For a simple celebration, start with the basics. German beer is an essential part of any genuine Oktoberfest celebration and there are more than 100 genuine German brands imported into the United States. The type of brand and label is not as important as the authenticity, so read our Guide to German beers to make sure you're buying the right one. Some of the many brands available are: Bitburger, Warsteiner, Weihenstephan, St. Pauli Girl, Ayinger, Dinkelacker and Pinkus.
Visitor's to Munich's Oktoberfest will remember seeing pretzels in huge baskets being sold by so-called Brotfrauen who move from tent to tent selling their wares. This culinary delight is yet another of Bavaria's claim to fame and soft pretzels make a fun and easy snack to serve with German beer. While you can make your own, for a genuine German experience, order par-baked, frozen pretzels from Priska's Breads 'n More or find retail locations at Breads of Europe. Provide bowls of tangy German mustard for dipping. There are plenty of types (such as Bavarian sweet mustard or sharp, pungent Düsseldorf mustard) and brands (such as Burkhardt, Hengstenberg, Löwensenf, Haendlmaier, Thomy) to choose from so make sure you lay out a selection of different varieties.
Another fun and simple snack idea for a basic Oktoberfest gathering is Germany's famous Currywurst. While this spicy snack originated in Berlin, it's a staple snack at the Oktoberfest in Munich. Simply grill a Bratwurst-style sausage and cut it into pieces. Then warm a little German curry ketchup (look for genuine German brands such as Hela, Zeisner or Burkhardt) and pour it over the sausage pieces. Sprinkle with curry powder and serve with a genuine German Brötchen (bread roll) from Priska's Breads 'n More.
Other simple snacks and appetizers you can offer your guests are Beer-Marinated Bratwurst Sausages, Hot and Crusty Frankfurter Rolls, or Sauerkraut and Salami Pizza. All these recipes are quick and simple to make, and you'll find them on our Oktoberfest party recipes page. You can also put together a selection of German cheeses, whole grain breads, mustards and pickles and put out bowls of hard pretzels and Erdnussflips (peanut corn snacks) and prepare a tray of German cookies and candies as a dessert offering. For more recipe ideas, take a look at our collection of Oktoberfest party recipes.
Make sure the ambiance is a authentic as the food. For a genuine Bavarian feel to your party, decorate using traditional Oktoberfest colors. The official colors of the state of Bavaria are cobalt blue and white so choose napkins, streamers, tablecloths, paper plates and plastic silverware in these colors. You can purchase Oktoberfest party supplies from your local party store or from online sources. To help you with your party planning, we've compiled a list of possible sources.
Create ambience with small blue and white votive candles on the table or put decorative fairy lights in the window or hang them from the ceiling. If you live in a state where it's still warm in the fall, consider setting up a tent in your garden with long tables and benches. If your budget (and space!) allows, hire an Oompah band or an accordian player to entertain your guests. An inexpensive alternative is to play CDs of traditional German band music. You can find these CDs online at www.amazon.com. For a more modern approach, download some songs from today's German rock bands such as Xavier Naidoo, Nena, Silbermond, Wir sind Helden, Fettes Brot, Die ärzte, Die Toten Hosen, Freundeskreis, Die Fantastischen Vier (Fanta4) and Rammstein .
If you're planning to stage a more upscale Oktoberfest-themed party, serve a selection of hot and cold canapés (Häppchen) and try our recipes for Westphalian Ham Lollipops, Crisp-Fried German Tilsit With Tomato Coulis and Pursulain, or any of the recipes in our party planning recipe collection. In addition to providing plenty of beer, serve your guests cocktails made with German spirits such as Kirschwasser or Brandy. Make sure you consult our guide to party cocktails ! Blue and white votive candles and the music of Germany's great composers Bach and Beethoven will create the perfect ambience.
If you'd prefer to serve a hot 3-course meal at your Oktoberfest celebration try one the following menu suggestions:
Whatever type of Oktoberfest celebration you decide upon , genuine imported German foods and beverages are the key to staging an authentic event!