With the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany already in full swing (because it starts in September, go figure), we decided to stir up our own harvest celebration, vegan style. Oktoberfest is, of course, all about merriment. With that in mind, we’re giddy about the growing vegan sausage and beer options, Berlin’s burgeoning vegan scene, and North Carolina’s vegan Oktoberfest event. Grab your stein and join us as we make the most of Oktoberfest—without any of the animals products traditionally used.
It wouldn’t be a true celebration of beer without a pint of finally vegan Guinness—last year, the iconic company completely nixed fish bladders (or isinglass) from its beer production method. Time for another round? We’re reaching for a few frothy Bavarian beers to ring in the harvest. You see, Germans are so particular about their beer brewing methods that long ago, they created “purity laws” which prohibit German beer makers from adding anything but water, hops, yeast, and grain (either barley or wheat). That’s why we’re popping bottles of German-made Pilsner, Dunkel, and Hefeweizen into our reusable six-pack carton and, of course, double-checking our selections against Barnivore.com’s extensive database of vegan-friendly beers.
During Oktoberfests past we’ve fared well with Tofurky Beer Brats, grilled over a crackling flame and served with a good grainy mustard. However, this year we’re handing over our brat business to The Herbivorous Butcher. The Minneapolis-based vegan shop offers three brat varieties—beer, curry, and sriracha. We’re devouring all three will a steaming plate of garlicky boiled potatoes. Can’t get to Minnesota? The shop offers great sampler packs of a variety of their meats and cheeses and will deliver them to you anywhere in the country before your beer loses its froth. If you’re feeling a bit lazy, head to your local Whole Foods to pick up Beyond Meat’s new Beyond Sausage in flavors such as Brat Original, Sweet Italian, and Hot Italian. Done and done!
A side of pickled cabbage is essential when celebrating German holidays and—lucky for us—sauerkraut is traditionally vegan. But making it at home seems fun but time-consuming. Since Oktoberfest isn’t going to last all month and the clock is ticking, we’re setting our sour sights on Farmhouse Culture’s unique spins on sauerkraut. While Classic Caraway seems fitting for the occasion, we’re gobbling up our brats and potatoes with their other flavors, too—such as Smoked Jalapeño, Horseradish Leek, and Golden Turmeric.
Celebrating in non-Bavarian Berlin during Munich’s time to shine may be considered a sacrilege by some, but Germany’s capital city is jam-packed with vegan options. While German food is traditionally all meat and cheese this time of year, Berlin answers the vegan call with a bevy of a eateries (which have tripled in the past five years), as well as Veganz, an entire supermarket chain dedicated to cruelty-free grub. For an Oktoberfest feast fit for German royalty, we’re hitting Kopps for brunch, where we’ll be indulging in a full buffet of cheeses, pancakes, and tofu-based dishes. Then we’ll head to Street Food Thursday in the Kreuzberg neighborhood, a lively farmers market with a wide range of vegan vendors.
Vegan Oktoberfest in Durham, NC
Of course, the easiest way to celebrate vegan Oktoberfest is to attend farm sanctuary Graze in Peace Farm Animal Rescue and Learning Center’s Vegan Oktoberfest in Durham, NC on October 6. All the odds-and-ends are covered at this party which features vegan beer from Allagash, Tofurky sausages, and German apple cake. In addition to all the veganized eats, guests will hae the chance to meet more than 40 rescued animals. Plus, a live performance by folk rock band The John Cross Project and bluegrass from the MidCoast Boomer Band. Given the popularity of last year’s celebration, we can’t wait to see recommend getting your tickets—and faux leather lederhosen—pronto.
Photo courtesy of Vegan Oktoberfest