September is unofficially “beer month” in Cinncinnati.
The last weekend in August annually showcases funny comedians and beautiful beers at the Brew HaHa downtown. But, the Brew HaHa was just the beginning of almost a month-long set of events which gets beer lovers in Cincinnati ready to call summer over, and start enjoying the heavier, more nourishing brews of fall and winter.
Sept. 2-5 Labor Day Weekend
Labor day weekend is a time to get in that last great grill-out of the summer in before the parties are moved indoors. To be sure, there are still plenty of great weather days in the autumn to make it a great outdoor party, especially if football is invovled, but this is really the last weekend where sandals and shorts will be almost exclusive, and jeans and hoodies will be rare. Besides, this is the last chance to enjoy your favorite light or fruit-infused beverage (if you keep with the season, at least), as the beers of Oktoberfest ring in the dark-beer season.
Sept. 9-11 Oktoberfest Covington
Oktoberfest Covington is a great event! It’s smaller, and therefore more managable than Cincinnati’s, but it still has all of the essential qualities of a great beer festival. It has authentic German food, and local German-style brews. I know that for some people the prices among other things will tend them towards the light or national beers, but you should know that you will be doing yourself a great disservice if you don’t try, if not an Oktoberfest-style beer, at least something that you never have before. The Covington Oktoberfest, located in Mainstrasse Village, is a great way to end summer and glide joyously into fall, and the change in beer styles helps that goal along bueatifully.
Times: Fri: 5:00-11:30, Sat: Noon-11:30, and Sun: Noon-9:00
Sept. 16-18 Oktoberfest Zinzinnati
I have to start off by saying that, disgracefully, I have never been to the Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, but nothing could keep me away this year!
Cincinnati’s Oktoberfest is the world’s second-largest authentic Oktoberfest celebration in the world, behind only Munich, Germany. The celebration in Rio de Janiero, Brazil is bigger, but not authentic enough to be recognized by the city of Munich, where it all began. In fact, each year in the opening address at Munich’s Oktoberfest (which I have attended, and it was an awe-inspiring experience), the Mayor of Munich formally recognizes Cincinnati’s festival.
The festival has great beer, and great German food. Put that all together with the weather of mid-September and it makes for an awesome event.
The festival includes much more than just beer and food, however, as if more was needed. The weekend of festivities starts with a wiener dog race at noon on Friday, followed by the Gemuetlichkeit Games (games invoking the spirit of the celebration, beer and German heritage), and culminates with the World’s Largest CHicken Dance on Sunday, always led by a local celebrity. In between, there are several events and thousands of good times to be had.
Times: Fri: Noon-Midnight (only in Fountain Square, but you can watch the rest of the event being set up), Sat: 11a-Midnight (kep-tapping ceremony at 11:30), and Sun: 11a-10p