Subscribe Now

Yes, it’s called Oktoberfest. But did you know that the bulk of Oktoberfest generally takes place not in its namesake month, but in September?

The original Oktoberfest celebrated the marriage of Bavaria’s Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen in 1810. The celebration became an annual thing, but the dates shifted earlier over the years, the allow revelers to enjoy long daylight and warmer weather. Today, the Bavarian city of Munich remains home to the most famous of all Oktoberfests, which generally starts in mid-September and ends in early October.

Many smaller-scale celebrations, however, are held all over the world, including right here on the North Shore. So dust off your lederhosen or your dirndl and read on to learn how and where to hoist a stein this month.

On the North Shore

BareWolf Brewing, Amesbury | Sept. 17
A family-friendly celebration includes food trucks, live music, Bavarian pretzels, games, kid’s activities, a photo booth, and, of course, beer. The brewery will be serving four new German-inspired brews for the event including a traditional Marzen lager and a Grodziskie, a Polish-style brew that uses smoke wheat mealt.

Oak & Iron Brewing Co., Andover | Sept. 17
While many Oktoberfest celebrations wander into tipsy territory pretty quickly, the Oak & Iron Oaktoberfest prides itself on maintaining a family-friendly (and pet-friendly) vibe. Events will include a blessing of the beer, oompah and contemporary bands, hop picking, pumpkin painting, and more. The day will also mark the launch of the brewery’s Oaktoberfest lager. Tickets available at Eventbrite.

Notch Brewing, Salem | Sept. 18
Sip a seasonal festbier, dine on Bavarian specialties, and tap your feet to traditional oompah music without leaving the North Shore. A lederhosen and dirndl contest will make it worth donning your best German finery. Visit for more info about the brewery and location.

Great Marsh Brewing | Sept. 22-24
Essex’s Great Marsh Brewing will be celebrating Oktoberfest for three days, but Saturday is the main event. The brewery will host an official United States Steinholding Association sanctioned competition: The top two men and the top two women will be eligible to compete in the state finals on October 2.

RiverWalk Brewing, Newburyport | Sept. 24
This celebration includes all the essentials – seasonal beers, oompah music, bratwursts, and giant steins to fill with your favorite frosty brew. There will even be Oktoberfest-inspired pizzas. Check out the details on Facebook.

Common Craft, Burlington | Sept. 24
This new local beverage purveyor at the Burlington Mall celebrates its first fall in business with plans for an exuberant Oktoberfest. The event will feature beer from Malden’s Idle Hands Craft Ales, German food, live music, games, and a costume contest. Tickets available at Eventbrite.


Lord Hobo Seaport | Sept. 17
Lord Hobo was founded in Woburn, but to enjoy its brews for Oktoberfest, you’ll want to head to the location in Boston’s Seaport district. Buy a 20-ounce mug at the door and have it filled with Oktoberfest-exclusive Festbier or the brewery’s popular 617 lager. There will also be oompa music, a specially curated German menu, and prizes for the best German garb. More details at the brewery website.

Octoberfest at Samul Adams Brewery | Photograph courtesy of Boston Beer Co.

Samuel Adams | Sept. 23-25
The most Boston of beer brand is doubling the fun, with Oktoberfest action at both its Jamaica Plain brewery and its Faneuil Hall taproom. Both locations will feature live music, DJs, and stein hoisting contests. The taproom will be serving up special pretzel and bratwurst combo plates, while the brewery will host a rotation of food trucks. More details available at the Sam Adams website (scroll down a bit).

Harpoon Brewery | Sept. 30 – Oct. 1
Harpoon’s largest event of the year promises classic events like stein hoisting and live oompah music, some twists on tradition like a pretzel-eating contest, and a few completely original touches – who’s up for a chicken dancing competition? Visit the Harpoon website for tickets and more details.