Alpine Village in Torrance celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with Oktoberfest festivities that run through Oct. 27. The village of shops, restaurants and one of the best butcher shops in Southern California is home to the oldest and largest Oktoberfest in Los Angeles.
Traditional fare and Blaskappellen (brass bands) are shipped in from Bavaria as well as, of course, beer: Paulaner Hefe-Weizen, Oktoberfest Marzen, Munich Lager and the Oktoberfest Wiesin, a perfect match for bratwurst and a pretzel or currywurst and fries. There are local IPAs available as well. Dance the night away to Bavarian bands in the Alpine Village Restaurant and Tavern.
For your own home celebration, check out the amazing market and butcher shop, where the Alpine butchers stuff 10,000 pounds of authentic German sausages each week. In addition to a huge selection of cheeses and bread baked on-site, there are more than 30 varieties of artisan, European and German sausages and as many imported beers. Bavarian pretzels are baked fresh daily. The Mar Vista chef Jill Davie says it’s the only place she’ll buy her smoked ham hocks.
On Saturday, Sept. 29, The Fields downtown is offering an all-day family celebration on the rooftop terrace, featuring a $5 German-influenced menu from executive chef Michael Teich, in addition to $5 beers, live German music and a DJ.
Highlights include beer-braised bratwurst with sauerkraut and bell peppers, a pork schnitzel served with caper aioli, and pretzels in both classic and cinnamon sugar form. In addition to the nine restaurant experiences and outside bar already residing within the dining complex, The Fields L.A. will deliver Oktoberfest steins of beers from Hofbräu, Bitburger, Boomtown, Weihenstephan, Veltins and Modern Times.
Oktoberfest at both of the Wirtshaus team’s restaurants and beer gardens, Wirtshaus and Rasselbock, starts this Saturday, Sept. 22, and runs through Oct. 27. Activities at both venues carry no cover charge, making it easier for SoCal residents and visitors in Mid-City/Hollywood and Long Beach to revel in the lengthy German holiday.
Hollywood’s Wirtshaus and Long Beach’s Rasselbock will launch the five weeks of festivities with an official Oktoberfest kickoff at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22, when a local celebrity guest will tap the restaurants’ ceremonial Oktoberfest kegs (one at each location). As is now tradition at the restaurant group’s venues, the ceremonial kegs will be on the house; guests who are seated and purchase an entrée can drink for free from those first kegs until they run dry.
Wirtshaus’ Oktoberfest plans include regularly changing beer and food specials during the celebration weeks (specials will be posted in the restaurant and announced on social media); live traditional German music on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the restaurant’s Oktoberfest (live music starts at 6:30 p.m.); and accompanying Erdinger-sponsored decor and giveaways.
Wirtshaus also encourages guests to break out their best Oktoberfest gear, joining the fully costumed staff, who'll be dressed in their lederhosen or dirndls every weekend throughout Oktoberfest. Costume contests will occur each weekend, as will stein-holding contests.
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Rasselbock’s Oktoberfest plans involve much of the same as Wirtshaus’, plus kid-friendly Family Sundays; a backlot beer garden running the first weekend in October (Oct. 6 is also German-American Day!) with a live German band; specials on Oktoberfest beers and a BBQ; and a kids corner.
If you feel like venturing to Thousand Oaks, Julie’s Alps is hosting "Murder in the Alps: An Oktoberfest Murder Mystery Dinner Theater," which for $50 includes a dinner selection from the Oktoberfest menu, Julie's Alps' famous apple strudel dessert or Black Forest torte and any non-alcoholic drink, including Bavarian coffee or tea.
The Bavarian restaurant is offering its usual specialties, such as a creamy jaegerschnitzel, sauerbraten and goulash with spaetzli, and Bavarian weisswurst with pretzel and sauerkraut on the side.
In the immortal words of the legendary Bill Foster of the Fox Inn in Santa Monica: Zicke zacke, zicke zacke, hoi hoi hoi!