THE GREAT HALLS AND GARDENS... of Munich are as instantly recognizable as the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the snowy peaks of The Alps and the neon-bright signs of Tokyo. See one capacious interior, lined with tables or a green garden full of pleasant sitting areas made for sipping, and you know you're in the German municipality. The banners draped from the wood-beam ceilings and the festive regional flags and the iconic steins spied in every snapshot further that Munich character, one that just can't be found, truly, outside of the Oktoberfestiest locale on the planet. But while we don't sport similarly enormous beer halls or gardens in the Golden State, we do have brewmakers who get the spirit of the late-summer celebration, one that almost always unfolds in September (lest the "Oktober" part of Oktoberfest make a person who is new to the celebration think otherwise). Sierra Nevada and Figueroa Brewing Mountain Co. are both throwing oompah-laden larks, and that big sudsery located in Fairfield is as well: Anheuser-Busch Brewery is doing it up, Oktoberfest-style, on Saturday, Sept. 12.
BRATS TO SWEET BITES: Question one, beyond the beer being served, for many Oktoberfest aficionados, is about the food. For sure, bratwursts shall be served, and pretzels, too, and a not-always-seen sweet that has definite ties to the party's home region: gingerbread cookies. As for the foam? It'll be Spaten, a libation that's got long ties to the lively holiday. The Spaten will be employed in the day's ceremonial toast, but if you want another beer, those'll be available, too. Your thirty-buck ticket gains you entry and a pair of beers and a single food item. Plus? That all-important commemorative, display-it-behind-your-own-bar beer stein. Have your designated driver lined up? Good. Or have a spot to stay in Fairfield, and a way to get there? Fab. Have a desire to do the beer hall thing, Munich-style, but without the ability to hop over the Big Pond this September? Fairfield's just a scoot away.