Category Archives: Octoberfest

Jax Beer Guy teams up with Play Harder Tours for Helen, Ga. Oktoberfest package

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It is with great pleasure and quite a bit of excitement that I announce my partnership with Play Harder Tours for the first of what we hope will be many Jax Beer Guy beer adventures.

For our first destination we wanted something that was quintessentially beer-related. We could think of nothing better than Oktoberfest Printin Helen, Ga., the largest Oktoberfest celebration in the United States.

Nestled in the North Georgia mountains, Helen is a delightful town that has been turned in to an authentic German Alpine village. On its picturesque main street you will find an outdoor Bier Garten, an authentic German bakery, quaint shops and restaurants and loads of charm.

The festival takes place in the village Festhalle where you will be entertained by German oom-pah-pah bands, witness — and hear — alphorns blown, cow bells struck and accordions squeezed. Attendees will be dressed up in their finest drndles and lederhosen and polka dancing is sure to be the preferred dance floor activity.

In the Festhalle you tables will be set up in long rows — just like in Munich — for socializing with friends both new and old while enjoying mugs of cold German beer and eating brats, pretzels and more.

To learn more about Helen and the surrounding area, read my article from the Folio Weekly published March 1st.

If you have always wanted to attend this amazing event, now is your chance. Our trip includes luxury round-trip transportation to and from Helen by motor coach, tickets to the famous Helen Oktoberfest celebration and a few other surprises we have up our sleeves for you.

The round-trip motor coach transportation and Oktoberfest ticket is a steal at just $220 per person. In addition, single, double or quadruple occupancy rooms can be reserved through Play Harder Tours beginning at just $60 per person.

Contact Bill at (904) 910-7009 or for details or to reserve your spot today. This is going to be a very popular tour and space is limited, so reserve your place at the party today!

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Posted by on April 3, 2017 in Beer, Octoberfest


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Oktoberfest 2014 now in full swing

programma-oktoberfestIn the Old Country, otherwise known as Bavaria, September brings about the most beloved of all ‘fests; Oktoberfest. Today Oktoberfest is the world’s largest fair held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It is a 16-day festival running from late September to the first weekend in October that hosts more than 6 million people from around the world.

To provide more on the scope of Oktoberfest, one has only to look at the astounding numbers generated by the event each year. Last year the event was attended by 6.4 million people, who consumed more than nine million liters of beer, ate more than 500,000 roasted chickens and 330,000 sausages. The festival grounds covered 42 acres – approximately the size of 32 Everbank Fields – and contained 14 massive beer tents with room for up to 10,000 partiers. Waitresses at Oktoberfest must be able to carry up to 10 full steins of beer – each weighing five pounds when full – without spilling.

To the locals Oktoberfest is known as “die Wies’n,” after the informal name of the fairgrounds. Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture, having been held since 1810. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations – including Jacksonville’s Jaxtoberfest – modeled after the original Munich event.

The beginnings of Oktoberfest harken back to 1810 when Crown Prince Ludwig, who later became King Ludwig I, married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12. The happy couple wanted to share their joyous occasion with the citizens of their beloved Munich, so they invited all to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates. The fields were named Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s meadow”) in honor of the Crown Princess, and have kept that name ever since, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the “Wies’n”. Nearly 40,000 Bavarians crowded the fields and enjoyed the fanfare and revelry.

The event ended with horse races attended by the Royal Family. The decision to repeat the horse races the following year gave rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest. In 1816, carnival booths began appearing at the event with prizes consisting of silver, porcelain, and jewelry. The founding citizens of Munich assumed responsibility for festival management in 1819 and it was decided to make the Oktoberfest an annual event.

Only beer conforming to the Reinheitsgebot, at a minimum of 13.5% Stammwürze (approximately 6% alcohol by volume) may be served at Oktoberfest. To tie the festival to its home town, only beers brewed within the city limits of Munich are allowed. Only beers meeting these criteria may be designated Oktoberfest beer. Other similar beers, brewed outside of Munich, are more correctly called Oktoberfest-style.

