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Where to celebrate Oktoberfest in Tampa Bay – the 2016 edition

Saturday, September 17th marks the first day of Oktoberfest in Munich, and breweries all around Tampa Bay are celebrating. Hofbrauhaus St. Pete, Lagerhaus, Big Storm, Coppertail, Rapp Brewing, and Pair O’ Dice are all hosting their own mini Oktoberfests this weekend. The festivities continue through the month of October with Tampa Oktoberfest, Oldsmar’s Top of the Bay Oktoberfest, Palm Harbor’s Rocktoberfest, and more. I went to many of these last year, so this year my Oktoberfest guide comes with photographs.

Hofbrauhaus Oktoberfest, St. Pete: September 16th 5 pm

St. Pete used to have its own Oktoberfest, but this year it has been replaced with a month-long festival of the arts (SPF16) and an Oktoberfest kick-off party at the St. Petersburg Hofbräuhaus this Friday, September 16th, at 5 pm. The party will also be celebrating the 1 year anniversary of Hofbräuhaus St. Pete, which opened in the historic Tramor Cafeteria building on 4th Street on September 14, 2015. There will be food & drink specials, entertainment from the Gulf Coast Enzainer Schuhplattler dance group, and Tampa Bay Rowdies players tending bar.

Gulf Coast Shuhplatter dance group performing at Tampa International Airport
Gulf Coast Shuhplattler dance group performing at Tampa International Airport
Hofbrauhaus St. Pete
Hofbrauhaus St. Pete

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Lagerhaus Oktoberfest, Palm Harbor: September 17th 12 pm-midnight

Lagerhaus is a small strip-mall microbrewery/beer garden in Palm Harbor, FL. It doesn’t have the tradition or history of Hofbrauhaus, but it does have great beer. For this year’s Oktoberfest, held on Saturday, September, 17th, there will be Schweinshaxen (pork shanks) in the beer garden, house-made Oktoberfest brats, Hofbräuhaus (HB) Oktoberfest and Maerzen beers, commemorative 1 L Oktoberfest steins from HB Munich, and a performance from the newly-formed Lagerhaus Polka band.

Oktoberfest 2015 in the Lagerhaus beer garden
Oktoberfest 2015 in the Lagerhaus beer garden
Schweinshaxen cooking over the fire pit at Lagerhaus
Schweinshaxen cooking over the fire pit at Lagerhaus

Big Storm Brewing Co. Oktoberfest, Odessa and Clearwater: September 16th and 17th

Big Storm Brewing Co. deserves special mention here because this local brewery actually brewed their own Oktoberfest beer. They tapped their seasonal Märzen lager, called “Oktoberfest,” on September 2nd, but the official Oktoberfest kick-off party hasn’t happened yet. On Friday, Sept 16th, they will be celebrating at the Pasco Taproom in Odessa, starting at 4 pm, with The Black Honkeys playing at 8 pm; and on Saturday, Sept 17th at the Pinellas Taproom in Clearwater, starting at 4 pm, with the Hunks of Funk playing at 7 pm. Details are posted on Brewbound and on Big Storm Brewing Co.’s events page.

Mad Beach Oktoberfest, Madiera Beach: September 16th-29th

Mad Beach Craft Brewing Company will be hosting a two-week-long Oktoberfest celebration with sausage platters and lager steins. While supplies last.

Coppertail Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest, Ybor: September 17th, 4-7 pm

Coppertail has also brewed its own Oktoberfest beer – the official Dunkel of Oktoberfest Tampa. They are having their Dunkel Launch Party on Saturday, September 17th, from 4-7 pm at Coppertail Brewing Co. in Ybor. Brats from Brats Sensation will be available. For details, check the Facebook event page.

Rapp Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest, Seminole: September 17th and 18th

I don’t have a lot of details on this one. There will be beer and food trucks. There will also be prizes for best German Oktoberfest outfits, so people might dress up. For details, see their Facebook event page.

Pair O’ Dice Oktoberfest, Clearwater: September 24th 6-11 pm

The third annual Pair O’ Dice’s Oktoberfest will be held on Saturday, September 24th, from 6 to 11 pm. Tickets are $25 and include a 1 L commemorative glass stein and the first fill. See their event page for more details. Brats Sensation will be there with authentic German bratwursts and pretzels. There will be Oktoberfest games and contests too.

