September 24, 2019

Oktoberfest in the U.S.

When you think of Oktoberfest, the first place to come across your mind is probably Germany. And you’re not wrong to think that, but did Cincinnati ever occur to you?

Probably not, and why would it? Except for the fact that it’s the largest Oktoberfest in the United States.

Before we get too far ahead, here’s a quick rundown of how Oktoberfest got its start.

In 1810, Oktoberfest began in Munich, Germany, with the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. It was celebrated in Bavaria, and on October 17, five days after the marriage, a large fest was held in Munich — which later became known as Oktoberfest.  

The following year, an agricultural fair was added, and by 1818, beer pubs were included along with performers. Today, Oktoberfests are held beginning in late September through mid-October, and countries across the world now take part in the celebrations –– especially in the U.S.

Festivals are held in cities from coast to coast, including San Francisco, Denver, Tulsa, Nashville, Cincinnati and Boston, just to name a few. Cincinnati has even earned itself the nickname of “Zinzinnati” because of how popular the festival is there. (This year is its 43rd celebration.)

So what does wheat have to do with this? We’re glad you asked.

Wheat beers are served all across the nation, specifically at "Zinzinnati" where more than 2,000 barrels of beer are expected to be consumed, which is nearly 4 million fluid ounces.

Those wheat beers are: 

  • 312 Urban Wheat Ale
  • Oberon Ale
  • Tangerine Wheat
  • Erdinger Oktoberfest
  • Melon's Cart
  • Nellie's Key Lime Caribbean Ale
  • Nellie's Rasberry
  • Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel
  • Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier
  • Weihenstephaner Kristallweisbier

It’s no surprise at the amount of wheat beers served in Cincinnati since Ohio was once ranked second in wheat production in the country. And we don’t think it’s a coincidence that most of the other top Oktoberfests in the country also happen to be top wheat-producing states as well. 

So whether you find yourself celebrating in San Francisco or in Denver, be sure to raise a glass and say, “Prost to wheat!” 

If you’re interested in participating in Oktoberfest, here are some of the top locations around the country: