Last year around this time I posed the question on Twitter (a service I find I lack time for these days): “Would you rather go to #GABF or Oktoberfest?” I rarely ask questions like this on Twitter, as it seems like pandering for standing on the social networking site, but I really was interested. Only a few responded, maybe 4 or 5. I am hardly a presence. But, I was surprised that not one person preferred Bavaria over Colorado.
I know that hands down, the greater beer selection would be had at the Great American Beer Fest. Beyond my wildest dreams, I’m sure, there would monster IPAs, sour ales, and obscure beer-blogger-bragging-rights brews just waiting to be quaffed, were I able to pony up the cash for enough tickets. I’m sure the scene would be cool…lot’s of beer enthusiasts swishing their glasses and sharing stories, beer authors and beer greats chatting it up, and so on. But how would the culture fare? Could it move beyond JUST the craft beer culture? Colorado’s cool and all…I’ve been there and found it interesting.
Oktoberfest would be a different story. For the most part, the beers would be similar and selection would be whittled down to six brews: The same six breweries have provided the beer since 1818: Spaten, Löwenbräu, Augustiner, Hofbräu, and Hacker-Pschorr. (Click here for more info). I doubt you’d bump into Papazian, Brooks or Bryson (three guys I’d LOVE to meet someday) or Betty Beer Blogger for that matter. I think you just might revel in anonymity, lots of golden beer, and a heck of a lot of culture. I’m sure there would be plenty accordion and tuba led dances, big old barrels of frothy Oktoberfestbiers tapped the old fashion way, and gobs of heart stopping sausage, spitzel, and kraut…God’s gift to the tongue, in my opinion. I’ve been to Germany also, for what it’s worth, I found it to be an incredible place to visit.
I’ve been to neither of these events. At this point in life, I’ll be relying on a wealthy benefactor to make it happen. Given my lack of experience, I’d choose to visit Oktoberfest. The history and culture of the mass beer party is compelling enough, let alone the allure of a foreign land. But, besides this…sometimes I feel like I live the Great American Beer Fest on a weekly basis as I peruse the internet land of beer writing. There seems to be little difference besides the coagulation of beer writers and their respective beers in one building.
How about you? If someone paid your fare, which festival would you choose to attend and why?
GABF for me, hands down. As much as I appreciate Germany’s brewing history, Marzen is one of my least favorite styles. So while I’d much rather eat at Oktoberfest, GABF is where I’d rather be for beer. While we’re on the subject, the festival I most want to go to is the Festival of Barrel Aged Beers (FOBAB) in Chicago. With all of the sour and bourbon-flavored offerings, that’s my definition of heaven.
August 13th, 2010 at 7:54 am
That festival in chicago sounds right up my alley too…I cannot resist barrel aged beers, especially the sour ones. I actually have come to appreciate Marzen…took me a while though.
August 15th, 2010 at 11:09 am
Howard, they don’t do Maerzen at Oktoberfest; it’s Festbier, which is a lighter lager with more popular appeal.
To answer the main post, though – I’m not sure… If I could get out & travel, Oktoberfest by far. But if I was limited to the confines of the venue, GABF. Sitting around in a tent drinking the same beer out of liter glasses gets pretty damn old very quickly.
I’m going to GABF this year. I really want to go to Oktoberfest in Munich but that’s much more expensive than a trip in the country.
August 13th, 2010 at 7:55 am
Yeah, the trip would cost a lot more…I plan on attending both festivals someday…perhaps when I actually own a brewery and can write it off as a business expense.
If someone were footing the bill as you suggested, then I’d go with Oktoberfest. While I’m there, I’d check out a lot of other stuff too!
If I was paying my own way, than GABF all the way!!!
GABF to truely enjoy all the different craft beers out there
Oktoberfest to get truely trashed, not remember my name in the morning, have a fantastic time, and hopefully wake up with a hot German blonde chick next to me.
[...] August 13, 2010 by Big Tex Nate posed an interesting question over at ThankHeavenforBeer.com. Would you rather go to #GABF or [...]
I wouldn’t mind going to either, but hands down, given the choice, I would go for Oktoberfest over GABF. Freundliche Grüße.
Gotta go with Oktoberfest. They have been doing beer right over there for a long time, love to experience that, then try GABF.
I’d pick Oktoberfest, too. You are sure to get more variety at GABF but something about tradition and context can make something simpler much more profound.
I agree with…everyone. GABF would be great for its variety and having so many brews in one place. On the other hand, Octoberfest is a once in a lifetime trip. Which ever one my wealthy benefactor wants me to go to first is where I will head!