Have you ever been in a hurry to get back to Dancentrum in Stuttgart in time to see Kraftwerk? If your answer to this question was “Yes” or “lol, I love that episode!” then I’m guessing that you’re a fan of Oktoberfest. And believe it or not, Brisbane appears to be relatively spoilt for choice when it comes to commemorating the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.
When I say spoilt for choice I actually mean that there are approximately two different Oktoberfest celebrations that one would be able to attend over the next few weeks. I concede that every Herr and his daschund seems to pull out some sort of lame Oktoberfest themed thing every year but it takes more than cracking open a tin of sauerkraut, whacking some wurst on a hotplate and handing out icy cold stubbies of Australian brewed Becks to properly get into the spirit.
The only way to properly do Oktoberfest is to have a large space absolutely rammed with drunk Australians pouring an unhealthy amount of Märzen into their black gullets. Just like it is in Munich! So for a more authentic experience you’re going to have to head to the Oktoberfest Brisbane (OB) event held at the RNA showgrounds or The Brisbane German Club (BGC). But which is the more authentic and therefore best?
Shall we compare the two using my Oktoberfest Authenticity Questionnaire®?
The actual Oktoberfest is held over 16 days starting in late September and finishing on the first weekend of October.
OB: Held on the second and third weekends of October. FAIL
BGC: Held on the first weekend of October. PASS
Oktoberfest is renowned for people indulging in only the most German of foods including wurst, schnitzel, schweinshaxe (pork knuckles), pretzels and sauerkraut. So generally, a massive amount of pig flesh served with fermented cabbage and bread.
OB: I’ll take a quote directly from the website here and highlight the most important bits.
It’s so much more than pork knuckles, sausages, sauerkraut and schnitzels – meatlovers, vegetarians and those with gluten-intolerances can choose from classic favourites as well as other deliciously authentic German specialties, such as baked potato dishes, salads, dips, strawberries in chocolate, or a freshly-baked pretzel.
In case I’m very much mistaken, salads aren’t meats, strawberries aren’t made of fermented cabbage and bread for people with gluten intolerances is some sort of sick joke. FAIL
BGC: A bain-marie containing bratwurst, knackwurst, pork knuckles, pork or chicken schnitzel, frikedellen (German rissoles), sauerkraut, mashed potato and gravy will be on the go for the entire weekend. PASS
For many this will be the most important aspect of this unbiased and professionally developed questionnaire. Oktoberfest beers generally must be brewed within Munich and are therefore limited to Augustiner-Bräu, Hacker-Pschorr-Bräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, Spatenbräu and Staatliches Hofbräu-München. They would also be drunk out of a glass stein.
OB: Once again I’ll take a few choice bits from the website and highlight the important parts for your reading pleasure.
When people think of Germany, they think of ‘beer’ – but did you know that Germany also has a long history of wine-making too?
Our selection of refreshing beverages, ideal for all tastes and ages, and chosen to perfectly complement our delicious foods:
•Soft drinks, water, non-alcoholic beer, energy drinks, coffee & tea to wash down all the beautiful food
•German & Australian wines, German sparkling ‘Sekt’, champagne, Schnaps mixers – for lovers of the grape, and distilled fruits and herbs
•Hand-crafted German beers - made specially (sic) for Oktoberfest Brisbane and according to the German Purity Law of 1516…you’ll find them nowhere else in the world, not even in Germany. 342-year old Tucher Brewery in Bavaria creates our Lager and Wheat Beer (Weissbier), while international award-winning Burleigh Brewing Co. handcrafts our German-style dark beer (Dunkelbier)
Due to Queensland Liquor Licensing regulations, Oktoberfest Brisbane steins are 500ml (rather than 1 litre) and are made from high-quality durable plastic, not glass.
I just don’t even know where to start with this. I realise Germany has a very rich history of viticulture but this is Oktoberfest. So while I suppose wine is technically allowed for the love of Odin don’t advertise it. Energy drinks are such an abomination that they should be loaded into a rocket and fired into the centre of the sun. And an offering of a grand total of 3 beers, none of which were brewed in Munich and served in a plastic half-stein. Not even close. FAIL
BGC: The BGC has a range of 12 tap beers and around 60 beers by the bottle. In previous years they have put on the Löwenbräu Oktoberfest beer which is one of the official Oktoberfest beers brewed in Munich. In addition to this, you’ll also be able to snag yourself a glass half-stein with a lovely little decal unique for each year. PASS
In Munich one would find entertainment and the like via the official tapping of the keg, a twelve gun salute, amusement rides, traditional German music, parades and other such quaint activities.
OB: Oktoberfest Brisbane will provide patrons with entertainment featuring Münchner Buam, a Bavarian Oktoberfest Band, the tapping of the keg ceremony, yodelers, traditional dancers and leg slappers, a Bavarian strongman competition, a puppet theatre and even a petting zoo for the kids. All which are legitimate Oktoberfest activities and sound great. I do however question the authenticity of Damian the Magician and a visit from a QFRS fire appliance. PASS
BGC: What the German Club lack in variety of entertainment, they more than make up for in authenticity. There is the traditional tapping of the keg, yodeling (which last year was performed by the Mayor of Redland City for some reason) and most importantly, the man, the myth, the legend ANDREW will provide the kind of entertainment that only a one man oompah band can provide. I suppose that Münchner Buam are very good at what they do but somehow I don’t see them performing Daryl Brathwaite’s The Horses, Rammstein’s Du Hast or Lady GaGa’s Bad Romance. 100% authentic Bavarian entertainment. PASS
So there you have it. The Brisbane German Club has affected out an absolute drubbing of Oktoberfest Brisbane in the Oktoberfest Authenticity Questionnaire® and is therefore crowned the winner. It’s a shame really but you can’t argue with that result. I’ll see you all at The Brisbane German Club on Saturday afternoon. I’ll be the one with the hat drinking beer.
Disclaimer: I have never been to Munich or Oktoberfest Brisbane and therefore my opinions while well researched and incredibly well written are mostly invalid. I have however been a member of the Brisbane German Club for 7 years and partook in the last 5 Oktoberfests there. So Oktoberfest Brisbane may be great but I don’t know, and I don’t care to know.