PITTSBURGH - Oktoberfest, the nearly 200-year old festival in Munich, Germany is well under way and will begin winding down this weekend, ending on Sunday.
If you're looking for a fairly authentic representation of the fun and revelry without all the travel and language lessons, look no further than Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh.
Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh officially opened on March 16, much to the delight of those of German heritage and beer-drinkers alike.
Pictured is recently opened Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh, which offers authentic Bavarian cuisine.
Modeled after the original Hofbrauhaus in Munich, it is one of four locations housed in the United States; the others being found in Las Vegas, Miami Beach and Newport, Ky.
Open daily at 11 a.m., Hofbrauhaus Pittsburgh provides the best Bavarian Beer Hall experience you'll find in the tri-state area.
With any such establishment, what people come for is the beer and the good times that coincide with it. In that department, you'll find a quality and atmosphere that is hard to beat.
Hofbrauhaus only serves five variety of beers at one time, the four house brews and a seasonal, specialty brew that rotates each month. There are no domestic or even imported favorites here.
The four house beers, Hofbrau Premium Lager, Hofbrau Munich Weizen, Hofbrau Light and Hofbrau Dunkel, all follow the Bavarian Purity Law.
Established in 1516, the Bavarian Purity Law, or Reinheitsgebot in German, stipulates that the only ingredients allowed in brewing the beer is water, barley (malt) and hops. Because the usage of yeast in fermentation wasn't truly realized until Louis Pasteur stumbled upon it during the 1800s, yeast wasn't included in the original text. It is used today however.
The seasonal beers range from the traditional Oktoberfest beer to the Doppelbock, the strongest of Hofbrauhaus' seasonals at 8 percent alcohol and available in February.
On the first Wednesday of each month, Hofbrauhaus celebrates the ceremonial keg-tapping of the season brew at 7 p.m. This is also a raucous time as patrons line up to taste the first few steins of beer from the keg.
That's another aspect that differs from other local establishments.
While smaller sizes of glasses are available, the container of choice at HofBrauhaus is a 1-liter sized glass stein emblazoned with the company logo.
Beers of this size run are nearly $8 apiece, but hold roughly three 12-ounce cans per serving. Patrons can also purchase one of their steins for $15.89, a cost which includes the serving of beer.
Along with the on-site brewery, there are three main sections of Hofbrauhaus for patrons. There is an outdoor Beer Garden where customers can enjoy their drinks and meals while getting a view of Pittsburgh and the river. There is also a more intimate dining section for those looking to enjoy their meals.
But the fan favorite and largest section is the beer hall, complete with lengthy wooden tables and benches. When Hofbrauhaus is packed, it provides the opportunity to get to know a lot of people because there is no tables for four. There are also live bands that perform throughout the evening, playing all the traditional favorites.
The hostesses are also dressed in traditional German attire to further cement the atmosphere.
As far as the menu goes, there is plenty of American faire for those not accustomed to or willing to try the traditional German-style dishes.
The German meals all come with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. I tried the Wurstlteller, a sampling of Mettwurst, Bratwurst and Bierwurst. The food was excellent.
Another recommendation is the Pretzels and Bier Cheese appetizer.
For $8.99, your waiter or waitress brings to the table four piping-hot imported soft pretzels and a tasty bier cheese for dipping.
Beginning today, Hofbrauhaus is launching its annual Oktoberfest celebration from Friday through Sunday for the next two weekends.
Admission is free and the traditional tents will feature beer, German cuisine, along with live entertainment.