Back in October 1810, when Bavarian Prince Ludwig (the future king) married Princess Theresa in Munich, a citywide celebration was in order: citizens were invited to party in the fields facing the city gate, and the day came to a blowout close with horseraces and a Bavarian feast. On the couple’s first anniversary, an agricultural fair was introduced, and the horseraces made a return, the celebration giving rise to what we know now as Oktoberfest.
Given the autumn fete’s equine history, it’s only fitting that Hastings Racecourse is holding its own Oktoberfest this year. A first for the local racetrack, it takes place on September 29 from noon to 6 p.m., with races starting at 1:50 p.m.
Four “hauses” accessible only to ticketholders will be set up in partnership with Parallel 49 Brewing Company, Sawmill Creek Wines, and Schneiders. The East Side brewery is bringing in special beers for the event, such as Craft Pilsner, Schadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest Lager, and Salty Scot: Sea-Salted Caramel Scotch Ale. Food offerings include naturally hardwood-smoked Oktoberfest sausage and premium cheeses; plus, the Totally Twisted soft-pretzel truck will be on-site. (Tickets, $50, include two drink vouchers, a food voucher, a take-home beer stein, and more.)
The Hastings Racecourse extravaganza is just one Oktoberfest taking place in Vancouver. Here are a few more to check out in your finest lederhosen or dirndl:
CRAFT Beer Market
(85 West 1st Avenue)
Running from September 24 to October 7, Oktoberfest at the Olympic Village brewery means one-litre steins of Erdinger Weiss, Erdinger Dunkel, and Erdinger Oktoberfest ales as well as German fare such as a Bavarian schnitzel sandwich and pork-and-beer bratwurst.
On September 25, the beer market hosts a five-course brewmaster’s dinner ($60), featuring Erdinger and Stiegl craft beers. On the menu, following a cheese and wurst welcome: weisswurst with sauerkraut and sweet mustard; smoked trout and cucumber with dill salad; rouladen (beef rolled with onion, pickle, and mustard) with spätzle and red cabbage; and plum torte with whipped cream.
Parallel 49 Brewing Company
(1950 Triumph Street)
If you love beer, you know about the 40 beers on tap here. For the brewery’s September 29 fall fest, look for Craft Pilsner, Craft Lager, Trash Panda Hazy IPA, and the Schadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest Lager. Any of those would go nicely with a spicy chicken-schnitzel sandwich by none other than the DownLow Chicken Shack, which will be on-site that day for a pop-up, alongside a DJ and live polka band.
H2 Rotisserie and Bar
(1601 Bayshore Drive, Westin Bayshore Hotel)
Red Truck Brewing Company supplies the beer for this September 28 Oktoberfest dinner, which includes live music by the Alpiners Oompapa band. A buffet-style setup with chef’s stations offers dishes like currywurst, Wiener schnitzel, sautéed red cabbage, spätzle with cheese sauce, rouladen, and whole grilled mackerel with herb marinade, among others. For dessert, there’s apfelstreusel, Berliners (filled beignets), and lebkuchenherzen (traditional gingerbread hearts).
Vancouver Alpen Club
(4875 Victoria Drive)
Home to the Deutsches Haus Restaurant, the club calls its weeklong celebration “Das Original”. It hits Vancouver on October 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, and 20, with sausages, schnitzel, soft pretzels, and other traditional German fare, as well as live music and beer, beer, and more beer ($35).