German American Society of Pinellas Oktoberfest, Pinellas Park: Sept 23-24th, Sept 30-Oct 1, Oct 7-8

The German American Society’s Oktoberfest in Pinellas Park is said to be the most authentic Oktoberfest in Tampa Bay. It is also one of the longest – lasting three weekends instead of one. There will be German music, German food & drink, and German dancing.

Harbor Sounds Oktoberfest on Main, Safety Harbor: October 1, 12pm-10pm

I went to the Harbor Sounds Oktoberfest for the first time last year. The concert is the main event, and this year the Black Honkey’s will be playing on the Gazebo stage at 8:30 pm. The German food outside Tapping the Vine was a real highlight for me last year. Additional details are on the Safety Harbor Chamber website.

Main Street during Harbor Sounds Oktoberfest 2015
Main Street during Harbor Sounds Oktoberfest 2015
The Black Honkeys playing at Harbor Sounds Oktoberfest 2015
The Black Honkeys playing at Harbor Sounds Oktoberfest 2015
Tapping the Vine selling delicious German food during Harbor Sounds Oktoberfest 2015
Tapping the Vine selling delicious German food during Harbor Sounds Oktoberfest 2015

Dunedin Brewery’s OctoBEERfest: October 6th-9th

The Dunedin Brewery is celebrating their 16th annual Oktoberfest October 6th-9th with seasonal beer, German food, and live music. Details here: http://www.eventdaddy.net/dunedin/dunedin-brewerys-2016-oktobeerfest-oct-6th-7th-8th-9th/.

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Oktoberfest Tampa: October 7th, 8th, and 9

I haven’t been yet, but I’ve got my sights on Oktoberfest Tampa this year. In 2013, Oktoberfest Tampa was named one of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations in the U.S. by Shayla Martin of sheknows.com. It comes with all the standard ingredients: German food, beer, music, and dancing. But in this case, all the fun is situated in a beautiful waterfront park.

Tarpon Springs Oktoberfest: October 7th, 8th, and 9th

The Tarpon Springs Oktoberfest will be from Oct 7th through Oct 9th in historic downtown Tarpon Springs on Orange Street. Hacker Pschorr and Paulaner Munchen are sponsoring the event, so I would expect lots of good German beer. On Friday there will be a free concert from the Black Honkeys. For additional details, see the event website.

Indian Rocks Beach Oktoberfest: October 8th 11 am-7 pm

This Oktoberfest will be held in Indian Rock’s Kolb Park. Activities include live music, a keg throwing contest, and a stein carrying contest. See their events page for more details.

Dunderfest 2016: Thurs-Sun October 1st-22nd

Mr. Dunderbak’s is this awesome German restaurant/bar near the University of South Florida with an extensive menu of German food and a lot of beer. They will be serving authentic fest food during Dunderfest, their annual Oktoberfest celebration. There will also be live music and stein holding competitions on the weekends. For additional details, check their website: http://dunderbaks.ieasysite.com/.

Dunderbak's Oktoberfest sausage platter
Dunderbak’s Oktoberfest sausage platter

Rocktoberfest, Palm Harbor: October 22nd from 4pm-11pm

Rocktoberfest is essentially a big free rock concert held in downtown Palm Harbor (on Florida Ave.) one day in October – this year its on Saturday, October 22nd. There is plenty of beer at this one, but don’t count on having any traditional German food here. This year Soul Circus Cowboys, Greg Billings Band, and Stormbringer will be playing.

The Black Honkeys playing at Rocktoberfest 2015
The Black Honkeys playing at Rocktoberfest 2015
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Greg Billings Band playing at the LBC
Stormbringer playing at the LBC
Stormbringer playing at the LBC

Top of the Bay Oktoberfest, Oldsmar: October 21-23

This is one of the Tampa Bay area’s larger, more traditional, Oktoberfests. And it has been my family’s favorite for years. They set up a big tent at Tampa Bay Downs, where they will have German music, dancing, games, food, and drink. Now in its 21st year, this 3-day festival is the “largest and the longest-running Oktoberfest in West Central Florida.”

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The stein holding contest at the Top of the Bay Oktoberfest
The stein holding contest at the Top of the Bay Oktoberfest

Wherever you choose to celebrate Oktoberfest, I hope you have a great time. Prost!

 

Jennifer Ring

Jennifer Ring is a freelance writer & photographer living in the Tampa Bay area, on Florida’s west coast, home to some of the best beaches in the state.

http://flillustrated.com

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