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Turner Valley brewery holding authentic Oktoberfest

“We’re trying to be as authentic as we can be without having to travel 10 hours on an airplane to Germany."
SCENE-Oktoberfest Fahr BWC 6633 web
Jochen Fahr, owner of Brauerei Fahr, posing with a mass (large glass mug) of Oktoberfest lager on Sept. 9. The brewery will be hosting an authentic Oktoberfest celebration on Sept. 17 and 18, starting at 4 p.m.

A little slice of Germany is coming to the Foothills this weekend.

Brauerei Fahr, located in Turner Valley, will be holding an Oktoberfest celebration Sept. 17-18.

“We’re trying to be as authentic as we can be without having to travel 10 hours on an airplane to Germany,” said brewery founder and German ex-pat Jochen Fahr.

“It’s going to be a heck of a party.”

At the centre of the party will be a beer, also bearing the name Fahr Oktoberfest. 

The seasonal lager, brewed over months starting in June and finishing in time for the fall, offers a slightly fuller profile than a crisp pils, Fahr said.

“It’s slightly sweet, very malty, but it also has a bit of a hops background,” said Fahr, who originally came to Canada to complete his PhD in biomedical engineering at the University of Calgary.

“It’s balanced, it’s clean, but it’s full-bodied.

“Original Oktoberfest beer was actually a marzen; it was kind of amber, but over time it kind of evolved into this malty deliciousness.”

With Oktoberfest celebrations cancelled in Germany, there is little in the way of similar seasonal brews leaving its borders.

“There’s no Oktoberfest beer coming out of Germany this year, so we’re the only ones here that make it, and we made oodles of it for the event,” Fahr added. 

Some other major staples of a traditional Oktoberfest celebration will be featured.

First will be a suckling pig roast, along with other traditional German fare from Bragg’s Korner Kitchen in Bragg Creek.

Kaiser’s Cakery out of Black Diamond, owned by another German ex-pat, Martina Kaiser, will be providing pretzels, made with dough being flown in from Germany.

Another time-honoured tradition will also take place at 6 p.m. both days: the tapping of a keg.

What makes it special is the contents, and while Fahr said it's a secret, he hinted that it was a much-demanded special brew.

“We will be re-releasing a beer that we haven’t had for years,” Fahr teased.

When the taps flow, they will take to the street, as the brewery got permission to close part of Kennedy Drive for the event.

This will give ample room for the variety of entertainment, including a group of German schuhplattler dancers and the European Touch Band to provide traditional German polka.

Schuhplattler dancing, named schuhe for the sole of the shoes and platt for hands held flat, the traditional folk style involves a variety of dances that hailed from rural Germany centred around high kicks and slapping hands to feet.

Some of the brewery staff will also bring their musical talents, offering traditional rock tunes for the event.

While beer is at the centre of it, Fahr said, the event is a celebration of the broader culture.

“It’s about the beer, but it’s also a culture thing,” Fahr said. “Yes people drink, but the beer is really there to underline the good mood—it’s about socializing, enjoying the culture, with a good German beer.

“With authentic German music, entertainment, and food.”

The event runs Sept. 17-18, from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m.

For more information and tickets, visit their Facebook page or www.fahr.ca/events


Brent Calver

About the Author: Brent Calver

Award-winning photojournalist for the Okotoks Western Wheel and OkotoksToday.ca
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