Oktoberfest on the Destin Harbor

Photo courtesy of HarborWalk Village.
By Joni Williams


Nothing says September like Oktoberfest, which kicks off in Germany on the 16th. But if you can’t make it to Munich for the festivities, no worries. For the first time ever, Destin’s HarborWalk Village will host their own Oktoberfest that very same day along with some preliminary events on Aug. 14 and 15 that you won’t want to miss. And they all involve food, fun and beer.


On Thursday, enjoy a “Grande” pairing dinner from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Harborview Room. The menu, put together by Emerald Grande chef Jimmy McManus, looks so tempting…just reading it made us swoon. Hello, brioche bread, charcutrie and pumpkin mousse!  Expect several courses with fresh seafood and greens, an array of rib-sticking proteins and even a dessert. Each is paired with fall appropriate shandies and other brews that, of course, include at least one Oktoberfest. The cost is $65, and reservations can be had by calling 424-0622.


The weekend kicks off Friday at 6 p.m. with a pub crawl that begins at FishHeads and winds down at Coyote Ugly, with stops in between at the harbor’s finest drinking establishments. Expect to find beers priced at $2.50 and $3, along with bargain-priced well drinks and Jell-O shots. Jackacuda’s will even offer crawlers an all-you-can-drink option for 20 bucks.  And you’ll be doing all this imbibing for a worthy cause, as the $10 pub crawl admission fee benefits the EOD Warrior Foundation. Advance passes are available at EventBrite.com.


Be sure to save some room in your beer belly for HarborWalk Village’s first ever Oktoberfest that gets going at noon Saturday. In addition to fun activities like a German-inspired stein hosting event, games and live music, there will be all kinds of brewers offering all kinds of brews. We’ve seen the list, and, trust us, you’re going to want to drink up. Some of the best names in the biz will be representing, including Sierra Nevada, Abita, Sam Adams, New Belgium, Shiner Bock and local crafters Idyll Hounds.


We’re equally excited about some of the less familiar brands and pretty giddy to see some hardcore German offerings. Take Warsteiner, for example. The German brewer will be there with their Oktoberfest, the same one we told you about in last issue’s Brew Review. To rewind, this is the brewer that still manufactures beer in accordance with Germany’s Purity Law. And it makes for one near-perfect brew with full, well-developed flavor as well as a pleasant feel.


We can also recommend Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest. If this year’s is anywhere near as good as last year’s, you won’t want to miss it. There are also some unfamiliar-to-us brewers like Red Hare out of Atlanta that have piqued our interest. It’s great we now know where to find them locally. Likewise, Germany’s Paulaner or Bavarian brewer Ayinger will be rolling out their seasonal Oktoberfests at the festival. As a gentle reminder, these are seasonal beers so get ‘em before they go away.


As if all these brews aren’t exciting enough, there will also be plenty of German eats including schnitzel, bratwurst and pretzels. Local craftsmen will offer their wares for sale in true festival style, and all the HarborWalk retailers will be keeping their regular hours.


And it all takes place along one of the most picturesque locations to be found anywhere.

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