At the start of a new month, it’s time to scout new beer destinations. Fall is a fantastic time for beer: darker styles arrive, Oktoberfests abound, and everything just tastes better with leaves changing colors. Here’s my bucket list for October 2015:
Beachwood BBQ Sourfest, Long Beach, Calif.: This weeklong bash (Oct. 6-11) is a true feast of all things sour and tart. More than 100 kegs of sour beer take over tap lines at both Beachwood locations (Seal Beach and Long Beach), available by 5.5 and 10 ounce pours. (And yes, there will honestly be a Tums dispenser on hand.) A shuttle runs between both locations Friday through Sunday. Check out some of the incredible breweries represented here.
Montana Brewers Fall Festival, Missoula, Mont.: The banks of the Clark Fork River provide a fall backdrop for this 7th annual festival, taking place Oct. 16. One of the best features? No beer tickets, no limits on pours. Buy your $25 ticket in advance or at the door, receive your glass, and hold it out for unlimited samples of Montana-brewed beers. (For $10 extra, get in to the festival an hour early with the VIP ticket option).
Hopworks Handmade Bike & Beer Festival, Portland, Ore.: Combining two of Portlanders’ favorite things, the Oct. 3-4 festival of handmade bikes and locally brewed beers goes down at Hopworks’ Powell location. Bring the family to check out more than 30 custom frames plus live music and beers from pFriem Family Brewers, The Commons Brewery, Base Camp Brewing and more. Tickets range in price, but $25 gets you entry, a commemorative glass and 15 tickets for 4-ounce pours.
Lock, Stock & Smoking Barrels, Louisville, Ky.: Copper and Kings American Brandy distillery invited 16 breweries to age beers in their brandy barrels for nine months; all will be pouring Oct. 30 at the distillery. Breweries and cider makers include Sierra Nevada, Three Floyds, Oskar Blues, Dogfish Head and Crispin Cider, as well as locals such as Bluegrass Brewing Co., Apocalypse Brew Works, West Sixth Brewing and others. Additionally, Copper and Kings will pour its brandy aged in Dark Lord barrels from Three Floyds for the event. Tickets are $40-$45, include 10 samples, and are available here.
Zum Schneider’s Oktoberfest Munich on the East River, NYC: After the inaugural festival sold out both weekends last year, Zum Schneider’s Oktoberfest is back for another two weekends (Oct. 2-4 and Oct. 9-11), this time at the site of SolarOne on the East River. The festival, put on by the owner of Alphabet City’s Bavarian Bierhaus, features all the traditional trappings: costumed staff, a 1,000 person-capacity tent with original German furniture, liter steins, a polka band and more. General admission tickets are $25, reserved seating is $35 and VIP balcony tickets cost $100; purchase them here.
Foolproof’s Haunted Brewery Tours, Pawtucket, R.I.: Four haunted brewery tours kick off Friday and Saturday night of Halloween weekend (Oct. 30-31) at Rhode Island’s Foolproof Brewing Company. Tickets are $20 and available here.
Flying Saucer Texas BeerFeasts, three cities throughout Texas: Fort Worth, Sugar Land and Austin host stalwart beer bar Flying Saucer’s three Texas BeerFeasts, taking place Oct. 10, Oct. 3, and Oct. 17, respectively. Each features more than 80 beers from approximately 50 breweries; tickets are $35 ($45 day of, if tickets remain) and include a taster glass and 15 samples, with additional drink tickets available for purchase at the festival. A $65 VIP ticket includes early entry and access to rare beers. See the full schedule and purchase tickets here.
SanTan Oktoberfest, Chandler, Ariz.: On Oct. 3, downtown Chandler becomes a desert version of Munich as SanTan Brewing hosts its annual Oktoberfest event, complete with polka music, a brat-eating contest and a headlining set by Matisyahu. Games begin at 3:30 and include beer pong, bag toss, stein races, keg stacking, buddy carry, giant flip cup, wiener dog races and more. Tickets are $12 online, $10 at valley Bashas’ locations or $15 at the door.
Baltimore Beer Week, Baltimore, Md.: More than 300 beer events take place in Charm City between Oct. 9-18, including a kick off DAS Best Oktoberfest Oct. 10 at M&T Bank Stadium. Other events include beer dinners, tap takeover, pub crawls, homebrew gatherings and more. Check out the full lineup here.
Oktoberfest Tampa, Tampa, Fla.: Floridians celebrate the arrival of cooler weather against the backdrop of Curtis Hixon Park on Oct. 9-11 during Tampa’s annual Oktoberfest. Enjoy beers by the 16-ounce cup or 1-liter “mass bier” at communal tables (what better way to meet new neighbors) while snacking on brats, currywurst and warm pretzels. This year, the festival pours its first-ever signature beer, a dunkel, brewed in partnership with Coppertail Brewing. Tickets are $10/day or $25 for a weekend pass, and the event is free to active and retired members of the Armed Services as well as City of Tampa first responders with proper ID.
GnarBQ, Hammond, La.: Gnarly Barley Brewing hosts its first GnarBQ on Oct. 24 to coincide with the release of the first beer in its GNAR series, Imperial Korova Milk Porter. Entry is $20 and includes a plate of food made by Food Network Star Finalist Jay Ducote and a commemorative snifter glass filled with Imperial Korova. 750mL bottles of the Imperial Korova will also be available for purchase that day. Tickets are available here.