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Posted at 5:41 PM ET, 10/ 4/2007

Ein Prosit for Oktoberfest

By Fritz Hahn

Washington seems to finally be ready for Oktoberfest, with this weekend's Capitol City Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest street festival bringing beers from 35 brewers to the streets of Shirlington and Blob's Park cranking up the polka music.

Just about every local brewpub has a beer on (check this previous blog post for more information), but where can Festbier fans go to try their favorite Munich (and Munich-style) beers? The answer's after the jump.

Birreria Paradiso is boasting a special Oktoberfest menu and draft lineup through Sunday the 7th, although the beers will stick around as long as beer manager Greg Jasgur has kegs. The draws are little-seen Bavarian festbiers Weltenburger and Allgauer, which are on now, with Erdinger scheduled to be available by the weekend. Weinhenstephan, Hofbrau and Paulaner are the other Germans represented, while an Autumn Fest beer from Pennsylvania's Weyerbacher is the sole U.S. entry. Birreria's food specials include salads, meat platters and an "Oktoberfest Pizza" topped with roasted carrots and potatoes, dill, veal sausage and butterkase, a creamy German cheese.

The Reef has chosen to change 5 of its 16 taps to German beers, with the Paulaner, Spaten, Ayinger and Hofbrau Oktoberfests and the Weihenstephaner Festbier coming online. The latter is a hoppy, light-bodied golden lager whereas the others are darker and maltier -- but this has been a trend in Munich lately, possibly to match the taste of the growing number of American tourists. Of the bunch, Ayinger is the clear standout.

R.F.D. is offering an American alternative, with Oktoberfests from Bell's, Dominion and the awesomely-named Flying Dog Dogtoberfest on draft, alongside the omnipresent Hofbrau. They have had Samuel Adams Oktoberfest on -- don't laugh, because it won a blind tasting of Oktoberfest beers in Shirlington last year -- but it has been alternating with the regular Samuel Adams Lager recently. Dogfish Punkin Ale is available in bottles.

At Rustico, Hofbrau is the lone Oktoberfest beer pouring from the taps. The reason: Beer manager Greg Engert is holding out on us. The bar is holding a special Oktoberfest party on October 27 to benefit local charity Stop Child Abuse Now, with proceeds from beer sales going to SCAN. Engert will offer 14 different Oktoberfest beers that day. However, this means that Rustico's regulars won't get to taste the beers until then. "There's such limited supply [of Oktoberfest beers] that I had to make a choice," he explains, adding that he only received one or two kegs from some breweries, and decided to save them for a good cause.

Other German places pouring Oktoberfest beers include Cafe Mozart, where the Hofbrau can be ordered in half-liter glasses or the giant dimpled one-liter mug; Old Europe, which is serving Spaten; and Cafe Berlin, whose patio should be filled with people sipping Paulaner in the warm weather.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | October 4, 2007; 5:41 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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We go to Old Europe for an Oktoberfest dinner every year, but this year we want to go somewhere that serves organic meat. Where would you recommend that preserves as much authenticity as possible (Omni Shoreham: no thank you) but meets this dietetic/ethical need?

Posted by: Amanda | October 9, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

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