Oktoberfest officially begins in the Berkshires. Here’s how you can celebrate | Local News

Craft breweries and bars around the Berkshires are ringing in the Oktoberfest celebration over the coming weeks with new beers and special events.

The festival, which started Saturday, is celebrated over two weeks and ends on Oct. 3 this year. It has been a tradition in Munich since 1810 to celebrate the royal marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria. Its celebration, most notably its impetus to consume beer, has expanded to other parts of the world, including Western Mass.

Bright Ideas Brewing got the party started on Saturday with its “Brightoberfest” celebration, featuring a beer of the same name on tap. The event ran from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday featuring traditional food and a live DJ, but the beer will remain on tap as long as kegs remain.

The Brightoberfest is a festbier-style lager brewed with malts from Munich and Vienna described as “slightly sweet, clear and drinkable,” by Bright Ideas bartender Cody Chamberlain. It’s available now at the taproom at 111 Mass MoCA Way in North Adams.

The festivities don’t stop there. Hot Plate Brewing Co. at 1 School St. in Pittsfield will host Funk the ‘Fest on Sept. 23. The event will feature a three hour performance and drop-in jam session with local drummer Will Carroll from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Co-owner Mike Dell’Aquila said the celebration was intended to be “an American sort of remix on a traditional holiday.” The event will feature an outdoor beer garden on School Street, a limited menu from Patrick’s Pub and culminate in a watch party for Penn State football when they play during primetime.

It will also feature the release of a new beer, a Märzen-style lager made with locally sourced malts called “To Begin Again.” The beer, an amber-colored lager with a crisp, clean finish per Dell’Aquila, drew its name from the Maya Angelou poem “Late October.”

The live music will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., but the taproom will be open starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Bousquet Mountain at 101 Dan Fox Drive will host its second annual Oktoberfest celebration on Oct. 1 from noon to 5 p.m. The event will feature stein-holding contests, keg tosses and a pretzel-eating contest.

The event will also feature offerings from a wide variety of local and regional breweries, including Berkshire Brewing Co., Shire Beer Co., Big Elm Brewing Co. and Antimony Brewing. Live music and German food will be onsite, too.

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