Your Official Guide to Celebrating Oktoberfest in Milwaukee This Year

The pandemic has forced a few cancellations, but there are still plenty of Oktoberfests on the schedule for 2020. Grab your lederhosen, and a mask, and hit up a few of these fall celebrations.

1. Bavarian Bierhaus Oktoberfest

BAVARIAN BIERHAUS, 700 W. LEXINGTON BLVD.

When: Sept. 4 to Oct. 3; Fridays and Saturdays

What beers you’re drinking: A variety of local brews made by Bavarian Bierhaus, as well as pours from Spaten and Weihenstephan.

Why you should go: Heidelberg Park, adjacent to the brewery, is an ideal setting for what is dubbed “Milwaukee’s original Oktoberfest”. Oktoberfest here celebrates six decades of German fun. German bands, dancing and tasty food like rollbraten, spanferkel and the obligatory bratwurst keep people coming back.

2. The Runaway Oktoberfest

THE RUNAWAY MICROPUB & NANOBREWERY, 109 E. CHESTNUT ST., BURLINGTON

When: Sept. 19, Sept. 26, Oct. 3

What beers you’re drinking: Oktoberfest, German Black Lager and Bohemian Pilsener from The Runaway.

Why you should go: To support one of the newest breweries in the area and hang out in downtown Burlington.

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3. Oktoberfest on the Lake

FITCH PLAZA AT THE WAR MEMORIAL, 750 N. LINCOLN MEMORIAL DR. 

When: Sept. 24 to Sept. 26

What beers you’re drinking: A few Hofbrau options, Hacker Pschorr Weiss and Lakefront IPA.

Why you should go: It’s on the lakefront and it’s being run by Kegel’s Inn, a place that knows a thing or two about gemütlichkeit. Standard bratwursts, smoked bratwursts and chicken bratwursts are enough reasons to be there. Get there by 4 p.m. on Thursday for the ceremonial free first keg.

4. Oktoberfest at The Schwabenhof

THE SCHWABENHOF, N56 W14750 SILVER SPRING DR., MENOMONEE FALLS

When: Sept. 25 and Sept. 26

What beers you’re drinking: A ton of German imports and a few brews from Raised Grain Brewing, including Naked Threesome Hazy IPA.

Why you should go: The Schwabenhof has long been a hub of German culture and good beer. Oktoberfest is no exception. Goulash, schnitzel, rollbraten and Hungarian brats provide a great base for all of the fun.

5. Hay Daze

DOWNTOWN GREENDALE, 5680 BROAD ST.

When: Sept. 26

What beers you’re drinking: Good stuff from Explorium Brewpub.

Why you should do: It’s a family-friendly tribute to fall that includes hay rides, pumpkin bowling and an Oktoberfest Biergarten, supplied by the good folks at Explorium.

6. MobCraft’s Virtual Mobtoberfest

ZOOM ON THE INTERNET

When: Sept. 26

What beers you’re drinking: A six-pack that includes Mobtoberfest Lager, Oddball Kolsch and Eissturm Eisbock.

Why you should go: You don’t have to leave your home for the event. Order your beer kit—which includes a six-pack, a blended Eisstoberfest beer, a glass stein, and a build your own pretzel necklace kit—by Sept. 24 and pick it up at MobCraft (505 S. 5th St.).

7. Germantown Hunsrucker Oktoberfest

DHEINSVILLE HISTORIC PARK, N128 W18780 HOLY HILL RD., GERMANTOWN

When: Sept. 26 to Sept. 27

What beers you’re drinking: Plenty of options include Oktoberfests from Hacker Pschorr, Paulaner, Hofbräu and Leinenkugel. Or, Miller High Life and Old Style if you’re inclined.

Why you should go: The event will be held in a huge brand new open-air shelter. The festivities include the standard music and German dancing, but also the popular Dachshund Dash at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Be sure to come hungry and save room for a pork dinner, bratwurst, knackwurst or potato pancakes.

8. Milwaukee Brewing Oktoberfest

MILWAUKEE BREWING COMPANY, 1128 N. 9TH ST. 

When: Oct. 2 and Oct. 3

What beers you’re drinking: German brews from Milwaukee Brewing and plenty of other good stuff they pour.

Why you should go: A beer tent and beer garden provide ample seating overlooking downtown. Plus, you can get a cool Milwaukee Brewing stein to drink from.

9. Ein Kleines Oktoberfest

SAHALE ALE WORKS, 1505 WISCONSIN AVE.

When: Oct. 3

What beers you’re drinking: Sahale’s Oktoberfest and Munich dunkel if you’re looking for German brews. There’s also a slate of well-crafted other styles from Sahale’s taps.

Why you should go: A “small” Oktoberfest is just fine when you’re drinking beers from Sahale on their patio. Plus, any beer pairs really well with the brat fry Sahale has planned.

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Dan Murphy has been reviewing bars for Milwaukee Magazine for roughly 15 years. He’s been doing his own independent research in them for close to 25.