Thursday, October 10, 2013

Oktoberfest in Amana: Brats, Bier, and Hammerschlagen!

Ever wanted to go to the real Oktoberfest? Me, too. Too bad Germany is all the way on the other side of the world. But next to the town I live in, there's  a pretty darn good Oktoberfest celebration. Last year I completely missed it and have been kicking myself ever since. So, Jess and I made it a point not to miss out on the festivities this year. Our buddy Dan even ditched Des Moines for the weekend to join us.
So what's so great about Oktoberfest? Pretty much everything! Beer, games, food, and costumes. What's not to love?

Jess and I decided that we were going to try and make our own costumes for Oktoberfest by popping tags at Goodwill and getting crafty. (Read more about our DIY lederhosen and dirndl here.) They turned out pretty awesome!

We spent Friday night hanging out at my apartment, putting the final touches on our costumes, eating  the world's best (mine) guacamole, and drinking beer. To kick Oktoberfest off right, Jess and I shared a boot of her favorite Weihenstephaner Korbinian. Good times were had by all! 

The next day, we got up, got costumed up, and headed to the Amana Colonies. When we arrived, we noticed that there weren't as many people dressed up in lederhosen and dirndls as we'd hoped. That just meant that we got to be some of the cool kids in the crowd that day! And sparked instant comradery between us and our fellow costumed celebrators. The first thing we wanted was food, so we headed straight to the Oktoberfest tents, got hooked up with our tickets, and went inside. We all ended up with a the #1 lunch plate, which got us a brat on a bun, German potato salad, and a cherry or apple strudel. Good food, though the German potato salad paled in comparison to the stuff they serve at Hessen Haus. (That red cabbage really makes a difference in Hessen Haus' mashed version!)

To wash down our hearty German food, we also had to get our first liter of beer for the day... and it had to be in one of those giant beer mugs! It wouldn't be Oktoberfest without 'em! We filled our mugs up with Millstream's Oktoberfest. Millstream brews up some good beer and their Oktoberfest is no exception. (They also make some killer root beer and cream soda, if you're into that sorta thing.)

After food and beer, we spent some time in the festhalle listening to a band and watching the brat-eating contest. From there we went to the barn for my favorite part of the day: hammerschlagen and the keg toss. Hammerschlagen is a pretty simple game and a lot of fun. Check out how it works here. You have a tree stump, some nails, and wedged hammer. (I can just imagine a bunch of bored, drunk German guys coming up with this game back in the day. Haha!) You go around in a circle, taking turns giving your nail a hit with the wedge edge of the hammer. First one to hit their nail in flush with the stump wins! Jess, Dan, and I all went one round. I actually tied with a lady, so we went on to a one-on-one hammer off. It's really a shot to the man-parts to lose a hammer game to a lady, but she was good.

After taking second place in hammerschlagen, I had to try to reclaim my dignity in the keg toss. Jess and Dan sat this one out. I did okay with a 15-foot toss. The winner got a 27-foot toss, which is a crazy long way to throw a keg! Another guy accidentally threw his keg into the fence. 

We returned to the beer tent, filled up our mugs with another liter, and settled in at a picnic table where we had an awesome time meeting and talking beer with other festival-goers and I enjoyed myself another brat. Our Oktoberfest experience was a definite success. 

Next year, would you like a crazy fun time filled with brats, games, and beer? Hit up Oktoberfest in Amana! Be one of the cool kids and dress up. Play a few games of hammerschlagen. And drink some good beer.


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