What do Oktoberfest and the Stampede have in common?

By Andrea Brussa

Stampede is when Calgarians pull on their boots and cowboy hats and Oktoberfest is when a lot of Germans don dirndls and lederhosen and go ….drinking. Sound familiar ?  Festivals, parades, games, rides, competitions, funny hats, fun food, big tents full of happy people and of course…BEER !!  Lots of beer .  Good beer.  Great Beer.

Germans love their beer and make great beer, so instead of celebrating a prairie and cowboy culture they celebrate their…what else ?? Beer !  Fun and foam.  Makes sense to me.  Calgarians feel right at home during Oktoberfest, as do Germans at Stampede.

So, come on down and celebrate the Octoberfest at Bow River Brewing from this Saturday, October 3, right through until the end of the month.   Seem like a long time to party?  It is, but the Germans do it every year, very well . In 2013, apparently the last time anyone in Munich remembers how much beer they drank., over 6.6 million  litres of beer were consumed during Oktoberfest  !!  They give Calgarians a run for the money, that’s for sure .  So, to match them stein for stein,  we decided to hold our own Oktoberfest after the warmth of  summer has faded and while the leaves turn the colours of … great beer ??  For the month of October, Bow River Brewing will combine cultures and celebrate great beer…which we do all the time of course, but this time, you can drink it appropriately, from a stein.

Oktoberfest officially started in Munich in 1810, when our prairies were still wide open and there weren’t many permanent dwellings around, but of course Germany was well established and economically prosperous.  The VIP King Ludwig wanted a huge royal wedding celebration …and since the masses wouldn’t all fit in the castle, where they weren’t really welcome anyway, and since King Ludwig wanted everybody to like him, he decided  to hold a great big party outside. Everybody came from miles around and the event was so successful that the clever King decided to continue the tradition.  It grew and grew, until today, when millions of people participate and there are bands, parades and competitions galore. Like the Stampede Parade, at the beginning of the festivities, there is a big parade. But in Munich over 8000 people (not a typo) march in traditional costume .  There’s even an official tapping of the first barrel of Munich beer and a loud 12gun salute to let the restaurants and bars know they can start to pour.  It’s sort of like the beginnings of the chucks, except with steins instead of horses. In Calgary we suggest drinking our “Riverfest” .  It’s a genuine German style beer, made with a base malt from Alberta and some specialty malts from Germany combined into a true amber lager.

Like the official Beer Boss of Munich and Oktoberfest, Clemens Baumgartner, said, “Just to say hello, eye to eye, shake hands, sit at the table and talk to each other…” is an important part of Oktoberfest. We all need that. But to keep us safe during these dreaded C-word times, Bow River Brewing has come up with an unusual solution so we can have some fun and Oktoberfest, Calgary style.

During October, you can pick up a 6-pack of Riverfest ( or whatever beer you prefer) , a Bow River Brewing carry bag and 2 Bow River Brewing Signature Steins for just $35 – which is a lot cheaper than flying to Munich. Ok, we don’t include the music or the tents and it’s BYOB – Bring Your Own Bratwurst , but it’s still a steal of a deal and lots of fun.