Hoppin’ Oktoberfest date night ideas

Oktoberfest wBeer lovers rejoice! It’s officially October, and that can only mean one thing — Oktoberfest.

The 16-day festival that was first held in 1810 in Munich has now grown into a worldwide celebration of all things beer. The first Oktoberfest was a celebration marking the marriage of the German crown prince, so what better way to honor Oktoberfest than by raising a glass or two with your spouse right here in Maryland?

Many restaurants and fall festivals in the Baltimore-Annapolis area celebrate the German tradition through beer, music and good food — all the makings of a perfect date night. At the Old Stein Inn in Edgewater, couples can enjoy a formal dining experience or head outdoors for a casual night in the biergarten, complete with authentic German music and food. Or celebrate local breweries, artisans and food trucks at the Hops and Harvest festival in Columbia.

You don’t have to travel to Germany to celebrate Oktoberfest. These hoppin’ venues promise more than just beer and brats for your next date night this October. Some are one day festivals and some are restaurants where you can celebrate any night of the month, or even the year.

Columbia Hops and Harvest Festival, Columbia
Featuring more than 25 regional and local craft breweries like Flying Dog, Heavy Seas and Raven Beer, the Hops and Harvest Festival focuses on local cuisine and libations. Food trucks like B’more Brulee, Carnivore Barbecue and Greek on the Street will provide tasty eats in addition to a menu offered by Clyde’s of Columbia. Enjoy music from one of Washington, D.C.’s, most popular cover bands, For the Win. A portion of all proceeds benefit Historic Ellicott City flood relief efforts.
Oct. 8, noon-4 p.m. for midday admission or 5-9 p.m. for twilight admission
$40, includes custom event cup and unlimited tastings
Columbia Lakefront, 10275 Wincopin Circle

Das best Oktoberfest wDas Best Oktoberfest, Baltimore
With over 150 domestic, international and local beers and wines, this all-you-can-taste event will satisfy the most discriminating beer lover. Admission includes a souvenir tasting glass and unlimited free tastings.
Live music ranges from traditional oompah bands to contemporary music from bands like Burnt Sienna and Tokyo. Dine on authentic German cuisine, play corn hole in the games arena, or challenge your partner to a match of fingerhakeln (German finger wrestling).
Events like the stein-holding contest, ladies fastest beer-drinking contest or the biggest beer belly competition are sure to provide hours of entertainment at this mega-event in the heart of Baltimore.
Oct. 8, 2-6 p.m.
$39 includes unlimited tastings and souvenir glass
M&T Bank Stadium, 1101 Russell St.

Okto-Bear-Fest, Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
Enjoy unlimited tastings of more than 30 seasonal brews at Okto-Bear-Fest. Live music and German-inspired cuisine, plus displays from local artisans, add to the festive afternoon. Tickets include a commemorative glass and admission to the zoo if you want to check out the real bears after your beers.
Oct. 22, noon-4 p.m.
$45 in advance, $50 at the gate ($10 off for zoo members)
Waterfowl Lake Pavilion, Maryland Zoo, 1876 Mansion House Drive

Photo courtesy of The Trigger Agency/Das Best Oktoberfest

Old Stein Inn, Edgewater
This German restaurant has been celebrating Oktoberfest year-round for more than 33 years. The cuisine of German favorites like schnitzel, sauerbraten and various wursts keeps customers returning long after Oktoberfest. Enjoy a romantic and cozy dinner indoors or head outside to the 160-seat biergarten, which offers a small plates menu in addition to traditional dishes. Live music is part of the fun every Friday, Saturday and Sunday where lucky diners can catch Silvia and her strolling accordion or Heidi and the Helmut Echo with their alpenhorn.
Year-round Wednesday and Thursday, 4-9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4-10 p.m.; Sunday, noon-9 p.m.
1143 Central Ave.

The Bavarian Brauhaus, Hanover
After Blob’s Park, the legendary German beer and polka hall, closed in 2014 the former owner, Max Eggerl, opened The Bavarian Brauhaus in Hanover. The restaurant features German classics like spaetzle, wursts and bierkase suppe (cheddar beer soup), while the bar boasts seven German beers on tap and more than 40 German bottled beers. Like Blob’s Park, The Bavarian Brauhaus takes its entertainment seriously. Twice monthly it hosts a live big band with an area for dancing. On Oct. 23, The Bavarian Brauhaus will celebrate Oktoberfest with German “Folkies” folk dancers and a special menu.
Year-round Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
7304 Parkway Drive South

By Katie Riley

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