It's that time of year again where the beer flows freely and men can get away with wearing tight breeches and lederhosen — Oktoberfest! And how do we plan on celebrating here in Tampa Bay? By drinking a lot of beer. Check out this list of Oktoberfest-related events going on in the Bay so you can plan your festivities accordingly. All events are 21 and up, unless otherwise noted.
Saturday, Oct. 1: The South Tampa Dubliner Irish Pub's Third Annual Oktoberfest Celebration
Proving that even the Irish honor the Oktoberfest celebrations (and because it's another excuse to drink), the South Tampa Dubliner will be throwing another German-themed bash full of brews, traditional German fare and guys and gals in "traditional" Bavarian costumes. This all-day shindig will feature Oktoberfest-themed contests like the two-person log-sawing competition and a stein-holding contest, as well as giveaways, live music and plenty of German beer and brats to go 'round. Admission includes a free beer stein and tickets are available for pre-purchase at the pub. $5; 2 p.m.-3 a.m. Sat., Oct. 1, 2307 W. Azeele St., Tampa, 813-258-2257, thedublineririshpub.com.
Saturday, Oct. 1: 2nd Annual Ybor Oktoberfest Pub Crawl
The Ybor Oktoberfest Pub Crawl is back for another year of boozing and cruising in the historic and infamous Ybor District. This year's event will feature 18 pubs and patio bars from one end of the District to the other. Each pub will be offering a complimentary 4-ounce beer, and many spots will be giving out freebies and will have German food for sale. Participating bars include Blue Dog Bistro, The Bricks, Green Iguana, Hamburger Mary's, James Joyce Irish Pub, Mema's, New World Brewery, Game Time, Double Decker and more. To add even more fun to this fest, the pub crawl's official "Prize Patrol" will award gift certificates to participants who can answer Oktoberfest trivia questions (so be sure to browse Wikipedia beforehand). Registration will take place in the Centro Ybor courtyard where Pub Crawl T-shirts and maps will be provided. Register online at ybor.org (click "Oktoberfest" under the Upcoming Events tab) or on the day of the event (registration will close at 6 p.m.). $25; 4-8 p.m. 1600 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa, 813-241-8838, centroybor.com.
Saturday, Oct. 15: St. Pete Oktoberfest
Showing that St. Pete can throw an Oktoberfest bash just as good as the ones on the other side of the bridge (and that 'Burgers, too, have great taste in beer), the 'Burg will play host to a German food and craft beer fest taking place in the Grand Central District. St. Pete Oktoberfest will feature dozens of complimentary craft beer samples from over 30 local and national breweries. Food and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase. Purchase tickets in advance on the festival website. Free parking. $30, $50 for early entrance (gets you and extra hour of drinking); 5-9 p.m. 2100 Central Ave., St. Pete, stpeteoktoberfest.com.
Friday-Sunday, Oct. 14-16: Oktoberfest Tampa
Get out your lederhosen and dust off that giant boot-shaped glass because Oktoberfest Tampa is coming back to The Heights in South Tampa. This three-day beer fest will offer an array of German and domestic craft brews, plenty of brats and jumbo pretzels for sale, "Beer School" for homebrewers and some rather interesting drinking competitions, like stein-holding, keg-tossing, "Carry the Wench", "Schultz" burping contest and plenty more. Bonus for beer geeks: This event is the only spot in Florida to offer the limited Bavarian Royal Wedding Festbier from Warsteiner & Konig Ludwig. Book a VIP table for your crew and never have to leave your table to get beer, as it includes a server, plus you'll get a stein full of Warsteiner Oktoberfest and VIP parking. Purchase tickets and get more information on the event website. $8 pre-sale for drinkers or $15 for a weekend pass, $10 per day at the door, $75 each or $1000 for a group for VIP seating, $5 for designated drivers; 3 p.m.-12 a.m. Fri., 11 a.m.-12 a.m. Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun. 1910 N. Ola Ave., Tampa, oktoberfesttampa.com.
Friday, Oct. 14: Brews by the Bay at The Florida Aquarium
Have you ever seen a scuba diver in lederhosen? If it's something you need to scratch off your bucket list, head to the Florida Aquarium's annual Brews by the Bay event. Put on by Pepin Distributing, this beer fest will feature over 85 different brews from all over the world by both craft and macro breweries to sample for free in cute mini steins — from Beck's and Hoegaarden to Labatt's and Southern Tier. Also in attendance will be an array of Bay area restaurants offering complimentary small plates — 400 Beach, Datz, Taco Bus, Grass Root and many more. You can catch those German scuba dudes making a scene in the Coral Reef Gallery. Purchase tickets on the event's website or at the door (if still available. $50 early admission, $45 for Aquarium members, $60 on day of event; $75 for VIP (includes early admission); 8-11 p.m. 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa, 813-273-4000, brewsbythebay.com.