As the warm summer months turn to autumn, the beautiful beer garden that we have enjoyed for the past several months is transformed into an Oktoberfest tent as we bring you the authentic feel of that seasonal celebration. Oktoberfest is a big deal in our Haus, and we celebrate it in a big way. Our tent is covered and attached to the Hofbräuhaus with lights and heaters for later in the season. Our Oktoberfest season is celebrated from mid-September and last through late October, and the world famous Hofbräuhaus Oktoberfest Beer is the seasonal brew.
In Munich, which is the home of the original Hofbräuhaus, Oktoberfest runs late September through early October. The Oktoberfest tradition started in Munich, and in no other place in the world is it celebrated more heartily than there. Oktoberfest is a celebration of the harvest, and of course in Munich, it’s celebrated with bier. Oktoberfest in Munich always starts with a parade that takes the first ceremonial keg from the brewery to the main tent just west of the city center. Munich’s mayor, the Burgermeister, leads the parade and he taps the first keg. Then he speaks the words, “O’zapft is” which means, “It (the keg) is tapped”. At that moment, Oktoberfest has officially begun and the bier flows. To see an explanation of this year’s official parade in Munich, Click Here.
At Hofbräuhaus Chicago, we replicate this ceremony during Oktoberfest. We have a keg tapping every weekend and it starts with a parade. We always have a celebrity keg tapper who is our celebrated “Burgermeister of the Haus” and two young ladies to carry the Bavarian and German flags. Servers and staff form a boundary down the main aisle and everyone stands on the benches clapping and celebrating what is about to occur – just like in Munich. I announce to the audience what is about to happen, get everybody up on the benches clapping our hands, cue the music, and we have a parade from the back of the Haus to the stage.
When we get to the stage the music stops and our celebrity keg tapper drives the brass spigot into the oak cask. Then just as in Munich, we honor their tradition here at Hofbräuhaus Chicago and the Burgermeister speaks the words, “O’zapft is”. Then we sing Ein Prosit, which is the toasting song and allow our celebrity guest to say a few words.
So if you can’t make it to Munich this year, be sure to celebrate Oktoberfest here at Hofbräuhaus Chicago. The band will have you moving to the authentic Oktoberfest music and you will easily feel the German spirit of the season with Gemütlicheit everywhere.