October holidays are designed for people to let loose. Halloween is our chance to dress up in costume and eat candy. Oktoberfest is the chance to vaguely celebrate German heritage and drink lots and lots of beer. (Responsibly, of course). Here are two ways to celebrate this beer-swilling holiday in the state.
For the past few months, Rhode Island breweries have busied themselves fermenting autumnal beers. Pumpkin spice is a favorite flavor, of course, but the famous Munich festival is a brewmaster’s chance to show off traditional techniques. To join in, folks on the East Bay have a solid excuse to visit the Ragged Island taproom in Portsmouth, where you can sample their brand-new Oktoberfest Marzen. As one Ragged Island rep describes it: “Our Oktoberfest Marzen is a malt-forward beer that has a wonderful orange hue and frothy off-white head. The medium body and malty flavor with a dry finish provides a delightful way to embrace Fall with a time-honored German traditional style.”
Yet nothing beats an actual Oktoberfest celebration, complete with dirndls, polka, and Alpine caps. The East Bay is a little quiet for Oktoberfest – Redlefsen’s has closed, and the International Oktoberfest hadn’t been scheduled at press time. But you can still head over to Pawtucket and visit the German American Cultural Society of Rhode Island (GASCRI) for its annual festival. The club boasts an authentic Ratskeller, showcases German cuisine, and hosts an outdoor Biergarten. At GASCRI, you can listen to live music and dance to traditional folksongs; for Rhode Island, it doesn’t get more “authentisch” than this. September 28 and 29.