Oktoberfest Tampa finally arrives this weekend

Plus four other local Oktoberfests happening in the meantime.

click to enlarge Oktoberfest Tampa finally arrives this weekend
James Ostrand

Let loose a bit this weekend and keep the Oktoberfest party going. A bevy of local spots are hosting events perfect for everyone, from beer connoisseurs to families to partake in. And one of Tampa Bay’s biggest events happens this weekend at downtown Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Park.

That means you’ll have to wait to once again attend what’s evolved into a massive everyone’s-welcome, three-day party complete with Bavarian games, food, and cold beer including three brews—festbier, hefeweizen and dunkel—made exclusively by Green Bench Brewing Co. for Oktoberfest Tampa.

No Tampa Bay brewery has ever produced three beers for the festival, co-founder Nicol Winkler told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, but this year, Green Bench did. The St. Petersburg beer maker’s head brewer, Khris Johnson, has already brewed festbier for a few years, and he recently brewed with Ashleigh Carter and Bill Eye of Bierstadt Lagerhaus in Denver.

“When we had the opportunity to make and drink some of our favorite classic styles with some of our most dedicated friends, we could not pass it up,” Johnson wrote in a release.

According to Winkler, every Munich Oktoberfest features a light, medium and dark brew, and one wheat.

“While we may not be in Munich, we want to thrive to celebrate Oktoberfest with as much tradition as possible,” Winkler said. “Green Bench is helping us achieve just that for our guests!”

The hefeweizen is a straw colored weisse beer brewed with hops and wheat infused resulting in aromas of bread, banana, clove and some bubblegum. Dunkel is also a rich beer, dark with German malts and a nutty flavor. And don’t forget festbier, a golden lager that carries a malty flavor and carbonation. 

As for COVID-19 precautions, purchasing tickets is mostly contactless, and sanitation stations will be available. Kids under 12 get in free, but don’t you dare ask them to drive you home.

Here are four other local Oktoberfests you can also take part in this weekend.

Oktoberfest Tampa. Friday-Sunday. Oct. 8-10. $10-25 for GA tickets, $125-175 for VIP. 600 N Ashley Dr., Tampa. oktoberfesttampa.com

Mr. Dunderbak’s Brewpub The home to year-round German fun brings back its multi-weekend DunderFest event. Besides their regular menu, expect live music, door prizes, stein hoists and more. DunderFest is on Thursday-Saturday through Oct. 24. 14929 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, 813-977-4104. dunderbaksbeer.wordpress.com

Dunedin Brewery Florida's oldest microbrewery kicks its 3-day celebration off on Oct. 7 where live music includes a set from Perpetual Groove's Brock Butler (performing as "Perpetual Guava"), Tom Bennett Band's Dark Side of the Moon tribute, a live hip-hop mixtape by Ricca Project and the Deleon Family Oktoberfest Band. Thursday-Sunday. Oct. 7-10. Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. dunedinbrewery.com

Brewed Life Festivals Loads of beer, German food, and select cocktails to sample. Enjoy live music and games too. Saturday, Oct. 9 4-8 p.m. $19-49 for tickets. 535 4th Ave. N, St. Petersburg, 727-892-5202. stpetebeers.com

BarrieHaus Beer Co. The lauded microbrewery marks the season with limited-edition steins of Oktoberfest Marzen and live German folk music. Next Saturday-Sunday. Oct. 16-17. 1403 E 5th Ave., Ybor City, 813-242-2739. barriehaus.com

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