There are only six breweries that meet all the above criteria. They are:

  •  Augustiner-Bräu
  • Hacker-Pschorr-Bräu
  • Löwenbräu
  • Paulaner-Bräu
  • Spatenbräu
  • Staatliches Hofbräu-München

In 1950 the festival adopted a ceremonial opening presided over by the incumbent mayor of Munich. In the new tradition, at high noon on the first day of the festival there is a 12-gun salute followed immediately by the mayor tapping and drawing the first beer of the festival. When the first stein is filled, the mayor faces the crowd and shouts, “O’zapft is!” which translates to, “It is tapped!” The mayor then presents the first mug to Minister-President of the State of Bavaria. After the ceremony the beer begins to flow and the party truly fires up.

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Posted by on September 26, 2014 in Octoberfest


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Red Robin serves up an Oktoberfest beer milkshake

When thoughts turn to a cold frosty one, most think of a beer, but to Donna Ruch, master mixologist at the Red Robin Gourmet Burgers restaurant chain it could mean a beer spiked milkshake. The new concoction was launched this week to commemorate Oktoberfest along with several other items themed for the yearly German festival that celebrates everything beer.

In a story on the Fox News website, Ruch says, “Nothing says Oktoberfest better than a beer, so I incorporated the fun spirit of Red Robin into this innovative milkshake.” The milkshake is a mixture of Samuel Adams Octoberfest beer, vanilla ice cream, vanilla syrup, and caramel sauce.

Other Oktoberfest-themed dishes from the chain include pretzel bites with beer cheese and beer mustard and an Oktoberfest Burger served on a pretzel bun with beer mustard, Swiss cheese, onions, ham, and lettuce.

But, Red Robin’s shake is not the only foray beer has made into ice cream. In 2006 ice cream wizards Ben and Jerry’s introduced a flavor named Black & Tan and based on the beer drink of the same name. The flavor combined non-alcoholic cream stout, swirled with chocolate ice cream, and topped with a foamy stout ice cream head. The flavor was pulled after it was discovered Irish-Americans found the name offensive because it was shared by a group of British ex-servicemen renowned for their brutality during the Irish War of Independence.

Another Ben & Jerry’s flavor, Duff & D’oh!Nuts was produced only for the premier of The Simpsons Movie in 2007. The flavor combined chocolate and cream stout ice cream with chunks of glazed chocolate donuts. It was only available at the premiere on the movie in Springfield, Vt., and in Scoop Shops the night before the DVD release.

Another restaurant chain that serves beer spiked milkshakes is TGI Friday’s. The sweet beer shake uses vanilla ice cream, Guinness Stout, chocolate syrup, and chocolate shavings in its recipe. And movie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse offers a Pecan Porter milkshake that sends some movie patrons to heaven.

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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Beer, Food, Octoberfest


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Tap the Kegs! It’s Oktoberfest!

Oktoberfest 2005 - Paulaner-Festhalle - front

Image via Wikipedia

Summer is unofficially over with Labor Day past us. Ahead are the cooler autumn days filled with preparations for the winter and its full accompaniment of holidays. Beer-minded folk look forward to this time of year for the heartier seasonal beers that it brings like Marzen, Pumpkin Ales, Oktoberfest, Dunkelweizen, and other spiced brews.

Perhaps the most famous of the list is Oktoberfest. Many have heard of the festival held in Munich, Germany every year from the end of September until the first weekend in October. But, few know that there is a style of beer named for the event nor do they know the reason or history of the celebration. The story is about a Prince, a Princess, a weddings, a horse race, and, of course, beer.

Once again, as I enjoy doing so often, it is time to Paulaner Oktoberfesttake you on a fantastical trip into European history to discover the origin of not only a great beer, but also a great celebration. Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for 1810.

