Finding Oktoberfest Eats

Barrel Republic Bacon-Wrapped Pork Belly (courtesy photo)

Break out the polka tunes and lederhosen – it’s time for Oktoberfest! While the traditional Munich celebration may have more than 150 years on the US, that doesn’t mean San Diegans can’t throw a great party. Taking place from September 28th through October 13th, Oktoberfest festivities are in full swing in La Mesa, Encinitas, Carlsbad and Ocean Beach! Before you chug down steins of frosty brew, dig into some bratwursts and sway to the oom-pah beat, find your German spirit with some of the best starters and sips where food meets beer before Oktoberfest.

Prepare for the party in La Mesa at Farmer’s Table, the neighborhood gem for food-to-fork flavors and locally-sourced organic ingredients. Incorporating innovative spins on time-tested family recipes, authentic cooking methods and vintage rough-hewn farmhouse details, Farmer’s Table sets the scene for a memorable Oktoberfest accompaniment! Chow down on the Cranberry Wild Boar Sausage, served to share with soft polenta, Julian caramelized bell peppers and sautéed onions.

Curb your cravings along the coast Union Kitchen & Tap Encinitas, the modern yet rustic eatery that is drawing in the North County crowd in droves. Featuring cuisine made from scratch, craft beers, signature cocktails and an unrivaled stylish and comfortable ambiance, it’s no surprise that Union Kitchen & Tap is one of the top spots to kick off your celebration in this seaside town. Settle in with a pint of beer to pair with their Dry Rubbed Wings, perfect for socializing over smoky wing flavors including house bourbon peach BBQ, spicy buffalo sauce, or Sriracha-maple glaze.

Prior to partaking in Carlsbad’s Oktoberfest, rest up and recharge at Barrel Republic near the Carlsbad Village. This mecca for craft beer offers the sweet taste of freedom for festival-goers – the freedom to pour, that is! Sample selections of craft brew straight from the tap at this local spot before committing to a stein or two in the tents. Couple with an extensive menu of upscale American fare from smoked salmon and grilled cheese to the shareable Bacon-Wrapped Pork Belly, honey-glazed to perfection and served with a light kale slaw!

Snag an Oktoberfest staple at barleymash, the Gaslamp’s high-energy downtown restaurant and bar that celebrates rich and progressive bar fare. Drawing heavy inspiration from the two barroom staples of beer and barley (much like Oktoberfest!), barleymash brings together a uniquely American dining experience and aesthetic with elevated comfort food and good times that are meant to be shared. Sink your teeth into an order of the Pretzels N’ Dip, a plate of house-made garlic butter pretzels served with carrot sticks, celery, apples, molten poblano beer-cheddar sauce and whole grain honey-porter mustard.

Embrace the German way at The Whiskey House, the Gaslamp’s premier whiskey bar! Home to the largest whiskey collection in California with over 2500 diverse bottles onsite along with eclectic craft cocktails and international draft beers, The Whiskey House makes for an unrivaled drinking destination in the heart of San Diego. Get your fix of German cuisine with a delectable selection of fresh ground burgers, exotic cheeses, exquisite charcuterie and house-made sausages including the Bratwurst Sausage, served with savory grilled onions, sauerkraut and creole mustard.

Fuel up for the day ahead at Lazy Hippo, the centrally-located downtown destination for all the best brunch needs. Promising fun and filling breakfast plates that break the mold on the traditional breakfast café, this cute and quirky one-stop spot takes care of your early morning munchies with healthy ingredient alternatives and vibrant vegetarian options. Start your day with a fork in hand with a heaping plate of the Fried Chicken Waffle, served Belgian style with three pieces of crispy fried chicken breast topped with hot cinnamon apple sauce and syrup.