Large-scale Oktoberfest celebrations from Munich to Snowbird — annual events that normally draw thousands — are canceled for 2020.
Yet, all is not lost for lederhosen-loving beer drinkers in Utah.
A few Utah breweries are either hosting or taking part in decidedly lower-key — and safety-centric — festivities this year.
Below are a few we’ve come across. Note: As always, it’s best to confirm details with individual hosts ahead of time. Updated Oct. 1
UTAH BREWERIES: If you’re planning Oktoberfest specials at your taproom, please send me a note and I’ll be happy to include details here.
Hopkins Brewing is hosting Hopkinstoberfest, an Oktoberfest celebration Oct. 2-3. A series of German-influenced small-batch beers will be released on Oct. 2. The popular Deseret Dunkel (see below) will return to join Campfire (a Rauchbier).
On the menu, the Local Brat is back (served with German-style red cabbage) and the Snowbird Oktoberfest band is scheduled to perform at 8 p.m. on Oct. 3.
Hopkins is re-releasing its Deseret Dunkel, the brewery’s version of a Munich Dunkel. “The aroma is malty sweet and bready,” owner/brewer Chad Hopkins says. “The flavor profile is rich and complex, displaying notes of toasted bread, chocolate, and graham cracker.”
With minimal bitterness, Deseret Dunkel is a dark lager without the roast character of a stout or a porter.
Hopkins Brewing, 1048 E. 2100 S., Salt Lake City; Friday-Saturday 11 a.m – midnight
Oktoberfest is always a special treat at Bohemian Brewery. The Midvale brewery reports that its “Märzenbier is tasting sehr gut and we have a new outdoor dining area with PLENTY of social distancing spaces to enjoy our food and brews. Prost!”
Bohemian Brewery, 94 E. Fort Union Blvd, Midvale; Monday-Friday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Templin Family Brewing threw a fantastic Oktoberfest party last year to celebrate the German-focused brewery’s first year in business. This year, it admits it’s doing things differently.
T.F is celebrating Oktoberfest for entire week this time around, from Sept. 28 to Oct. 4.
“We will have German lagers, ales, pretzels, meat boards, and Lebkuchenherz available for you to enjoy,” T.F. writes.
Its Das Dopplebock is now available. “Rich in flavor and history, this bier was originally brewed during the 17th century in Bavaria by monks to be consumed as ‘liquid bread’ during Lent,” T.F. writes on Instagram.
Expect a pronounced malty nose up front, with toasted bread and caramel malt. Das Dopplebock is a clean, smooth, slightly sweet finish with low bitterness.
T.F. Brewing, 936 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City; Monday-Thursday 12-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 12 p.m. – 12 a.m.; Sunday 12-9 p.m. 21+
Beer festival? In 2020? You don’t say… The inaugural Utah Motorsports Campus Oktoberfest will take place Oct. 10-11, 17-18, and 24-25 in Grantsville.
The event, which will be held on a 500-plus acre campus west of Salt Lake City, is open to all ages (21+ for alcohol consumption, obviously).
More than 50 local and regional beers will be available, and food vendors will be on-site with German-themed offerings.
Organizers will follow COVID-19 state and county guidelines and will limit the number of tickets available for each day. Other precautions include:
- Guests will have their temperature taken at the gate.
- Staff members will be wearing masks.
- Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the facility.
- Staff will be cleaning all areas and touchpoints regularly.
- Tables and chairs will be spread out.
- Six-foot spacing will be in place for all lines.
Among the breweries scheduled to pour (according to the event website):
- Bonneville Brewery
- Kiitos Brewing
- Moab Brewery
- Roadhouse Brewing Co.
- RoHa Brewing Project
- Salt Flats Brewing
- Shades Brewing
- Squatters Craft Beers
- Talisman Brewing Company
- Uinta Brewing
- UTOG Brewing
- Wasatch Brewery
Admission is free but you must obtain a ticket here. A limited number of “dog tickets” will be available if you’d like to bring your four-legged friend. All alcohol-drinking attendees must purchase a “designated refill” mug (16 or 32 ounces).
