Right now the beer is flowing non-stop in Munich as Oktoberfest hits its midpoint and rages towards an early October finale. Millions of people are shaking the tents and downing crazy amounts of sudsy lagers and mountains of roast chickens, dumplings, and pretzels. But, not all of us are going to make it to Munich this year for what’s arguably the best beer festival in the world. That doesn’t mean we can’t partake in a little bit of Oktoberfest bacchanal right here at home.
The US Census Bureau pegs German heritage at 15 percent of our population. That equates to a lot of German culture bleeding into the American tapestry — especially if we’re talking beer. So we dug in to find some of the best Oktoberfest celebrations around the country. These are all worth a visit for a beer or three plus at least one of those giant pretzels.
LEAVENWORTH OKTOBERFEST, WA — Weekends of September 29th/30th, October 6th/7th, & October 13th/14th
Out in Washington state is a tourist town called Leavenworth. Years ago, the former mining town reinvented itself as a Bavarian tourist spot and hasn’t looked back. The town was almost entirely rebuilt in a postcard-perfect Alpine fashion and has a real feel of being in a small Bavarian village in Germany. Leavenworth’s Oktoberfest gets tens-of-thousands of visitors yearly. And it’s pretty idyllic. There are local breweries, German eateries — it’s a legit Bavarian town nestled high in the Cascade mountains that’ll transport you to an Oktoberfest without leaving America