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Top Picks for Boston's Oktoberfest

By Jeff Wallace

In the eyes of most men (and woman too), the Oktoberfest holiday stands for one thing: Beer. After all it was the Germans who wrote the book on proper beer science with the "purity law" (it's technically called "Reinheitsgebot" if you're looking for a tongue twister). It states that beer can only be made with three ingredients: barley, hops, and water. It also means your hangover won't be as bad, well, maybe not. In honor of the Oktoberfest holiday, here's a trio of places that'll transport you straight to Deutschland.

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Photo Credit: Harpoon Brewery

22nd Annual Harpon Octoberfest

306 Northern Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
1-(888) HARPOON
Hours: Fri, Sept. 30 from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Doors close at 9:30 p.m.); Sat, Oct. 1 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Doors close at 7:30 pm)
Price: $20, includes a souvenir Pint Cup and one drink ticket
Must be 21 or older and have proper I.D.

With spacious digs in the ever-growing Seaport district, Harpoon Brewery hosts three of the best celebrations in town—St. Patrick's Festival, HarpoonFest (formerly Summer Session), and Harpoon Oktoberfest. With a great brew for every season and one hell of an IPA, a Northeast staple, Boston's most popular brewer—if you don't count Sam Adams—throws one of the biggest and most authentic Oktoberfest bashes in New England, complete with keg bowling and some of New England's premiere German Oompa bands. Be sure to bring cash for food and beer, which is sold for $5 per pint, well worth it because this is the freshest Harpoon you will ever taste.

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Photo Credit: Jeff Wallace

The Harvard Square Business Association presents the 33rd Annual Oktoberfest

Harvard Square
Cambridge, MA 02138
Hours: Sun, Oct. 2 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Price: Free

Harvard Square throws the biggest block party in town to celebrate Oktoberfest. 100,000 people turn up for the six-hour event, which features top-notch local bands on multiple stages, street performers including the legendary Honk! Parade, and tons of craft vendors. Just about every neighborhood business has something to add to the party. After all, the local business association puts together the event. It's a great day for migrating through the streets, but your best bet is to show up early and grab a spot at the outdoor beer garden at Charlies Kitchen, order a Harpoon Ocktoberfest, and watch football on one of the flat screens. What else would you want to do on a Sunday?

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Photo Credit: Jeff Wallace

Jacob Wirth Restaurant

31-37 Stuart St.
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 338-8586
Hours: Sun to Mon 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Tues to Wed 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thur 11:30 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Fri to Sat 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Reviews & Website

This theatre district haunt is best known for its Friday night Sing Along. But this isn't your typical piano bar with collared frat dudes and girls belting out the chorus to "Don't Stop Believing." For proof, just take a look at the menu, which mixes traditional American fare with a bunch of German classics. The Wiener Schnitzel is the true centerpiece (my German friend says it tastes just like home). There's also a whole section of the menu dedicated to the wurst. Try Jake's Black Label Sausage, which combines pork, garlic and spices and is seasoned with Jake's house dark beer. You cannot forget about the beer either: Jacob Wirth has nearly a dozen draft selections from Germany and double that in bottles. You can also order some fine micro brews from this side of the pond. Hosting your own Oktoberfest party? Jacob Wirth has a special catering menu just for the holiday.

What are you doing for Oktoberfest? Let us know in the comments!

Jeff Wallace is the music editor and concert promoter for, an online magazine that uncovers the best in Boston food, music, and entertainment. He goes to 250 concerts per year.

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