Steins brimming with cold lager, sizzling sausages served with mounts of sauerkraut, a boisterous song playing overhead: These are sure signs that Oktoberfest is in full swing. To help you orchestrate your own celebration, we’ve created an Oktoberfest menu featuring hearty dishes that are wonderful accompaniments to that pint (or three!) of beer. Set up a buffet and a communal table (outdoor is preferable if weather permits), and encourage guests help themselves to beer, pretzels, brats and more.
To Start: Warm Homemade Pretzels
We’d argue there’s no more impressive German snack than homemade pretzels. Sure, making your own pretzels takes some time, but you’ll be rewarded with soft, delicious braids that will far surpass any store-bought version. Serve them while they’re still warm with warm beer and cheddar dip or grainy mustard. Serve them with a wide array of your favorite lagers and other beers (if you’re going for authenticity, serve a Märzen, Oktoberfest’s traditional style of suds).
As the Main Event: Sausages and Sauerkraut
After all that work twisting your own pretzels, you’ll want to lean on a low-maintenance main course, like these balsamic-braised sausages that are prepared in the slow cooker. Serve them with their most classic accompaniment: sauerkraut.
On the Side: German Potato Salad
Potato salad is a mainstay all over Germany. There, it’s served not slathered in mayonnaise and pickles, but rather tossed in bits of smoky bacon and with vinegar, whose acidity offers a nice foil to richness of bacon fat.
To finish: Black Forest Cake
Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte—the classic better known to us as black forest cake—is famous in the country’s southwestern region. Once everyone’s had their fill of sausage, treat them to a generous slice of this cake, which is coated in a kirsch-flavored whipped cream.