In Shell Beach, where I live, the party rarely comes to you. That's why I love this time of year there.
The Old Vienna Restaurant and Beer Garden is just around the corner from my house and Oktoberfest there brings a six-week party.
Thursday through Sunday from now until Nov. 3, the restaurant celebrates with food, music and of course beer -- the next best thing to being in the big tents in Munich, as the restaurant owners say.
Beer is served in large steins and Trio Internationale, the lederhosen-clad house band, gets the crowd going with traditional songs followed by Emimen or John Denver performed with an accordian. (Thursdays and Sundays feature more traditional music, and you never know what you'll get on Friday and Saturdays.)
Old Vienna serves a special menu during Oktoberfest, which usually packs the place to the gills. For $37, you have the choice between:
- Oktoberfest Huhn und Bier: Half chicken, roasted and seasoned with paprika, the traditional Munich Oktoberfest meal, served with 1/2 liter of tap beer.
- Wurstmeister: smoked bratwurst and bratwurst. Recommended with the German potato salad.
- Goulash: The spicy robust "herdsman's stew" made with pork and a rich onion, paprika gravy.
- Kassler Rippchen: Two smoked pork loin cuts, bone in, a traditional "old country" favorite.
- Sauerbraten: Choice lean beef marinated in red wine with traditional spices, served thinly sliced with an authentic ginger/beef gravy.
- Schnitzel: Center-cut pork loin, pounded thin, lightly breaded and flash-fried to light golden brown.
Call 773-4521 for reservations, which are recommended.
Firestone Walker and River Oaks Hot Springs celebrate the fall harvest in a one-day blowout next Saturday, Sept. 29, called Oaktoberfest.
The event, held at River Oaks in Paso Robles, is a fundraiser for Hospice of SLO County. Firestone Walker pours an Oktoberfest beer brewed especially for and available only at the event, with a tapping ceremony at 12:30 p.m. There are traditional German foods, polka music, tasting of Firestone and German ales, German-style wines from local wineries, cheese, cigars and a costume contest.
For the stout of heart, there's also the Beer Olympics, with keg tossing, stein racing and barrel rolling, starting at 1 p.m.
Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 day of event and can be purchased here. They include admission, an event stein, your first beer, and a card to sample your choice or beer or wine.