For many Austinites, the beginning of fall heralds the arrival of big festivals like Austin City Limits Fest, Austin Film Fest and Texas Book Fest. For craft beer fans, it means counting down to (and preparing for) a whole week’s worth of beer events at the end of October. Although Austin Beer Week is still a good month away, this coming weekend seems to be a bit of a crash course in what’s to come, with a solid roster of Oktoberfest celebrations, Texas’ biggest craft beer festival and more. Here’s a round-up.
Banger’s Oktoberfest. The third year of Oktoberfest at this Rainey Street bar might be the most ambitious Oktoberfest celebration around, with a full 10 days left of scheduled events. The fun includes — in addition to the requisite beer, of course — live music, Oktoberfest-inspired food specials, and games such as hammerschlagen (I’m not sure what that is, either), human pinball, chicken shit bingo and stein races. But let’s go back to the beer. Each week, the bar is featuring a different local brewery (Thursday and Friday will be all about Live Oak, whereas Saturday and Sunday highlight Hops & Grain), along with a bunch of German beers. Banger’s will carry on with Oktoberfest through Oct. 5. 11 a.m. Thursday-Sunday. 79 & 81 Rainey St. bangersaustin.com.
The Brew & Brew’s 1st Anniversary Party. The owners of this equal parts coffee shop and beer bar on the east side of town have been stocking up on both draft and canned beers for this celebration on Thursday evening, so they’ll have lots of solid options to choose from, including Real Ale Scots Gone Wild, Prairie Cherry Funk and Hops & Grain Wet Hop. There will also be music by Punctum Records that starts at 7 p.m. And just in case you aren’t done commemorating one year of the Brew & Brew after only one night, other events there this weekend include Friday’s Rare Beer, Rare Blends night. Co-owner Grady Wright will pour pairs of beers left over from the heavy-hitting tap list into each other, producing intriguing results. 6 p.m. Thursday. 500 San Marcos St. Ste. 105. www.facebook.com/thebrewandbrew.
Jester King’s Aurelian Lure release. The second batch of Jester King’s barrel-aged wild beer refermented with apricots (the first blend was released during the last Austin Beer Week) will go on sale, one bottle per customer per day, starting when the brewery opens on Friday afternoon. There will be more bottles of this release available than the recent Fen Tao, but there is also a new policy in the works ensuring that people stick to the bottle limit: “We will be applying a small, inconspicuous mark to each purchaser’s wrist in semi-permanent ink,” said Jester King’s blog. “We’d prefer not to have to do this, but unfortunately the number of people who snuck through the line multiple times (sometimes wearing a disguise!) at our recent Fēn táo bottle release was quite significant.” 4 p.m. Friday. 13187 Fitzhugh Rd. jesterkingbrewery.com.
Oktoberfest at Easy Tiger. Easy Tiger’s first big Oktoberfest celebration even includes a collaboration beer that the beer bar and bake shop has done with Austin Beerworks, called Montecore. But that’s not the only beer that will be featured — Oktoberfest draft selections include Left Hand Oktoberfest, Ommegang Scythe and Sickle and Live Oak Oaktoberfest. Expect special German-style foods for the two-day event as well. One such offering is an Oktoberfest board that has knackwurst with curry ketchup, griddled onions and sauerkraut and much more. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free. 709 E. Sixth St. 512-614-4972, www.facebook.com/EasyTigerATX.
AustOberfest. Dust off your lederhosen and dirndls — it’s time for Austin’s version of Oktoberfest. The authentic celebration of all things German will bring you all the beer and sausage you could want, along with bowling, live music and dancing, and other fun activities. The German-style sausages will be provided from some of Central Texas’ top meat purveyors, including La Barbecue, Micklethwait Craft Meats and Hoover’s Cooking, and German beers will be available from award-winning breweries like Paulaner and Hacker Pschorr. Expect the live music to range from polka to honky tonk to big band. The sausage tasting will go through 5 p.m., while everything else will last until 11 p.m. 1 p.m. Saturday. $40 in advance, $50 at the door. Scholz Garten, 1607 San Jacinto Blvd. www.austoberfest.com .
Texas Craft Brewers Festival. I’ll have a preview of the festival in Friday’s Austin360 with beer recommendations, so be sure to check out the longer piece then. In the meantime, know that it’s probably Texas’ biggest beer event; this year’s will feature almost 150 beers from 57 Texas breweries and brewpubs. 2 p.m. Saturday. $10-$25. Fiesta Gardens, 2101 Jesse E. Segovia St. texascraftbrewersfestival.org.
And in case you’re more of a cocktail drinker: Imbibe Magazine and exceptional craft cocktail bar Half Step will host a pig roast on Saturday. And you know there will be drinks. Bar owner Chris Bostick and his crew will serve four Aviation Gin cocktails, including a classic gin and tonic, along with the whole pig and homemade sides. Tickets for the event, which runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Rainey Street bar, cost $25 in advance, $30 at the door, and can be purchased online at imbibehalfstep.bpt.me. — Matthew Odam