We have the Fourth of July, Mexico has Cinco de Mayo, and Ireland has St. Patrick's Day. When it came time for Germany to claim a holiday, they figured, why not just celebrate beer for a month? Touché, Germany. But since most of us can't make our way to Munich this year, restaurants around Charleston are bringing Oktoberfest to us. We found the best Bavarian meals in the area, and since no German cuisine is complete without a tall beer, the chefs paired each dish with a seasonal brew.
Oktoberfest is like Christmas for the beer aficionados at Closed For Business, where they have German-themed cuisine and a wide variety of festive imports. Beverage Director Aaron Lucas recommends the Westbrook Marzen amber ale, the Weyebacher Harvest IPA, and the Victory Festbier, a traditional German amber lager. "It's nice and light but also complex with a nutty, caramel nose," Lucas says. He likes to pair it with the house bratwurst, which is topped with housemade mustard and sauerkraut on a seeded bun served with rice ($10).
With a name like Gene's Haufbrau, it's no surprise the West Ashley pub will be celebrating with authenticity. Chef Chris Ficara recommends the Wiener schnitzel ($10.25), which is a fried veal cutlet that he serves in a lobster cream sauce with potato pancakes and braised cabbage. He says the Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse, a Bavarian brew, would make a fine accent for the hearty meal. "It's nice and creamy, and it doesn't overpower the tastes of the food."
Chef John Ondo recommends the braised pork shank dish ($23) from Lana's special Oktoberfest-inspired menu. First, He braises the pig leg for a couple of hours. "We do that to get it soft and tender and falling off the bone," he says. The shank comes with a side of mustard sauce, carrot salad, stewed purple cabbage, and Semmelknoedel, German bread dumplings. The Konig Pilsener is Ondo's favorite German beer for the dish because it's light, crisp, and easy to drink.
Though it's typically regarded as an English pub, The Griffon wouldn't miss an opportunity to celebrate their love of beer. Owner Dan Wenz recommends the fish and chips ($10), fried cod served with tartar sauce, cole slaw, and French fries. Or for something meaty, try the old-fashioned Reuben, a corned beef sandwich with swiss cheese and sauerkraut on grilled rye. Wenz's favorite beer of the month is New Belgium's Hoptober because "it's just a great seasonal, fall beer," he says.
If you want host your own fest, Ted's Butcher Block has essential meats and imported beer for a proper Bavarian party. Their bratwurst, bockwursts, knackwursts, and wieners come straight from Schaller & Weber, a traditional German producer based out of New York. They also have sauerkraut and other meats for making schnitzel. You can find a variety of German import beers at Ted's, like owner Ted Dombrowski's personal favorite, Stevens Point Oktoberfest. "It's a little lighter for people who don't want to get overwhelmed," he says. He also recommends Weihenstephaner Festbier, is a classic, festive favorite.