Fancy a fruity German lager? It’s like a pilsner “bombarded” with notes of prickly pear and blood orange.
“It’s crisp, dry and refreshing, yet floral and fruity,” says head brewer Adam Burnett. “Reminds me of the southwest.
This craft beer will be one of three available at this year’s Oktoberfest hosted by Eli Fish Brewing Company. Burnett has been at the helm of the brew for four years and has been involved in the traditional October celebration for three. After living in California for 15 years, Burnett was unable to attend many German-themed events, and this one grew on him.
“It’s becoming (a favorite)… definitely one of the best days of the year,” he said during an interview with The Batavian.
The fourth annual Oktoberfest was scheduled earlier this year – at least a week before most festivals start – as a way for people to participate before other events begin. It is scheduled from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday at Jackson Square in downtown Batavia.
“We’re excited to see if being one of the first takes the energy even higher,” Burnett said. “Last year we had it at the end of the month, and some people said they had already been to four more.”
Founded in Munich, Oktoberfest takes place this year from September 17 to October 3. According to Britannica.com, the festival originated on October 12, 1810, to celebrate the marriage of the Crown Prince of Bavaria, who later became King Ludwig I, to Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. But does anyone really care about the origins of an event filled with German food, beer, music and dance?
And there will be all of those things, Burnett said. The Frankfurters, a band so popular they have to book two years in advance, will take to the stage as their complementary dance troupe have a blast. Billed as “the finest in wurst,” the Buffalo performers are dressed to perfection — neuner in German — in lederhosen (leather shorts with braces) for the men and dirndls (short, twirling dresses with ruffles or half aprons and peasant dress). style blouses) for women.
“It’s just wild, they’re so entertaining. It’s a hoot,” he said. “They’re very fun to watch, very engaging.”
The group is already booked for the 2023 Eli’s festival due to their popularity, he said.
Burnett can’t wait to put on his lederhosen and fully embrace the role, he said. In fact, Eli Fish staff can be expected to dress accordingly, he said, and attendees are encouraged to do the same. Since there’s so much activity in the plaza — animated polkas, a beer tent and all — it’s suggested that you don’t bring lawn chairs to the event, he said. But wear your dancing shoes.
Another beer at the event will be a standard amber lager and a festival lager, “a half-sister to amber,” Burnett said. Aged in an oak rather than steel container, it has “a lovely oaky flavor,” he said.
A 2003 Batavia High graduate, Burnett is happy to be back home. He had been a professional brewer in Chicago for three years when Eli’s co-owner Jon Mager called him. Burnett backed off and sees this gig as a long-term endeavor. He promises three stellar beers at the Square, with another 23 on tap inside Eli Fish at 109 Main St. It’s not a big walk, just up the back steps of the Square.
Of course, there will also be bratwurst, huge pretzels and other German dishes to choose from, and a few benches outside to sit down and grab a bite to eat.
The mayor of Munich taps the first keg to open the festival each year in Germany, and the total beer consumption is nearly 75,800 hectoliters or about 2 million gallons. This weekend’s event may not reach that volume, but there’s plenty of fun to be had, organizers said.
Admission is $8 presale and $10 at the door, and each ticket includes a free drink. The number of tickets is limited and Burnett advises buying them as soon as possible. They can be purchased from Eli Fish or online.
Photo: via the Frankfurters website.