The party was a rousing success and as word traveled far and wide, Bavarians began to think that making this into a yearly event to boost the Bavarian agricultural show might be a pretty good thing. So, in 1811 Oktoberfest was held in conjunction with the first agricultural show. By 1816, carnival booths began to appear at the ‘Fest and the party grew. In 1819 festival management was assumed by the founding citizens of Munich and the things really started to take off.

But, Oktoberfest was still rather tame for the first 100 years or so. It was more agriculture than party and the only entertainment was the horse race and the few carnival tents and food vendors that set up there each year. Several times during these years the festival was cancelled due to cholera outbreaks and wars.

Beer tents first began to appear in 1896 to quench the thirst of parched festival attendees. Little did these first revelers know that in the coming years the tents would grow to hold as many as 5,000 visitors and the festival would expand to host an estimated six to seven million partiers.

After the end of World War II, Oktoberfest kicked into high gear. In 1950 the festival began its long tradition of a twelve gun salute and ceremonial tapping of the first keg by the incumbent Mayor of Munich as its official opening. The tapping is followed by a cry of “O’ zapft is!” (“It’s tapped!”). The first beer of the ‘Fest is then drawn and given to the Minister-President of Bavaria and the drinking commences.

By 1960, Oktoberfest had grown into the monumental world-famous festival depicted by German men in lederhosen and tirolerhute hats and women in dirndls. The beer tents and halls turn into seas of humanity all consuming massive steins of German beers brewed specifically for the event.

Today, Oktoberfest is known as the Largest Volksfest (People’s Fair) in the World. In 2010 the festival attracted 6.4 million visitors, only 72% of these visitors are from Bavaria. The rest are from other EU countries, the United States, Asia, and the rest of the world. While we are on the topic of statistics, a look at the astounding numbers that come out of this yearly beer blast are in order. For the most part, the drinking at Oktoberfest is done in the huge beer tents erected specifically for the event. In all there are fourteen large tents and twenty smaller tents. The largest of the tents, the Winzerer-Fahndl tent, can seat nearly 8,500 partiers inside and another 2,500 outside. When you combine the capacity of all the tents, there are in excess of over 100,000 seats available. During the run of the festival, attendees will consume nearly 2 million gallons of beer generally served one liter at a time, this equates to over 7 million liters. Hungry drinkers eat more than 500,000 chicken dinners, 240,000 sausages, and 70,000 pork knuckles.

Oktoberfest beer is of a variety called Märzen. Darker and stronger than traditional beer, Märzen contains up to 6% alcohol, is bottom-fermented, and is lagered for at least 30 days. The style is characterized by a medium to full body, a malty flavour and a clean dry finish. In Germany, the term covers beers which vary in color from pale (Helles Märzen), through amber to dark brown (Dunkles Märzen). Before the advent of modern refrigeration techniques, this type of beer was brewed in March (as its name suggests) and allowed to age through the summer, so that it was ready to drink by late summer or early fall. Like all German beer, the Oktoberfest beer is brewed according to strict German standards (called the Reinheitsgebot and in effect since 1516) that precisely define the four ingredients allowed in the brewing of beer: barley, hops, malt, and yeast.

Just 6 Munich breweries – Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, and Spaten – are permitted to serve beer at the festival. Beer is served by the Maß, a one-liter mug, and costs about 8 euros. Beer maids and waiters must be able to carry 10 of these beer-filled mugs at a time.

Oktoberfest Beers to Try

Ayinger Oktoberfest Marzen

Tis tasty brew was served last year at the Springfield Brew Crew Oktoberfest party and was a big hit. Its malty and clean hop profile was refreshing and satisfying. Many described the beer as having a slight apple flavor to it. It is well worth seeking out at your local beer purveyor.

Paulaner Oktoberfest

Once brewed as only a seasonal beer, Paulaner’s Oktoberfest is now available year-round. It has a caramelized, barely malty nose and a rich, creamy full-flavored finish.

