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(Updated 10.24.11)

Goodbye summer and hello there fall. Most would agree that the turning of the leaves' color is a sign that fall is has arrived, but for beer lovers, it's not officially fall until Oktoberfest arrives.

Oktoberfest is the mother of all beerfests that reigns from Germany. It's the world's largest celebration of beer and is customarily held in late September and runs through early October.

What if you can't afford to take any days off for a trip to Germany or just can't afford to go at all? It's not a problem because Houston, which is slowly becoming the beer capitol of the Gulf Coast as local brewries announce openings every other month, has a host of Oktoberfest events to offer. Although a slew of Oktoberfests have already occurred, it's not too late to have a bier haus or two without spending a fortune.

Oktoberfest Feasts

When it comes to authentic German food in Houston, look no further than to Rudi Lechners. Getting into the spirit of Oktoberfest, the Southwest Houston restaurant has a line-up of specials planned through October 29th. Nosh on popular German delicacies such as roast pork shank, wiener schnitzel, sauerbraten, and beef rouladen, all available as separate entrées for $10 during lunch. Sip on an Oktoberfest beer on tap while pairing lunch with choice of soup or salad buffet that's included with the lunch special.

Each Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Rudi Lechners is preparing a feast of Bavarian foods served buffet-style for $15.95. Live German musical entertainment will also be available Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Rudi Lechners
2503 South Gessner
Houston, TX 77063
(713) 782-1180

The Barbed Rose Steakhouse and Seafood Co. brings Germany fare to its menu during its week-long Oktoberfest celebration. Beginning Monday, October 24th, the Alvin restaurant will have daily specials available all day for $9.95. On the menu is a Wiener Schnitzel on October 24, followed by Maultaschen with onion spätzle and braised red cabbage on Tuesday,Chicken Roulade and white asparagus & mushroom spätzle on Wednesday, Bratwurst and Sauerkraut on Thursday, Spätzle and Linzen on Friday, and Roasted Suckling Pig on Saturday. Don't forget the beer to add to the experience. An Oktoberfest Beer Flight is $12 and includes Hacker-Pschorr Weisse, Paulaner Munich Lager, Becks Oktoberfest, Warsteiner Dunkel.

The Barbed Rose Steakhouse and Seafood Co.
113 E Sealy Street
Alvin, TX 77511
(281) 585-2272

Everyday is really an Oktoberfest kind of day at Pearland's King's Biergarten, but in celebration of the beer festival, the restaurant/beirgarten/carwash has created a special menu for the occasion. The limited-time menu consists of entrees like the crispy pork shank and a platter or pork loin, bratswurst, and sausages, and other pricey big portioned dishes.

Stick with the King's Sausage Skewers (three skewers served with sauerkraut and red cabbage), and the huge pretzel that's served with beer on tap. Each are under $13, leaving you with more to spend on the festival's main star, beer. Save room to splurge on a warm apple strudel, a raspberry linzer torte, or other German sweets on the menu that are under $6. The menu is available throughout the month of October.

King's Biergarten
1329 East Broadway
Pearland, TX 77581
(832) 569-4141

Photo courtesy of Yard HouseOktoberfest is all about the beers and one place to go in West Houston that has an extensive list of beers on tap is Yard House. The restaurant chain is celebrating Oktoberfest with a limited run of two German brews: König Ludwig Weissbier and Wersteiner’s Oktoberfest. If you're a person who only sticks to beers under $3, expect to shell out a bit more for those festive beers.

A Barvarian inspired menu will also be available through the end of October. On the menu, bratwurst melt on rye (swiss cheese, bacon-tomato jam, fried green cabbage, dijon mustard & mayo with house made truffle chip; $10.85) and the bratwurst platter served with fried potatoes, onion cheese strudel, braised red cabbage, and a horseradish mustard gravy for $11.95. For an Oktoberfest meal that's less than $10, order the filling pretzels and brat for around $7.

Yard House
840 W. Sam Houston Parkway
Houston, TX 77024
(713) 461-9273

Known for it's French cuisine, Bistro le Cep is honoring German cuisine with it's take on Oktoberfest. Beer isn't on this special menu that's only available during dinner hours Mondays through Thursdays in October, but there is a line up of Barvarian food that's offered in a four course menu. The $25.95 menu includes choice of stuffed tomato with seafood or the soup of the day as the first course and a Bavarian tomato and cucumber salad. For the main course, diners may choose from the grilled pork tenderloin served with a bratwurst combo, red cabbage, and buttered spätzle or the grilled salmon steak topped with a herb butter and served with dill potatoes and seasonal vegetables. The Oktoberfest dinner concludes with an assortment of cheeses served with crusty bread or diners may select the baked apple crumb tart and vanilla ice cream.

