Munich on the Potomac
Start brushing up on your polka and the words to "Ein Prosit," because Oktoberfest season is hitting the Washington area next week. The big party in Munich begins on September 22, but many local brewpubs will be unveiling their special Oktoberfest beers a few days sooner.
A note on the style: Most of the Oktoberfest beers I've had from local pubs in the past are malty and amber- or copper-colored, similar to the "traditional" Oktoberfest beers, while the some of the beers served under the tents in Munich have been getting lighter in color and body, presumably to appeal to a mass audience.
Here's a quick look at when our local brewers are unveiling their Oktoberfest creations:
Tuesday, Sept. 18
The Rock Bottom Brewery in Bethesda is tapping its special Maerzen beer at a party hosted by brewer Geoff Lively. Pints are $2 from 7 p.m. on. In Ballston, members of Rock Bottom's Mug Club -- a free loyalty program -- can get a sneak peek at the brewpub's Oktoberbest for $2 a pint from 7 to 8.
The Rockville branch of Gordon Biersch hosts a tapping party for its Festbier with free beer samples and free appetizers beginning at 5 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 19
Gordon Biersch in downtown Washington unveils its special Festbier from 5:30 to 8. An oompah band plays, free snacks are handed out in the bar area and, once the ceremonial wooden cask is tapped (probably between 7 and 7:30, if previous parties are any indication), everyone can drink from it for free until it runs dry.
The Gordon Biersch in Tysons Corner is also tapping its Festbier tonight, with a party beginning at 6. The ceremonial keg will be tapped around 6:30, and free hors d'oeuvres will be passed through the bar.
Thursday, Sept. 20
Rock Bottom in Ballston starts serving its "Rocktoberfest" to the public, conveniently after the chaotic "$1 a pint" Wednesday night happy hour. Back in Washington, the District ChopHouse taps its Oktoberfest beer and unveils a special German-themed menu at 7 p.m.
In Maryland, DuClaw fans need to be patient, because the tasty Mad Bishop Maerzen-style ale won't be flowing until mid-October. In the mean time, head to the Rams Head Tavern, where Fordham's Oktoberfest has been available since the first week of September.
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