tickets for the 4th are already sold out)
Location: Vankleek Hill Fairgrounds, 92 Main Street West, Vankleek Hill, Ontario
Cost: $22 for general admission
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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