Bistro le Cep
11112 Westheimer
Houston, TX 77042
(713) 783-3985

Charivari Restaurant pays homage to classic Bavarian fare with it's elegant and yet affordable five course Oktoberfest menu. Start with a housemade pretzel and a flight of German beers featuring Spaten Octoberfest, Franziskaner Weiss Beer. For a starter, guests will be served a Bavarian Potatoes & Mushroom Soup, followed by a Wild Berries Sorbet to cleanse the palate. Guest can then choose between one of three main courses: Schweinshaxen (broiled pork shank in a dark beer sauce over sauerkraut & bread dumpling), Jaeger Schnitzel (Berkshire pork escalope with wild mushroom sauce and homemade spaetzle), or German Bratwurst, Frankfurter & Knackwurst served with sauerkraut & mashed potatoes. The meal concludes with an apple strudel with a vanilla sauce. The menu is available daily for $35.

Charivari Restaurant
2521 Bagby
Houston, TX 77006
(713) 521-7231

Oktoberfest Beer Tastings

Cork Cafe is swapping its wine out in favor of beer as a nod to Oktoberfest. The Cypress wine bar is switching up its weekly wine tasting and offering a beer tasting instead. On Saturday, October 15, pay $10 and taste ten beers being featured. The beer tasting will take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Cork Cafe
25712 Northwest Freeway
Cypress, TX 77429
(281) 758-1682

Haven't heard of Del Papa Distribution? Chances are you are more familiar with them than you think. Del Papa distributes craft beer, one of which includes Houston's own Saint Arnold Brewing Company. As craft beer's popularity continues to grow, there are just as many people who still aren't aware of such beers outside of the world of Miller Lites and Budweisers. This is where Pint Jockeys, a group of beer enthusiasts from Del Papa Distribution steps in.

The group hosts free monthly tastings of beers from its portfolio. Thursday, October 20th, Pint Jockeys will hold its tastings for October from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the distribution's Hospitality Room. The beers being showcased are Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Widmer Brothers Brrr Seasonal Ale, and Kona Pipeline Porter. With Oktoberfest in full swing, guests can also taste beers created for the fall celebration that include New Belgium Brewing Hoptober Golden Ale, Saint Arnold Pumpkinator, and the Saint Arnold Santo which will be released to stores on the same day. Ronnie Crocker, writer for Houston Chronice's beer blog, provides a great overview of last month's tastings for anyone wanting to know what to expect.

Del Papa Distribution Center
6702 Broadway
Galveston, TX 77554

Photo credit: No Label Brewing Co.No Label Brewing Co., a brewery in Katy, will showcase a selection of its brews at the new Black Walnut Cafe at Cinco Ranch. Pull up a seat at the bar on Friday, October 28th between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., and sample what the local favorite has brewed. Hopefully the El Hefe Hefeweizen will be among one the beers selected for tasting, it is Oktoberfest after all.

Black Walnut Cafe
23233 Cinco Ranch Blvd.
Katy, TX 77494
(281) 371-2233


The Houston-Leipzig Sister City Association hosts Oktoberfest on Saturday, October 15. Celebrate with German fare and German beer while listening to the sounds of German music from local bands and choirs from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. An open bar will also be available for attendees. Admission is $10, children 12 and under are free.

Houston Liederkranz Hall
5100 Ella Boulevard
Houston, TX 77018
(713) 957-9004

Town Green Park transforms into a beer garden as Oktoberfest invades The Woodlands, thanks to The Woodlands Rotary Club. Make plans to join The Woodlands Oktoberfest Saturday, October 15 and Sunday, October 16 and have a pint or two in a traditional biergarten. There will also be a tent featuring craft beers and wines. Food vendors will be on hand selling German fare. Admission into The Woodlands Oktoberfest is $10 but children under 10 are free. Tickets are available for purchase online.

The Woodlands Oktoberfest
Town Green Park
2099 Lake Robbins Drive
The Woodlands, TX 77380

Oktoberfest comes to the island of Galveston and brings with it a weekend filled with food, beer, and fun for all ages. The annual Galveston Oktoberfest will be held Friday, October 21 through Saturday, October 22 at First Lutheran Church. It'll be a wurtsfest for sausage fanatics with a varied selection of German sausages, bratwursts, and knackwursts, while other Bavarian foods like pork loin and sauerkraut will be available for purchase. It's not Oktoberfest without beer and there will be a selection of fall beers to choose from. Admission is free.

First Lutheran Church
2415 Winnie
Galveston, TX 77550
(409) 762-8477

Rice University Farmers Market catches Oktoberfest fever on Tuesday, October 25th. From 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., the weekly farmers market will transport attendees to the German festival by way of brats sold by food truck, Zilla Street Eats and beer from Saint Arnolds Brewery. There will also be a chef demonstration and a cooking class for children offered.

Rice University Farmers Market
2160 University Blvd.
Houston, TX 77005

End October with a Plonktoberfest at Plonk! Beer & Wine Bistro. It's Oktoberfest at the Garden Oaks bar on Sunday, October 30th at noon. Enjoy live music while chowing down on Oysters Bienville & Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. Might want to get there early, the food is free which means it will go fast.

Plonk! Beer & Wine Bistro
1214 West 43rd Street
Houston, Texas 77018

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