Spaten Oktoberfest Beer

Created in 1872, Oktoberfest Beer by Spaten is the first true Oktoberfest beer. This is a medium-bodied beer with rich, roasted malt flavor and perfectly balanced hops. With rich mouth feel and underlying malty sweetness, this is one of the most popular beers at Oktoberfest each year.

Samuel Adams Octoberfest

Pours a rich, clear amber with a two fingered off white/light tan head that drops slowly. Aromas of caramelly malt grain and toast. No hop aroma. There are flavors of deep caramel malt, biscuit and toast, with a balancing bitterness, but very malt forward. Mouth feel is medium to light.

Harpoon Octoberfest Beer

Pours burnt orange to reddish copper in color with a nice off-white, frothy head. Aromas present are of malt, slight fruit — maybe orange – slight hops. The flavor is a bit spicy with nice malts and medium body.

Local Jacksonville Oktoberfest Celebrations

Intuition Ale Works – September 24, 1:00 PM – 9:00 PM

All the stops are being pulled out for the mother of all Oktoberfest celebrations here in Jacksonville at Intuition this year. The brewers are preparing two special edition brews for the occasion – a traditional Oktpberfest Marzen and a hefeweizen. There will be all-you-can-eat German wursts and other German foods, beer games, commemorative mugs, and a German costume contest.

Tickets are available now online at or at the Tap Room during regular business hours, Wednesday to Saturday, 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM. Prices are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. There are a limited number of tickets available.

Foodies USA – October 14

The Sheraton Jacksonville Hotel is the host for FoodiesUSA’s Jacksonville Oktoberfest 2011. At 5:00 PM there will be a Beer Pairing Dinner at Bold City Grill including a complete 5 course dinner perfectly paired with Bold City Beers. Afterwards, starting at 7:00 PM, explore the Bier Garden & Food Festival, where top beer and food vendors will bring their best for you to taste.

Tickets may be purchased online at The price for the Beer Dinner is $40, the Bier Garden is $25, or you can purchase both for $50.

Riverside Art Market Oktoberfest – October 21- 22

Come out Friday night after work, or anytime Saturday as RAM celebrates the cooler weather with some great German food, music, and fun!

Oktoberfest through the years has been a celebration of the end of the year harvest. Its raucous fun and revelry is matched only by the spring St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Enjoy the season with a stein of your favorite German beer and bratwurst.

Until next time,

Long Live the Brewers!


Marc Wisdom

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Posted by on September 12, 2011 in Beer, Beer Festival, Beer Styles, Events, Octoberfest, Travel


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Springfield Brew Crew OKTOBERFEST Sponsored by Champion Brands and Team Hopheads

Ah, October! It brings to mind many a serene thoughts; colorful trees, hayrides, pumpkins, football, and to the beer lover, OKTOBERFEST.

This month the Springfield Brew Crew is holding its soon-to-be-annual Oktoberfest and Team Hopheads is helping us all have a good time! In addition to supplying several awesome Oktoberfest beers, the first folks who arrive will recieve free glassware to drink the beer from. Now that’s something to wirte home about!
Last month, David Rigdon of Champion Brands and Team Hopheads attended our “Ah, Bock!” and “It’s the Great Pumpkin Beer, Brew Crew!” event and had a great time. “I really like what you guys have going here,” he said enthusiastically to me after the event.

Crew members, this is big stuff. We are becoming known throughout the Jacksonville area as the premier beer tasting club in the region. This kind of recognition can lead to big things (and I have already heard whispers of what some of those are — but, I’m not telling yet). Let’s keep the momentum going and show our sponsors that we really appreciate them!

Be sure to check out the website (MEETS and RULES pages) for details on the OKTOBERFEST event this Saturday night, October 16th from 7:30 to 11:30 at the Byres’ home, 310 E 3rd Street.

See you all there!