Mike from the New Bohemia Wurst+BierHaus invited me to partake in the first annual rendition of their Oktoberfest this past Saturday evening. I was pouring samples at a beer tasting at the Hastings Coborn’s Liquor earlier in the day, so I wasn’t able to make it to the Minneapolis location of the celebration until 8pm. When I did arrive, I met up with Mike briefly and he was kind enough to let me into the ‘fest for free with a tasting glass. Thanks for that, Mike!
First off, the tasting glass handed to me at the entrance was a Ball-branded pint jar, which was kind of ingenious on their part. It had to be a lot cheaper and required a lot less work for them to use cases of canning jars, which benefits them greatly. Plus, everyone at the ‘fest seemed to enjoy drinking their brews out of those pint jars!
The event was held in the public parking ramp behind Kramarczuk’s, on the ground level. After entering the main gate, I took a look around to see where everything was. Three beer trailers were present, serving all sorts of varieties appropriate for this fall celebration. There were spots for numerous activities, including: Bean Bag Toss, Keg Bowling, Sausage Eating Contest, Hammerschlagen, and even a mustache seesaw from The Traveler Beer Company (which really cracked me up – any of you who have seen Super Troopers will understand why). Of course, they had a three man polka band playing all the tunes you’d like to hear, which was located very near where you could pick up some delicious food.
The food required the use of tickets, which you could purchase near the entrance for $3 each. Snacks like Belgian fries and your basic large pretzel (along with desserts) were 1 ticket, wursts were 2 tickets, and a giant pretzel was 3 tickets. I had Belgian fries and the “Exotic Wurst of the Day”, which was made from duck. Both selections were awesome!
Since I had to drive home, I didn’t hit the beer very hard. However, the brews I did choose were quite good. I really enjoyed Indeed Brewing’s Sweet Yamma Jamma; a creation that involves sweet potatoes, candied yams, and a special blend of spices. The big winner for me that night, though, was Bad Weather’s Windvane that was cask conditioned with Mosaic hops. Mmmm, good stuff.
New Bohemia’s Oktoberfest definitely felt like a great success to me, especially since there was a lot of fun to be had without an overcrowded space where people are jammed in shoulder to shoulder (they limit their general admission entries). I’ve been to other Oktoberfest celebrations where it was nearly impossible to move, let alone hold a bratwurst and a mug of beer while chatting with friends. Plus, there were some very good quality brews, tasty food, good polka tunes, and plenty of fun activities. If you didn’t go this year, I recommend checking it out next year.
Thanks, Mike! I’m glad you invited me to check it out!