September is here, which can only mean one thing — Oktoberfest! And while the official pils-chugging antics are going down in Munich, London's having a decent slurp of the action too. Here's our roundup of where to party, and which London-brewed beers to drink.
Lederhosen at the ready, and other such hackneyed intros. It's time to party, Bavarian/drunk tourist style.
One of the biggest bashes is London Oktoberfest 2016, running various dates from 29 September-9 October. Tents in Millwall Park, Canary Wharf will cram up to 3,300 beer drinkers in, plying them with gallons of beer, mountains of pretzels and earfuls of oompah. Tickets range from £5-£60. Whole tables can be booked too.
There's one beer and one beer alone served at Oktoberfest East, from 30 September-9 October. But rest assured, there'll be plenty of Hacker-Pschorr to go around. This crisp, malty lager is being shipped over specially from Germany, and dished up under a huge, Alpine-themed canopy. The Hackney Colliery Band add brass to the mix. Tickets £15-£75, with whole tables available.
Oktober Feast at Hawker House near Canada Water is offering up "50 brilliant biers, 10 wünderbars and 20 fantastisch street food traders" from 29 September-1 October. Tickets £16.05. Or you can sign up for the World Cup Final of Beers (£42.80), which scores you 20 x ¼ pint beer tasters. It's the weekend, after all.
Bermondsey's Anspach & Hobday take the stage at The Understudy on the South Bank from 23-25 September, pouring their own versions of pretty much every German-style brew under the sun, including The Festival Lager, The Munich IPA, The Rauchbier and The Deutsche Bier. We are The Excited.
Bavarian Beerhouse (Old Street and Tower Hill) and Katzenjammers (London Bridge) do Oktoberfest year-round, and they'll be putting on even more Oktoberfesty goings-on for the season. Just brace yourself for table-pounding stag dos if you're going at the weekend. Oktoberfest Pub in Fulham is pulling out the stops too, with special events from 9 September.
Lots of London breweries are making their own German-inspired brews to mark the festival.
Herne Hill's Bullfinch Brewery have created a special one off — 'Hugh Hefnerweisse' (YES) for Oktoberfest celebrations at their taproom on 1-2 October.
Brixton Brewery have just launched Coldharbour Lager — a Bohemian-style beer, brewed using German noble hops, as would traditionally have been used since the 1800s. Slurp it at the brewery, or look out for it at good bottle shops.
Camden Town Brewery launches its limited edition, and almost too aptly-named Oktoberfest on 16 September, with free pints handed out at a select few bars on that date. Or sup it at the brewery's tank party on 1 October.
Meantime's offering is Fest Bier, a long-matured, unfiltered brew, made with authentic Bavarian malt and a cold-fermenting Bavarian yeast. Get it at their North Greenwich taproom.
Wimbledon Brewery are now serving their Wimbledon Gold Helles Lager. It's a lagered golden beer, overlaid with a blend of classic and contemporary German hop varieties. It's available at their taproom.
Well known for their German-style beers Nico and Neu, Orbit are re-releasing Leaf (a rauch alt, so expect mouthfuls of smoke) at the start of October. In plenty of time for the reopening of their taproom later in the month, then.
Among London's year-round brews we'd recommend are Hop Stuff's Unfiltered Pils (unfiltered, unfined and brewed using German noble hops), Brick Brewery's superbly sour Berliner Weisse and Portobello's classic London Pilsner.