It is starting to feel like summer here in the East Bay, so it must be time for Oktoberfest. For those who love a crisp ale, a bouncing polka or a soft, salty pretzel, there are plenty of events across the East Bay, both large and small, to satisfy your cravings.
And, hops-heads and polka-aficionados do not even have to wait for October to celebrate, with events kicking off Sept. 16. Oktoberfest started in the early 1800s with the celebration of a royal wedding in Munich, but as the festival became an annual tradition that lasted for weeks, the dates were pushed forward on the calendar to take advantage of warmer, longer days.
Nosh has compiled the East Bay’s September and October beer-focused events organized by date, earliest to latest. Prost!
The brewery just east of Jack London Square is putting on an event with a variety of entertainment, food, and activities. One of the brews on tap will be the 2023 iteration of Original Pattern’s Oktoberfest Festbier, a smooth, malty lager with hints of honey and fresh baked biscuits. The program includes tunes from Polkageist West from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and food provided by Citizen Pizza and Vana Maria BBQ. Additionally, brave competitors can sign-up for the Masskrugstemmen competition, in which contestants hold a full, 1-liter stein with one arm extended out from their body for as long as they can.
Original Pattern Oktoberfest: Noon to 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16, Original Pattern Brewing, 292 4th St., Oakland. Entry is free. Tickets cost $25-$40 in advance and $30-$45 at the door, and include a souvenir glass and first pour.
Head to Downtown San Leandro for beers from Bay Area favorites like Fieldwork, 21st Amendment and Drakes. There will also be live music, traditional Oktoberfest games, Bavarian pretzels, bratwurst and more. Margaritas and non-alcoholic drinks will also be sold by Sons Of Liberty Alehouse.
Okdroberfest: Noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16, 100a West Juana Avenue San Leandro. Tickets cost $25-$40 and include a commemorative stein.
Temescal Brewinig’s festival promo puts it succinctly: “[On Saturday, Sept. 23] we honor the autumnal ritual of drinking tankards of crisp festbier with our pals.” In addition to the camaraderie and suds, there will be bratwurst from Diggy Dogs and DJ sets on the patio. Temescal’s 2023 Oktoberfest will be flowing along with a selection of the brewery’s other beverages, and the party also includes a Masskrugstemmen (stein-holding competition) at 4 p.m.
The Walnut Creek Historical Society puts on this Oktoberfest celebration that includes dinner, Bavarian pretzels, live music and dancing. The event is 21+ and includes a stein-holding competition. There will also be a costume contest for those with lederhosen and dirndl in their closets.
Shadelands Ranch Oktoberfest: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, Shadelands Ranch Museum, 2660 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek. Tickets cost $60 and include dinner, pretzel, and dessert.
The Dimond District’s Oaktoberfest is one of the larger events in the East Bay, and the street festival centered around the intersection of MacArthur Boulevard and Fruitvale Avenue has something to suit all ages. There are five stages with an eclectic mix of live entertainment such as dance battles and polka bands, food stands including traditional German fare, multiple breweries pouring more than 200 different craft beers, vendors from East Bay shops and a dedicated kids and family activity area.
Oaktoberfest in the Dimond: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1, Oakland’s Dimond District (MacArthur Boulevard and Fruitvale Avenue). Entry is free and beverage package options start at $25.
Organized by the San Ramon Historic Foundation, there will be live music and dancing from the Olympia Fields Brass Band and Golden Gate Bavarian Dancers at this family-friendly event. Tickets include bratwurst lunch, beers from five local breweries, sheep-herding demonstrations and museum and historic park tours.
San Ramon Oktoberfest: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, Forest Home Farms, 19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon. Tickets cost $20-$40 and include lunch, drinks and souvenir glass; advanced purchase required; under 6 free.
This two-day affair includes a dance floor for demonstrating your best polka steps, live German music, and both a “Kinder Platz” children’s area and “Bark Lounge” for canine companions. There will be a biergarten with dozens of craft beers and wine, a wide selection of food, as well as vendors selling a variety of crafts and other goods.
Walnut Creek Oktoberfest: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday Oct. 13 and Noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, Civic Park, 1375 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. Entry is free, souvenir glass and drink tickets start at $20.
Not officially an Oktoberfest, but a beer event in October nonetheless. Held at Alameda Point, the Beer City Festival includes brews, kombuchas and hard teas from more than 25 different beverage companies including locals like Almanac, Alameda Island, and Faction. Farther afield companies booked to attend include Cuver, Third Street Aleworks, Lagunitas, S27, Strike and Umunhum. The beer festival starts at noon, but the day starts with 5K and 10K races with participating runners receiving a celebratory beer at the finish line and discounted entry to the beer festival. The festivities also include Questicorn, a unicorn-themed treasure hunt happening in the morning during the races.
Alameda Beer City Fest: Noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14, Alameda Waterfront Park, 2151 Ferry Point, Alameda. Entry is free and beer tasting tickets cost $50 for unlimited tastings and a souvenir glass.