Barrel Upon Barrel of Craft Beer at Zinzinnati Oktoberfest
All photos courtesy Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. The largest Oktoberfest celebration in America kicks off this Friday, Sept. 18, in Cincinnati with an event that pretty much sets the tone: the Running of the Wieners, a race featuring a herd of Dachshunds (all wearing buns) blazing down Fifth Street in downtown.
Samuel Adams is the event sponsor, and President Jim Koch will be on hand for the festivities. As one would assume, plenty of beer will be flowing for attendees. And at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati (yes, that’s the official name), they don’t mess around. Vendors expect to sell more than 2,000 barrels of beer, which equates to nearly 4 million fluid ounces.
In all, more than 80 beers will be available, with about half of those being available at Brewer’s Alley, just off Fifth Street on North Broadway. And it’s not just pumpkin beers and Marzen/Oktoberfest styles, it’s a full-on cornucopia of craft goodness. Here’s a partial menu:
- Braxton Brewing Crankshaft IPA
- Fat Head’s Bumble Berry Honey Blueberry Ale
- Sam Adams Fat Jack Double Pumpkin
- Deschutes Pinedrops IPA
- Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
- MadTree Happy Amber
- Stone Coffee Milk Stout
- Thirsty Dog Barktoberfest
- Urban Artifact Finn Berliner Pale
- North High Dry Hopped Imperial Kolsch (this one was brewed especially for Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, so you’ll only be able to get it at the festival)
But there’s even more beer than what’s at Brewer’s Alley. Several other locations off of Fifth Street include:
- Blue Point Fest Tent – South Main
- Christian Moerlein Glockenspiel & Bier Garten – Fifth Street & Broadway
- Erdinger Fest Tent – North Walnut
- Ky Ale Fest Tent – Procter & Gamble Gardens
- Sam Adams Bier Garten – Fountain Square
- Sam Adams Bier Garten – Government Square (Fifth Street between Walnut & Main)
- Weihenstephan Bier Garten – Fifth Street between Main & Sycamore
- Yuengling Fest Tent – North Sycamore
That’s a lot of beer.
There’s also plenty of German-style food. To go with those 2,000 barrels of sudsy brew, festival vendors will offer a smattering of tasty dishes. During Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, food vendors expect to sell:
- 64,000 sauerkraut balls
- 24,640 potato pancakes
- 1,875 pounds of German potato salad
- 23,000 soft pretzels
- 56,250 sausages
- 700 pigtails
- 400 pickled pig feet
The festival, which began in 1976 and briefly held a Guinness world record, set in 1994 for the World’s Largest Chicken Dance (48,000 people), celebrates the German heritage of southwest Ohio with German-style music, food, activities and more. Nearly 600,000 people attend each year.
The chicken dance has been led over the years by celebrity grand marshals ranging from George Takai to “Weird” Al Yankovic. This year’s grand marshal is former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson.
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati Hours: Friday, September 18, 5 p.m. – Midnight Saturday, September 19, 11a.m. – MidnightSunday, September 20, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.