For those of you who are unfamiliar with (or don’t remember) Denver’s Oktoberfest, it is an annual bier festival and celebration of German heritage (especially the heritage associated with bier). While the original Oktoberfest is still held in Munich each year, I actually prefer Denver’s Oktoberfest for the following reasons:
1. It’s not all the way in Germany;
2. I live in Denver;
3. Germany’s Oktoberfest doesn’t allow dogs.
Since I consider myself an expert on all things cultural and bier-related, I thought I might as well provide you with a bit of guidance to best take advantage of all that Oktoberfest has to offer.
1. EAT AUTHENTIC GERMAN CUISINE
Bratwurst: German sausages were invented in Northern Bavaria in the early 14th century, and have since become a staple of German cuisine and American barbecues. They received the name “bratwurst” after the European Sausage Council of 1805 voted their original name, “slippery meat torpedo”, wasn’t sexy enough for the modern population.
Sauerkraut: For years, people complained this fermented cabbage dish was “too sour” for their liking. However, Germany recently released an official statement on the matter, “If you vould prefer to eat ze sveet cakes und pastries, you are more zan velcome to tiptoe your delicate palate back to France. Ve have been zere a couple of times, but ve did not like it, und zat is ze reason ve left.” (Fun fact: The German word “sauerkraut” roughly translates to “old cabbage butts” in English!)
Pretzels: First off, German pretzels are not the same as the wimpy pretzels you buy at grocery stores. Those pretzels are the skinny, weird, double-jointed cousin of the snack world. You know, the cousin who made you watch his magic tricks in the basement while your inebriated aunt babysat when you were younger? German pretzels, on the other hand, are the cool, older cousin who drives muscle cars and gave you bottle rockets that one Labor Day. These pretzels are the size of a spare tire, and can double as a life preserver [source needed]. (Fun fact: Aside from its coastlines, Germany is an entirely landlocked country!)
2. LISTEN TO AUTHENTIC GERMAN MUSIC
Polka: If you’ve ever heard polka music, you are probably from Germany/Wisconsin, or you are my grandparents. For the rest of you, polka is the sound an accordion makes when you fill it with bier and drop it down a flight of stairs. Obviously you can see why it makes the perfect drinking music.
House/Techno: Much of German dance culture revolves around their robotic efficiency, so it makes sense for them to enjoy music written by and for robots. (Fun fact: Michael Bay used German techno music for the sound effects in the Transformer movies!)
99 Luftballons: Fun fact (Yes, another one): Germany’s Parliament has ignored multiple phone calls from Chancellor Angela Merkel requesting this song replace David Hasselhoff’s “Du” as Germany’s national anthem!
3. ENJOY AUTHENTIC GERMAN GAMES
Keg Bowling: Any amateur can poke some holes in a ball and roll it towards a bunch of Dr. Phil-shaped wooden dolls. It takes a real champion to drink an entire keg of bier, and use it to knock down other empty kegs of bier.
Bier Drinking: This is probably my favorite German game. Everybody wins!
4. ENTER AUTHENTIC GERMAN CONTESTS
Stein Hoisting: This test of strength awards the person who can hold two steins at arm’s length for the longest time. Each stein holds a full liter of bier, and has a total weight of 11.5 pounds (9.5 if it’s light beer). The contest complies with the official regulations of the International Federation of Stein Hoisting (IFOSH), and the winners will be crowned World Champions of Stein Hoisting. You may have missed the Olympics, but IFOSH has made your dreams come true. While stamina and grit are a challenge in itself, most competitors agree, the hardest part is holding the bier for that long without drinking it.
Long Dog Derby: This canine competition is the Kentucky Derby of wiener-shaped animals. The winner of this race wins breeding rights to the famed Oscar Meyer line of dachshunds. Note: Judges have announced they will be on the lookout for humans dressed as weiner dogs this year. Partially because it’s an unfair advantage, and partially because it is terrifying.
Bratwurst Eating Contest: This test of intestinal fortitude is not for the faint of heart. Competitors train for years for this prestigious contest, but there is always room for an underdog! If you would like to join in this year’s competition, I suggest you start by practicing at home with a spotter. If you can’t find a friend to spot you, just head down to the local playground and ask some kids if they would like to watch you put some slippery meat torpedoes in your mouth. Their parents will surely appreciate your competitive spirit.
5. DRINK AUTHENTIC GERMAN BIER
Spaten, Franziskaner, und Becks are among the many tasty brews you can enjoy at this year’s Denver Oktoberfest. Wash them down with shots from the Fireball whisky tent, then proceed to unleash a whirlwind of good decisions upon the world. See you on the other side!