Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer festival, is held every year in Munich, Germany but there’s plenty of chances to celebrate here in Pittsburgh! The celebration started in 1810 to honor the marriage of Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese and today is held over a two-week period, starting in September and ending on the first Sunday in October. Each year, over six million people attend the festival in Munich to drink 1.5 million gallons of beers and eat hundreds of thousands of sausages and roasted chickens. Several Pittsburgh establishments are doing their own interpretation of the party so here’s a list of some of the top offerings!
Penn Brewery: a traditional Oktoberfest celebration
September 28-29, 5pm-midnight; September 30, 4pm-10pm
800 Vinial Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Located in the Deutschtown neighborhood of the North Side in their historical and architecturally unique buildings, Penn Brewery’s Oktoberfest is considered the best and most authentic among previous attendees. Large, outdoor tents keep party goers dry from any inclement weather as they enjoy craft beer and homemade cuisine.
There are nine of their own beers on tap, including Oktoberfest, Pilsner, Dark, Gold, Allegheny Pale Ale, and Kaiser Pils, and German dishes such as wursts, sauerkraut, soft pretzels, hot German potato salad, and apple strudel. There’s also live alpine entertainment every night and a beer trivia contest on the 28th at 7pm with a $100 Penn Brewery gift certificate as the prize.
Hofbrauhaus: party with hundreds of your closest friends
September 28-29, 11am-2am; September 30, 12pm-12am
2705 South Water Street.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
The Hofbrauhaus in Pittsburgh is modeled after the 400-year-old legendary brewery in Munich, which was once the royal brewery of Bavaria and is now a top tourist attraction. The Pittsburgh franchise, in the bar-centric South Side area, features a large Bier Hall with hundreds of people singing and dancing along to live music, a smaller, quieter dining room, and a large, outside, multilevel Bier Garden along the banks of the Monongahela.
Hofbrau brews their own Premium Lager, Light Lager, Dunkel, Hefe Weizen, and seasonal (naturally Oktoberfest currently) beers and has a full menu of German fare. For their Oktoberfest celebration, they’ll have contests, entertainment, German dance groups, strolling musicians, circus acts, and more for the (supposedly) family-friendly event.
Church Brew Works: Oktoberfest in a holy setting
September 13-October 7, 11:30am-9:30pm (11pm on weekends)
3525 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
Church Brew Works in Lawrenceville was converted from St. John the Baptist Church to the current bar and restaurant. Many original features of the church were renovated and used in the eatery, such as restored stained glass, pews used for seating, and the former altar now housing the beer tanks.
Church Brew Works makes their own hand crafted beer and taps their Oktoberfest and Hoptoberfest for the festivities. Specials include Oktoberfest pizza (topped with bratwurst, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, gherkins, and caraway seeds), Jager Schnitzel, potato pancakes, bratwurst and sauerkraut pierogies, and German chocolate cake. Live music is provided on the weekends by the Grkman Duo.
Dogtoberfest: celebrate in a different way with your favorite pooch
October 6, 11am-4pm
Next to McCormick and Schmick’s
2667 Sidney St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Are you an animal lover looking for a unique way to commemorate Oktoberfest? Dogtoberfest, sponsored by the Coalition to Adopt, Rehome, and Match Abandoned Animals, highlights the multitude of resources available for adopting pets in the Pittsburgh area, with hundreds of adoptable animals on premise.
The outdoor festival features a Pooch Pride Costume Parade, with a $5 entry fee and $500 in prizes, live music, homemade food, specialty vendors, training demonstrations, and ask-a-vet and ask-a-trainer booths. While the organizations at Dogtoberfest focus on educating people on the perks of adopting a pet instead of buying one, your own personal pets are welcome to attend and socialize as well.
Phipps Conservatory: Oktoberfest with a botanical twist
October 12, 7pm-10pm
$12 conservatory admission
700 Frank Curto Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, one of America’s greenest public gardens, opened in 1893 and has 19 indoor and outdoor gardens showcasing different varieties of plants and flowers from around the globe.
For their Oktoberfest celebration, the cafe at Phipps has seasonal beer selections, such as Penn Brewery Oktoberfest, Great Lakes Oktoberfest, and Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale, specialty cocktails featuring apple cider, rum, white wine, and cinnamon, and smalls plates of pretzels, bratwurst, potato pancakes, and stuffed cabbage rolls. There will also be live music and a sneak peek at the Fall Flower Show, which children are welcome to attend.