To learn more about the event, including daily non-beer-related activities, visit the Utah Motorsports Campus website.
Utah Motorsports Campus, 512 Sheep Lane, Grantsville; Saturdays 12-9 p.m.; Sundays 12-6 p.m.
If you’d like to learn a little more about Oktoberfest, check out this article we wrote (and podcast episode we recorded) in 2018: Fall Beers: From Oktoberfest to Pumpkin Spice.
And if you’d like a full-fledged Oktoberfest guide, visit our friends at PorchDrinking.com.
From Sept. 19-27, Bewilder Brewing will transform its Salt Lake brewery into a German beer hall. It’s a multi-day event “that is small in size, but big on an authentic good time,” Bewilder writes.
Fresh German-style beers will be on tap to accompany a full Oktoberfest food menu that includes German-sized pretzels, Oktoberfest sausages, slow-cooked pork knuckles, and more. Side note: If you’ve yet to try one of Bewilder’s many handmade sausages, you really should.
The Downtown SLC Oktoberfest will also feature music, extended outdoor seating, and prize drawings.
In terms of beer, Bewilder will debut its Festbier, and it will have a guest tap featuring Bohemian Brewery’s popular Oktoberfest (we wrote about that beer two years ago).
Masks required when not eating or drinking. Check out the full menu on Bewilder’s Facebook Page. 21+ only.
Bewilder Brewing, 445 S. 400 W., Salt Lake City; Monday-Thursday 12-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday 12-8 p.m. 21+
Angry Goat Pub & Kitchen
Ogden’s Angry Goat Pub & Kitchen is hosting Oktoberfest celebrations Sept. 25-26. The bar promises “beer specials, das boots, live music, food specials, a firkin from Kiitos, and more!”
The Angry Goat Pub & Kitchen, 2570 Washington Blvd., Ogden; Sept. 25-26, 4:30-11 p.m. 21+
4th West Oktoberfest
One of Utah’s popular Oktoberfest celebrations will look different this year.
The 5th Annual 4th West Oktoberfest, hosted by Mountain West Hard Cider, is a two-day, 21+ event Sept. 26-27 at The Garten at Mountain West Hard Cider. Standard admission is free and VIP tickets are available for $15.
The VIP package includes:
- VIP Entrance: Skip the line and get your wristband at the VIP entrance to get to the fun that much faster.
- Complimentary Oktoberfest Mug and Mystery Gift Pack: Mugs will be available for purchase separately as well. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, these will be commemorative and cannot be filled for use the day-of. The gift pack is exclusive to the VIP Experience and those items will not be available for purchase.
- A private table under the pavilion, with a server/bartender.
- Food provided by Diversion – A Social Eatery. We will use the number of tickets that you purchase to estimate the number of dishes that will be served. There will be food trucks on-site, but these small-bites will be available exclusively to the VIP guests.
- The minimum party size/purchase amount for the VIP Experience is five people (maximum of 10 per table). Parties with fewer guests the day-of will not be refunded the cost of unused tickets.
- Sales for the VIP Experience will end Sept. 24 at 3 p.m.
Whether you opt for standard admission or VIP, you’ll be treated to live music from local performers. Vendors will be spaced 8-10 feet apart to provide ample space for festival-goers to maintain a distance of at least six feet from one another.
Visit the 4th West Oktoberfest Facebook Event listings for details on live music, food vendors, and, of course, to purchase tickets.
Among the safety precautions:
- Masks required for all patrons and staff.
- Capacity limits are in place to ensure social distancing.
- Group sizes limited to 10.
- Table service offered in lieu of walk-up bar service.
The Garten at Mountain West Hard Cider, 417 N. 400 W., Salt Lake City; 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.