It’s that time of year: The leaves are changing colour, the weather is cooling, and people are ready to break out their dirndl and party it up at Oktoberfest celebrations.
The concept of a German-themed, beer-fuelled oompah fest is nothing new, but the folks behind Alberta Beer Festivals (Calgary International Beerfest and the Edmonton Craft Beer Festival) are bringing a craft beer focus to Oktoberfest efforts, which kick off this weekend in Cowtown before debuting Oct. 3 in the Chuck.
While people may normally associate massive steins and Bavarian barmaids with Oktoberfest, the two events are sampling events, with a bit of a German twist, giving patrons a chance to try a variety of local and German beers from nearly 30 breweries.
“That’s the benefit of a sampling event,” Alberta Beer Festival’s Trevor Bacon says.
“We want to expand our presence in Edmonton,” Bacon added.
“We feel we need to introduce more beers to Edmonton audiences.”
Both Calgary’s and Edmonton’s festival will feature European brews from the likes of Peroni, Pilsner Urqell, Fruh, and Maisel, but there’s also a heavy focus on Canadian craft beer.
Alley Kat, Big Rock, Wild Rose, Olds College, Grizzly Paw, Tool Shed, the list goes on.
Adding to the craft beer goodies is a cask stage, with special beers unique to each festival.
Calgary’s features Olds College, Wild Rose and Brewsters on Friday, while Saturday features a collaboration brew, Village Brewery and Something Brewing.
Edmonton’s cask stage features Olds College, Hog’s Head and Brewsters on Oct. 3, followed by Wood Buffalo, Alley Kat and Ribstone Creek on Saturday.
Both events will feature local food as well as oompah music and other live entertainment.
Tickets to get into the event are $19 in advance or $25 at the door, with tokens available on site for beer and food samples.
For more info on both festivals, visit the Alberta Beer Festivals website.