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Harvard Square Oktoberfest 2011 @ Grendel’s Den

8 Oct

Many of you know that Joe and I honeymooned in Germany. In fact, while we were in Munich, we stayed very very close to the Oktoberfest grounds on the Theresienwiese. When it’s not being used as a large gathering for drinking copious amounts of beer and eating lots of pretzels, usually there is a carnival going on or some kind of huge flea market.

Every year, Harvard Sq celebrates Oktoberfest with a huge party, complete with parade and music in the form of Honk Fest.

We had a front row seat of all the parade festivities because during every Oktoberfest, we always get lunch at Grendel’s. They are one of the only restaurants that serve actual German Oktoberfest beers. Which makes me a very happy girl.

Unfortunately they don’t sell full liters but Joe and I both had a half liter of Paulaner Oktoberfest. Paulaner isn’t actually my favorite of the big six Munich beers (the other five being Hofbräu, Hacker-Pschorr, Spaten, Franziskaner, and my favorite and totally hard to find on draft in the US, Augustiner), but the Oktoberfest brew was still very very good.

We always start off with the pretzels and whole grain mustard. I prefer the pretzels here over the ones they have at Jacob Wirth’s, they are perfectly doughy with a good exterior.

Also served with the pretzels is Obatzda, which is a popular German cheese concoction composed of Camembert, butter, and other spices. It is a very pungent dish, so it’s something not to be taken lightly.

I went with the traditional bratwurst sandwich served with whole grain mustard and sauerkraut. The brat was grilled perfectly and the sauerkraut was pickled just the way I like it. It was served with some boring chips, so I filled myself up with the pretzels instead.

Joe went with the schweinebraten, which is pork with mashed potatoes and red cabbage. This was definitely Americanized, as the entire dish seemed to be braised in the same pot. It still tasted good, but was definitely NOT 100% German.

It’s Oktoberfest, right? Which means that we must have a second beer. I went with the Weihenstephaner Festbier, which was definitely more carbonated than the Paulaner. It did have a very crisp flavor, but I didn’t like it nearly as much as…

The Kostritzer Schwartzbier, which is a black lager. I had this lovely brew in Munich and it was one of my favorites of the entire trip. It has a really smooth taste, and if you don’t like aftertaste with your beer, you will DEFINITELY like this one.

And now I’m craving beer. Must remedy that.

I’m really pleased at how much larger and better Harvard Square Oktoberfest has become. It still has a long way to go (PLEASE sell more ACTUAL German beers and not just Harpoon and Sam Adams? Not that I have a problem with that…) but we definitely enjoy making our annual pilgrimage.

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