By Nate Johnson
As the popularity of craft beer continues to grow, the calendar of beer festivals seems to grow at an even more astronomical rate. Seasonal beers make up nearly a quarter of annual craft beer sales, accounting for more than $3 billion each year. Interest in our local area is no exception, as the first Midwest Oktoberfest will be held at Settlers Park in Rockton on Saturday, October 10 from 1 to 6 p.m.
“For regional beer lovers, Oktoberfest events have been limited to bar specials and cheap German knock offs.” said event organizers. “Well – we are not in Germany, and we know that people can go to a bar just about any time. So we decided to take the greatness of the traditional Oktoberfest, and put our own little Midwest Twist on it. The big feature, as it should be, is our beer. You can expect some great seasonal and Oktoberfest limited beers for your sampling pleasure. We will have the kind of beer that is so good, the world can only handle it for 1 season at a time. You can also expect other great adult beverages, and great food vendors. We celebrate our regional culture, and plan to show off exactly what makes the Midwest so great.”
Nearly 100 seasonal beers, including Oktoberfests and Marzens, pumpkin and spiced beers, and hard ciders, will be available from over two dozen breweries, both far away (Ballast Point, Deschutes) and Midwestern (Bent River and Machesney’s own Pig Minds).
Standard tickets ($30) will get you admission to the event and 15 individual samples, while the VIP ticket ($60) adds in a special event t-shirt and allows admission one hour early for the tapping of the special reserve beer selections. Additional sample tickets will be on sale for all attendees. Designated driver tickets are available for a minimal cost, and rides will be also available via Uber, who has partnered with the festival.
Besides the beer, there will be live music and games throughout the day and fire pits set up to take advantage of the autumn weather.
For tickets, you can go to midwestoktoberfest.net or search for Midwest Oktoberfest on the Eventbrite mobile app. For updates including newly-announced breweries, check their Facebook page at facebook.com/midwestoktoberfest.