Every year in September, hundreds of thousands of people are drawn to the Bavarian capital for the world's largest folk festival. While Oktoberfest is a unique institution, people elsewhere also enjoy showing their enthusiasm for freshly tapped beer and typical Bavarian soul food. It's hardly surprising that especially in the USA, with many German-descendant residents, this tradition - just like the beer steins - is upheld with unwavering fervor.
In fact, Oktoberfest in America is such a beloved tradition that almost every state has its own version on the event calendar in September. Some of the most well-known ones include "Oktoberfest by the Bay" in San Francisco, where typical German music, dirndls, and feasting are simply moved to the pier, creating a unique atmosphere for beer drinking. The Oktoberfests in Chicago and Denver are also highly attended. And then there's the "Wurstfest" in New Braunfels, Texas, which is all about delicious sausages alongside beer. Even beyond the USA, Oktoberfest is a hit and is celebrated locally in places like Brazil.
However, the most famous Oktoberfest in the USA, and at the same time the second-largest in the world just behind its Munich namesake, is the Oktoberfest in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since its opening in 1976, over half a million people have flocked to the city's streets for a weekend in September - because unlike Munich, Cincinnati doesn't have large fairgrounds or open spaces, and the whole event has more of an oversized street festival character. In 2020 and 2021, when the festival in Munich had to be canceled, the event officially became the largest Oktoberfest in the world.
Just like here, on-site entertainment is provided by live performances with German music and dance. The festival also holds the record for the world's largest chicken dance with a whopping 48,000 participants.
A Feast for the Palate
Of course, amidst all the exuberant atmosphere, the typically German-influenced food must not be missing. The menus of countless food stalls feature Bavarian Oktoberfest classics such as sauerkraut, bratwurst, hash browns, and pretzels, but also culinary specialties like pig's tail or pickled pig's feet.
And of course, the right condiment is essential. For the typical Bavarian morning snack with sausages and pretzels, a savory dollop of mustard is a must. Fortunately, our friends from America can rely on their local experts here. The KC Gold Mustard BBQ Sauce by Rufus Teague is not only super tasty and flavorful, but it's also kosher, gluten-free, and made from non-GMO ingredients. New in our range is the Spicy Honey Mustard by Stonewall Kitchen with its blend of spicy Dijon mustard and sweet honey - our secret tip for pretzels as well as for chicken (especially chicken wings) and fries.
Beer is, of course, a given when it comes to Oktoberfest. But the yeasty brew doesn't just taste freshly tapped from a full mug, it's also great on tasty meats. However, so that you don't have to miss a drop of the liquid gold from your beer stein, the experts at Rufus Teague have come up with something great: BBQ sauces from beer cans in 4 delicious flavors. Variants with the typical taste of American pale ale are included, as well as flavor combinations with citrus, herbs, or cloves. And thanks to the resealable snap cap, you don't have to empty these beer cans all at once.
Pork is, of course, a classic at the Wiesn. Whether as sausages, schnitzel, or hocks - for German guests, pork alongside a liter of beer is almost a must. Pork is also a hit among our friends in the USA. The classics are, of course, wonderfully tasty ribs and burgers, but also the well-known pulled pork from BBQ culture.
For all fans of succulent pork, the experts at Rufus Teague and Stonewall Kitchen have mixed a wide variety of delicious sauces. If you want to experience a true classic of American pork culture, just go for the Bourbon Molasses Barbecue Sauce, rightfully one of our Top 10 most popular barbecue sauces by Stonewall Kitchen. For a fruity touch of fresh apples, which complements pork like no other, we recommend the typically smoky Smoky Apple BBQ Sauce by Rufus Teague or the Roasted Apple Grille Sauce by Stonewall Kitchen with roasted apple slices and maple syrup.
And if you want to savor the entire culinary spectrum of tender pork, we highly recommend our Grilling & Barbecue Collection Gift Set by Stonewall Kitchen, featuring 3 uniquely delicious barbecue sauces, perfect for American BBQ and especially delicious pork.
Included is the Honey Barbecue Sauce - a sweet classic from American BBQ tradition. The Baby Back Rib Sauce is perhaps the best sauce for delicious ribs, based on classic recipes from North Carolina that use molasses as a base. Last but not least, the Hawaiian Grille Sauce brings the taste of typical Hawaiian Lūʻau with its exotic fruity notes of pineapple and soy sauce perfectly into the festive atmosphere.
Here's another tip: If you don't want to miss the distinct smoky flavor like fresh off the grill even with sausages, hocks, and more in September, always have a bottle of liquid smoke on hand. The natural liquid smoke is a standard in the USA and imparts the typical grill-like flavor to any dish with just a few drops.
Also, a special event for vegetarians:
Even though Oktoberfest traditionally revolves around beer and meat specialties, vegetarians can enjoy Bavarian specialties too. Besides meatless alternatives to classic meat dishes (see our blog on "GRILLING GOES VEGAN"), a delicious potato salad should not be missing at Oktoberfest, whether in Munich or Cincinnati. For perfect taste, we recommend using the classic Farmhouse Mayo by Stonewall Kitchen as a base. And for flavorful accents, enhance your salad with some Roasted Garlic Aioli or Garlic & Avocado Oil Aioli by Stonewall Kitchen. For extra flavor and texture, we suggest adding pickles (pickled cucumbers) from McClure's. Simply cut them into small pieces and mix into the salad. You'll have a top-class vegetarian Oktoberfest snack. Definitely worth a try.
For vegetarian fans of the good old Brotzeit (snack time), a cheese platter is also a great choice. For a special taste, we recommend complementing it with a selection of our delicious chutneys, jams & co. American delights from Stonewall Kitchen like the Apple Cranberry Chutney are not only ideal companions for cheese but also a flavorful addition (with Thanksgiving only a few weeks away) to the autumn season.
A special highlight is the sweet Fig & Walnut Butter with the unique combination of fruity figs and aromatic walnuts. Our secret tip for blue cheese.
A delicious dessert should also not be missing, and what better suits the largest folk festival in the world than fresh popcorn as if straight from the stand? With our in-house popcorn varieties from American Heritage, you can easily make popcorn at home yourself and thanks to the thin hull, you can enjoy it completely without any annoying husks. And for some variety, the tasty popcorn seasonings from Urban Accents add flavorful options, whether it's spicy with Sizzlin' Spicy Sriracha, savory with Cracked Pepper Asiago, or if you prefer the traditional sweetness of Sweet Cinnamon Toast. And for those who can't decide between the classics, just go for the Sweet & Salty version. There's something for everyone.
And if you'd rather enjoy a fragrant journey through the world's largest fair, try the two scents Kettle Corn and Candy Apple, fresh from the Autumn Collection 2022 by Country Candle.
If you're now curious to experience these delicious Wiesn delicacies with an American twist, then why not enjoy the tasty food with a matching style? With the practical diner baskets and napkins featuring typical American motifs to accompany sauces from the USA, every meal becomes a culinary journey across the Atlantic to distant Cincinnati.
And lastly, a proper Wiesn souvenir should not be missing. The classics are undoubtedly the lovely Lebkuchenherzen (gingerbread hearts) with icing. For all our candle fans, instead of the traditional treat, we recommend adding the right scented candles from Kringle and Country Candle to create the festive atmosphere at home.