Metro Times is no stranger to sponsoring quality beer fests. This week, it’s Oktoberfest, which takes place at the Royal Oak Farmers Market on Saturday, Oct. 11. Over 60 breweries will be on hand with their libations, some made halfway around the world, some made right here at home.
Like its predecessors, Oktoberfest will be a sampling event. You’ll get a tasting cup and 15 tickets, each of which is worth a 3-ounce pour. If 15 samples are just too few for you, more tickets are available for purchase. Over 100 beers will be available, so there’s a good chance you’ll want a few extra pours. For 20 extra bucks, beer lovers will be deemed “VIP,” a status that includes five extra tickets, early admission, and access to rare and limited seasonals.
Many of the breweries you’ll see will be familiar faces. Griffin Claw, Frankenmuth, MIP, and New Belgium generally make appearances, though this time around they’ll be focusing on Oktoberfests, ciders, and pumpkin-flavored beers. Griffin Claw in particular will be featuring their Screaming Pumpkin Ale, which Julie Pete, the brewery’s tap room manager and director of events, says is really big for the brewery right now. The beer is currently being canned and sold in stores across the state, so beer fest is a great place to try it before you buy it.
Similarly Griffin Claw will be serving up Norm’s Raggedy Ass IPA, a popular brew that’s also available in cans. A lemon tripel and bourbon stout will be available to taste at beer fest, both of which are exclusive to Griffin Claw’s Birmingham tap room.
Pete says participating in these events is great for the brewery because they’re spreading the word and making people familiar with their brand.
“We’re growing so fast,” she says of Griffin Claw. “We really want to get out there and get involved with our neighbors. That’s why we like doing events at the Royal Oak Farmers Market — it’s basically in our backyard.”
Motor City Brewing Works isn’t new by any stretch of the imagination. They’ve been in Midtown for 20 years, making belly-filling brick-oven pizzas and Ghetto Blaster all the while. This will be, however, the first time in quite a while that they’re participating in the Royal Oak Beer Fest series. They’ll be serving three seasonal beers: a pumpkin ale, a cider, and an Oktoberfest, along with the ever-popular Ghettoblaster.
Michigan-based Arcadia Ales will be on hand with nine beers, including their fall seasonal Jaw-Jacker, a 6.5 percent spiced amber ale. Rapunzel, a wheat IPA, Hopmouth, a double IPA, B-Craft, a double black IPA, Loch Down, a Scotch ale, and London Porter, an English-style porter, will all be available as well.
Locals Frankenmuth Brewery will have six beers, including their Oktoberfest and Harvest Ale, along with winter seasonal Christmas Town Ale, which will see an early debut this year at Beer Fest. Their other offerings include Batch 69 American IPA, Little Bavaria Pilsner, Old Detroit Amber Ale, and Tornado Black IPA.
Other local breweries include Atwater, Rochester Mills, Jolly Pumpkin, and Leelanau. National brands like New Belgium, Blue Moon, Magic Hat, and Leinenkugel will be serving up fall seasonals, ciders, and Oktoberfests to boot.
Tim Idzikowski is the man behind the grill at Detroit BBQ Company. He and his cohorts will be cooking up brisket, burnt ends, ribs, pulled pork, sausage, and chicken as well as smoked brisket chili and “probably cornbread” at Beer Fest. A finer pairing than barbecue and beer there is not. The barbecue cook is a regular vendor at the tasting event for reasons that go beyond sharing his perfectly smoked meats with the crowd.
“Beer is in the top three of my favorite things in the world,” says Idzikowski. “The other two I probably shouldn’t mention, though.”
With food and beer covered, the only thing left to worry about is entertainment, and Beer Fest has plenty of it. Games like Hammer-Schlagen beg attendees to “get hammered” and cornhole, birdy golf, and Giant Jenga are worthy diversions throughout the evening as well. Kaleido and Cosmic Groove will provide live music, so there’s usually some drunk dancing by the end of the night too. mt
Royal Oak Beer Fest’s Okotberfest takes place on Saturday, Oct. 11 at Royal Oak Farmers Market; 316 E. 11 Mile Rd., Royal Oak; 248-246-3276; royaloakbeerfest.com; tickets are $45 for general admission and $65 for VIP.