By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – For those of us looking to celebrate the biggest festival of beer in the world, but without a plane ticket to Munich or indeed a time machine (the actual festival takes place during the run-up to October), there are plenty of options this October in both Rio de Janeiro and Brazil for those who wish to dust off their Lederhosen and raise a ‘stein.’
The most famous Oktoberfest in Brazil is the Oktoberfest in Blumenau, Santa Catarina, which this year is celebrating its 35th incarnation. Created in 1984 to raise the morale of the local inhabitants after a flood, the event now receives around 700,000 visitors each year.
This year, the festivities, which include traditional German music, dance, costumes and gastronomy, are running from Wednesday, October 3rd to Sunday, October 21st. So there is still time to visit the most authentic Oktoberfest on the continent.
However, for those wanting to get all the excitement of Oktoberfest while staying a little closer to home, there are a handful of events taking place this week and weekend in Rio de Janeiro and Petropolis.
Starting this Thursday, October 18th, and running until Sunday, October 28th (with the exception of Monday, October 22nd to Wednesday, October 23rd), Oktoberfest will be descending onto Downtown Shopping Mall in Barra da Tijuca.
This free event is the fourth edition of Oktoberfest Downtown and attendees can expect plenty of craft beer courtesy of brewers such as Hocus Pocus, Three Monkeys, Kumpel, and Odin. There will also be German-inspired gastronomy, and even some traditional ‘beer songs’ and German dancing to get everyone in the drinking mood.
For those in Rio’s ‘Zona Sul’ (South Zone), Marina da Glória will be hosting a three-day Oktoberfest celebration starting on Friday, October 19th and running until Sunday, October 21st. Tickets are starting at R$55 per day. On top of over 150 different beers and authentic German gastronomy, there there will be live performances from musical stars such as Elza Soares, Beth Carvalho, and Iza.
Just over forty miles away from Rio de Janeiro, the royal city of Petropolis is throwing its own Oktoberfest, which is also running from this Friday to Sunday. Taking place at the Bohemia brewery, who claim to be the first brewery of Brazil, this Oktoberfest is literally going to be at the birthplace of Brazil beer, where there will be music, dances, typical foods, and, of course, lots and lots of beer.
Finally, on Saturday, in Rio’s lively nightlife neighborhood of Lapa, popular bar La Esquina are throwing their very own Oktoberfest-themed party. Tickets are between R$15-R$30 and guests can expect to experience a miniature of the Blumenau Oktoberfest, as both events are sponsored by the Eisenbahn Brewery.
There will also be themed décor, t-shirts and Eisenbahn mugs ready to be filled with specially-brewed Oktoberfest beer, plus their usual specialties of pilsen, pale ale, dunkel, weizenbier and many other styles. The day will then be accompanied into the night by La Esquina’s resident Djs, who won’t stop the music until 5AM.