Cream Puffs, Struedel, and Brats – oh my! Add in sauerkraut balls, pretzels and beer, and you have Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. In Cincinnati, we no longer have the largest nor the most authentic Oktoberfest. And, the food and location just keeps getting weirder and weirder. This year, instead of being on Fifth Street around our beautiful Fountain Square, cast at the Royal Bavarian Foundry in Munich, where Oktoberfest started, the whole festival was moved to 2nd and 3rd streets with a spectacular view of….. the Ft. Washington Way Highway and the stadiums. Despite this new location, an estimated 640,000 attendees ate their way through the stalls, over 30,000 taking the new streetcar.
Our local breakfast delicacy, Goetta, is infused everywhere, which is not a bad thing, if done properly. Goetta Balls are an acceptable variation on the more common sauerkraut ball. But this year’s new Goetta Grill Donut Sandwich at the Busken booth just seemed a bit over the top to me. The Strasse Haus had a Goetta Corndog this year. But (with the addition of cornmeal) isn’t that really just a scrapple dog?
Despite these German fusian-fails, there were a few good local products that made their debut at Oktoberfest this year that deserve mention.
The Germania Society released their new house-made mustards and sauces at their own Oktoberfest in August. They brought the new line with them at their brat booth over the weekend. Bottled in Columbus, Indiana, they are house formulated recipes. There’s a great Bavarian Sweet Mustard, a German Sweet-Hot mustard, a Sauerkraut Mustard, and a Curry Sauce. They also have the dry rub spice blend used on their rotisserie chicken. I bought all of the sauces and tried the sweet, sweet-hot, and the curry sauce. All were pretty good, but I thought the sweet-hot mustard could have had a bit more zing.
I was very excited to see a new collaboration between local legacy meat market, Avril’s, and Cincy Beer Brats. I think it’s a brilliant move on Avril’s part, and has been a long time coming. They served a Bourbonwurst infused with Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, and a Bratwurst with Braxton Brewery’s Oktober Fuel Oktoberfest Lager. Cincy Beer Brats also have a Pale Ale Bierwurst, and a Pumpkin Bourbon Ale Bierwurst from Alltech Brewery in Lexington, Kentucky. All are available at a few local retailers, including both Jungle Jim’s locations. I’m very excited to see where this new venture with Avril’s goes!
The big theme this year at Oktoberfest was Bratwurst vs. Pretzel, which I though was odd. And, in Cincinnati they’re just brats, not bratwurst. Brat to pretzel is not an apples to apples comparison. I think it would be smarter to have a brat vs. mett vote and maybe a cream puff vs. strudel vote. That way you’re comparing like proteins and like pastry.