Bust out your finest lederhosen, grab das boot and get ready to party: Oktoberfest has officially begun. The Bavarian harvest celebration and drinking festival started on September 16 and continues through October 3. (Yes, we’re aware that it’s still September, but that’s just how Oktoberfest works.)
It’s not all drunken debauchery, though. This year, why not use the festival as an excuse to boost your beer knowledge? After all, you’ll be imbibing plenty of seasonal suds at any Oktoberfest party and you might as well be able to tell what you’re drinking. Learn your ales from your stouts in one of these six beer-centric classes in NYC—and don’t blame us if you turn into a beer snob.
Cooking With Beer at Taste Buds Kitchen; Sept 21 at 8:30pm; $79
If the only foods you pair with beer are burgers and steaks, you’re seriously missing out. Find out how to incorporate suds into everything from vinaigrettes to mac and cheese to chocolate cake in this two-hour cooking class. Bring a bottle or two of your favorite brew to wash down the gourmet meal you’ll create.
Beer 101 at Top Hops Beer Shop; Sept 26 at 7pm; $50
If Blue Moon is your idea of craft beer, it’s time to seriously up your game. New beer drinkers should start in this introductory class at Top Hops Beer Shop. The expert instructors will explain all the basics—everything from the brewing process to the major beer styles to regional specialties—while pouring generous tasting of the shop’s best brews.
Brewshop 101: Home-Brewing Essentials at Bitter and Esters; Sept 28 at 6:30pm; $55
Bitter and Esters is to beer nerds what Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory was to Charlie Bucket. Geek out over all the bubblers, kettles and other brewing gadgets, then sign up for one of the shop’s DIY brewing classes to learn how to make your favorite beer at home. You can even brew your first batch on the premises.
German Beers at Top Hops Beer Shop; Oct 2 at 7pm; $50
You’re going to want to be able to tell Berliner weisse from festbier before you grab a stein at one of the many Oktoberfest events in NYC. Get the lowdown on regional specialties like kolsch, gose, helles and more in this tasting class in the Lower East Side brew shop.
Oktoberfest Beer and Cheese at Murray’s Cheese; Oct 6 at 6:30pm; $80
There’s a reason why game day nachos taste even better with an ice-cold Bud Light: Cheese and beer just go together. The fromage-obsessed folks at Murray’s Cheese put together an entire tasting centered around that theme—albeit with more sophisticated flavors. Sample six thoughtfully chosen beer and cheese pairings during this evening class.
Formaggio and Birra: Domestic and Italian Beer and Cheese at La Scuola at Eataly; Oct 7 at 6pm; $75
When you’ve had your fill of schnitzel and bratwurst, hightail it to La Scuola at Eataly to try Italy’s best brews and cheese. Explore the differences between American and Italian cheese, then taste test some of the chef’s favorites. You’ll leave with all the intel you need to put together a killer cheeseboard at home.
The best part? All of these classes include at least a few sips of the good stuff. We’ll raise a glass to that. Prost!