HOPS! Oktoberfest

View from the Franklin Street bridge Friday evening

View from the Franklin Street bridge Friday evening

Saturday the 24th, as I posted a while back, was the date for HOPS! Oktoberfest. Earlier in the week, the weather reports all predicted a nice sunny day, but as the week wore on, rain started creeping into the forecast. Friday evening, as I left work, it wasn’t looking too good.

And sure enough, the light sprinkling that greeted me as I arrived at the Bridgeport VFW that morning to set up soon became a full-on downpour. “Have faith,” advised Chris Etsch, a club officer and perpetually cheery guy. “This is gonna end before 2 o’clock and we’re gonna have a great day.”

A little while later Chris came into the building with a big smile on his face and said “What’d I tell you? Sunshine.” It was gorgeous outside. And I don’t believe we saw another drop of rain that day.

So from all angles, the event was a big success. The weather was agreeable, we had a great turnout, everybody had a good time, the roasted pig was amazing, the rest of the food was great too, and of course there was a ton of fantastic beer there as well.

I wasn’t able to pull together the spaetzle that I’d wanted to make, but the kassler was my best yet. It was completely gone within 20 minutes of being served and I got a bunch of great compliments on it (including one very nice fellow who told me it was the best pork he’d ever eaten). I got some compliments on my beer as well but I know it was not my best work. As always, next time it’ll be better.

Here are some photos from the event. At some point I must have forgotten I had a camera on me; I wish I’d gotten photos of the pig, or of my kassler, or of the amazing spread we served. Oh well.

10:47 am, setting up

10:47 am, setting up

My little bullet smoker, making kassler magic happen

My little bullet smoker, making kassler magic happen

Representing

Representing

With rain still coming down, we erected some additional tents

With rain still coming down, we erected some additional tents

These tubs would hold kegs of some of the 70+ beers available

These tubs would hold kegs of some of the 70+ beers available

More tubs

More tubs

Some of the kegs, awaiting ice

Some of the kegs, awaiting ice

More kegs. They were still being carried in while I was taking these pictures.

More kegs. They were still being carried in while I was taking these pictures.

A small fraction of the veal frankfurters and knackwurst that would be grilled over the course of the day.

A small fraction of the veal frankfurters and knackwurst that would be grilled over the course of the day.

The La Caja China pig roaster in full swing

The La Caja China pig roaster in full swing

This was early in the day. A respectable crowd already.

This was early in the day. A respectable crowd already.

I’m making kassler again for the smaller Oktoberfest party my neighbor is throwing next weekend. We have the party every year and usually we drink a wide variety of commercial Oktoberfest beers in addition to having a German-themed cookout. However, one drunken night earlier this year, we decided that we’d each brew 5 gallons of Oktoberfest beer ourselves to have on tap for the event. So in addition to just being a great party, this weekend is a HOMEBREW THROWDOWN.

I think neither one of us brewed our Okfests strictly to style, but they’re both pretty impressive beers and it should be a fun time. And hey, it’s not like we have any BJCP judges coming. I don’t think so anyway…