The Oktoberfests are here. Bavaria-appreciation-season is in full swing in the South Bay Area and we are there to experience it in all its Lederhosen-wearing glory. We were invited to the Second Annual Mountain View Oktoberfest, which was presented by Steins Beer Garden and Tied House, and the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce, with PayPal sponsoring.
It was another especially warm weekend, but hundreds of people braved the heat (many stayed committed to their leather lederhosen and thick, but beautiful, Germanic dresses), and drank happily underneath the massive, white beer tent which was erected adjacent to Steins Beer Garden.
The 7,000 square foot tent was airy and spacious. Massive German flags floated above the hundreds of people who sat side by side, eating (and drinking) traditional German cuisine, gulping and sipping, and of course occasionally raising their huge steins to yell: ‘Prost!’ The steins had to be bought at the festival in order to be allowed to drink. They came in two sizes: big and “how can you possibly hold that up without two hands,” liter-sized-huge.
At the end of the tent was a stage. The Alpiners USA, a large Bavarian-style music band, were dressed in full traditional Germanic garb, and entertained the crowd the entire weekend with their ‘Blasmusik’ sounds. Couples danced and some even did the polka. Most of all, however, the audience was eager to soak up all the the traditional songs which were sung in the Bavarian dialect. We were all enthralled with the horns, clarinet, and accordion, and of course, with the charming lead singer: Margot Turrell (pictured below). Her yodeling was a delight to listen to. Many of us sang along to the American tunes they covered as well (‘Johnny Be Good’ had the buzzed crowd smiling and laughing).
All the beer served at the festival, except for Tied House’s and Hermitage Brewery‘s brews, was traditionally German. Tied House made their own Oktoberfest Lager for the event while Hermitage Brewing made a cask of Apricot Ale, which was delicious, but disappeared quickly. Non-alcoholic beverages, such as lemonade and soda, were available.
The selection of German beers was wide and impressive: Spaten, Franziskaner, Weihenstephaner, Hofbrau Okfoberfest, and Dark Hefeweizen. The lines went quickly, which was ideal on such a hot day. In order to purchase beer, patrons had to purchase beer tickets. Two tickets would fill your stein to the top, while one would allow you half a stein. Festival organizers did a good job providing patrons shade, and bathroom lines were not long.
The grub varied from non-German, such as turkey legs, massive barbecued oysters, and steak- to the very- Bavarian. Stein’s Beer Garden served various German snacks such as sausage and pretzels. San Jose’s Teske’s Germania served larger, traditional, more heartier German dishes. Even if you missed the embroidered lederhosen outfits; the beer belly contest (quite the sight to see and yes awards were given for the most rotund belly); and the forearm-straining, Stein-holding contest- Teske‘s scrumptious assortment of sausages, tasty Sauerkraut, German-style mashed potatoes, and sausage dogs-reminded you that you were not just at any beer festival- but at a real Oktoberfest. Needless to say it all washed down wonderfully with the cold, refreshing beer.
Conveniently, the festival organizers sanctioned off a large, free children’s area. There was a jumpy house, face painting, and games and prizes for kids. Portions of proceeds from the festival went to local charities and nonprofit organizations such as the local TV station KMVT, SOAR, and CSA of Mountain View.
We gulped German beer, we tried different types of sausages, we danced, and we listened to some incredible music. Definitely bring a hat and arrange a safe ride home next year. If you are not too tired at the end of the festival, enjoy all that downtown Mountain View has to offer. Walk on over next door to Stein’s Beer Garden for more socializing or to have dinner. Stroll a few blocks to Tied House and mingle some more (their appetizers are to die for!).
Either way, we will see you next year. Prost!
Photos and Review by Anna Bagirov