The 36th annual Oktoberfest kicked off at Old World in Huntington Beach Sunday, enticing beer aficionados to don their lederhosen and dirndls and celebrate all that is German. The charming Euro community promises dancing, dachshund races, a parade, Kinderfests, oom-pah bands, babes, brats and, of course, bier, from now through October 27. We did the dirty work of sampling a few brews so you know exactly what to drink during your visit.
Old World knows how much brew hounds love a good beer flight, and they're offering a German beer tasting of four Oktoberfest beers for just $5. Our favorite part: It's served on a cafeteria tray. Touted as "four of the best German beers," the collection includes, from light to dark, Hofbräu Oktoberfest, Warsteiner Oktoberfest, Spaten Oktoberfest, and Samuel Adams Octoberfest. After carefully swigging each brew, our picks are Warsteiner and Spaten. With a mild, smooth taste, Warsteiner delivered a bit more flavor than Hofbräu. Spaten's nutty smack and rich amber color sold us at first sip. As for the Boston take on a German beer, you're a bit too sweet, old friend.
Both Warsteiner and Spaten pair perfectly with a $2 soft, chewy pretzel. Splurge and add the 50-cent German mustard to your order. It's sweet with a mild kick. Other eats include $6 bratwurst on a roll, $3 sauerkraut and $3 apple strudel.
Beer samplings are only offered on Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30-10 p.m., and tickets must be purchased in advance via Eventbrite. The cost of the sampler equals the cost of a small beer, and large pours will run imbibers $10. Also on tap is a refillable souvenir boot, which comes filled with Oktoberfest beer for $45.
We sipped to the sounds of accordions during our visit, but after Monday, September 16, expect to move to the oom-pahs of German bands, one which is flying all the way to Southern California from Deutschland.
Ticket prices for Oktoberfest are as follows: Wednesday and Thursday, free; Friday and Saturday, $20; Sunday, $5. Discount coupons for Friday and Saturday admission can be downloaded here. Oktoberfest hours are: Wednesday and Thursday, 6:30-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 6:30 p.m.-1 a.m.; Sunday, 2-7:30 p.m. A full calendar of Oktoberfest events is available here, and directions can be viewed here. Old World is located at 7561 Center Avenue in Huntington Beach, 714-895-8020. Parking is free.