Atlanta German Bierfest Celebrates Nine Years
Story and photos by Tonya Vots, correspondent
Cooler, almost unseasonable temperatures set the stage for the ninth annual Atlanta German Bierfest held August 25, 2012, in semi-shady Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta. Sunny skies and a slight breeze helped attract beer fans of German and non-German descent for an afternoon of Reinheitsgebot (German Beer Purity Law of 1516) governed brews.
Early attendees scouted out shady spots to set up bag chairs and lay out blankets as they settled in to enjoy an afternoon of fine German beer, authentic food, yard games, music and socializing. Local restaurant vendors included Petite Auberge, Ormsby’s and Der Biergarten dishing up German favorites such as pretzels, bratwurst, beef sauerbraten and funnel cakes.
Twenty German breweries were represented including Weihenstephaner, Spaten, Erdinger, Jever, Gaffel and new to the bierfest this year, Bitburger. From unfiltered hazy hefeweizens to dark schwarzbiers, a full spectrum of beer color was easily found among the 45 different brews being poured. Festbier, also known as Oktoberfest or Marzen was flowing freely at several tents, along with other traditional German styles such as pils, dunkel (hefe, weiss) and Kölsch.
Online ticket sales were brisk in the weeks leading up to the fest and organizers expected to sell 3,000 tickets by the end of the festival. Drinking fest-goers received a 6 oz. souvenir glass.
The Atlanta German Bierfest is touted as family friendly and as such, kids under 15 were allowed in free. Yard games, namely cornhole and bocce, were available while others brought footballs and Frisbees. Schlager music could be heard across the park, providing a lively soundtrack to the festive atmosphere.
Designated drivers were admitted free if they reserved tickets online in advance of the festival. All designated drivers were easily identified by a visible bold black ‘X’ across the back of both hands.
New this year was a smartphone app, which provided full information about the festival, breweries and beers.
The Atlanta German Bierfest is presented by the South chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce, which promotes and supports bilateral trade between Germany and the U.S.
The bierfest is also viewed as an opportunity to celebrate German heritage and many attendees were seen in traditional German dress– variations of lederhosen and dirndls being among the most popular.
Next year will mark the 10th year of the Atlanta German Bierfest.