Austin’s Oktoberfest gets the royal treatment: party with the prince, according to tradition, at Koko’s Bavarian Biergarten – Food

Konstantin “Koko” Prinz von Bayern (r) and master brewer Katie Lowe at Koko’s Bavarian; Left: The royal keg-tapping (Photos by Jana Birchum)

We’re celebrating Oktoberfest again here in Austin, of course, even though our cash-crazed metropolis is – clap-clap-clap-clap! – in the heart of Texas and far from Germany or Germany’s largest state, Bavaria, where the vacation originally took place.

But then, damn it, Oktoberfest is celebrated all over the planet at this point. Oktoberfest is celebrated wherever beer is loved, whether that gregarious bastion of zythophiles is Austin, Toledo, Tokyo or Timbuktu. And, even though it’s called Oktoberfest and it tends to pop up all year round 10th month, the official Bavarian holiday runs from mid-September or late September to around the first Sunday in October.

You might be wondering, as you hoist your second or third mug of festbier into a local epicenter of beer-fueled mafficking, how this popular tradition began in the first place. You might be wondering, as you adjust the rustic dirndl you’ve barely slipped into for the occasion, who the hell is that guy tapping the first keg of the holiday at the Bavarian Biergarten in Koko, Germany’s last stronghold in Austin food and romp? And why do people keep referring to the smiling boy as “The Prince”?

Koko Bavarian Brats (courtesy of Koko’s Bavarian)

Well, citizen, these mysteries are intertwined – because Konstantin Prinz von Bayern, the affable thirtysomething royal they call Prince Koko, is the great-great-great-great-great-grandson of the King of Bavaria Ludwig I. And it was the celebration of that same marriage of Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810, which led directly to the rejoicings that bring the soapy elixir of John Barleycorn to your lips at this time.

Yeah, brewski hound, that’s one hell of a bloodline.

It’s also what led Prince Konstantin to become co-owner of this increasingly popular biergarten on Austin’s Eastside. “After first visiting Austin in 2017,” Koko tells us via email, “I fell in love with the city and its vibrant food scene. At my wedding in 2018, Charles [Attal, of ACL and C3 Presents fame]Jesse [Herman, the man behind La Condesa and Sway], and I started talking about the possibility of opening a Bavarian restaurant in Austin. At first, we were just playing with the idea. But then they called me in 2020, said they had a potential location, and things got a little more serious. After spending a lot of time thinking, finding German words for a name, they called me one day and said, “Why not call him Koko? And I thought to myself, why not!

We’re sharing this story because it’s fundamentally compelling and resonates with current beer festivities. But also because, as we reported in a recent blog post, a visit from a few months ago revealed that “Koko’s Bavarian is, ach du lieber, a real biergarten of many gastronomic delights. The range of beers – Pilsners, lagers, helles, hefeweizens, bocks, dunkels, IPAs – made on-site by head brewer Katie Lowe, lip-smacking kitchen perfection from roast chickens and various wonderful wursts (mmmm, this rabbit and rattlesnake sausage), the laid-back, welcoming vibe of the well-designed E. Cesar Chavez place there…yeah, we’re definitely fans. We wouldn’t tell you about this place if it weren’t for it the pain, you see?

It is certainly worth the prince. “I am very proud that my family is associated with such a historic event which is still of great importance in Bavaria and beyond,” says Konstantin. “I’m equally proud and excited to bring Oktoberfest to Austin to represent my homeland.” And he did, in person, tapping out that inaugural barrel on stage in his namesake venue on Saturday, September 24, amid lots of German-style hoots and howls.

And now the Oktober festivities continue at Koko’s Bavarian, spanning three more weekends (September 30-October 2; October 21-23; October 28-30) with a two-week break to sell at ACL Fest, featuring a seasonal beer special, live bands, games, food specials, and more. In addition to the regular line of alcoholic beverages, sudsmeister Lowe will launch Koko’s Festbier (5.7% ABV), which features German hops and Texas malt from Ft. Worth. Live music and DJs will start at 3 p.m. each day — including the Austin Polka Band, Off the Grid, Neon Bridges, and more — and keep the place as lively as an Ostrogoth on Adderall.

There are of course other such Oktoberfest events around town, filled with more camaraderie and beer than a fellowship on a Saturday night, and we’ve prepared some recommendations for you. But before continuing, as it’s not every day that we get the attention of the man whose direct ancestor launched the Oktoberfest, we had to ask the prince one last question: Beyond of this annual celebration, what type of beer do you most often drink? ?

“My favorites are Tegernseer Hell, Augustiner, König Ludwig Hell, Maxlrainer Hell and Arcobrau Mooser Liesl,” Koko told us. “The word ‘hell’ means light. Therefore, you can easily notice that I am a big fan of lager. Here and there I also taste a Radler (shandy), which is a beer served with sparkling lemonade. “

Prost, Your Highness!

More Oktober parties


Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg

It’s the big, yes, 42nd annual Oktoberfest celebration in the deepest Germanic heartland of the Texas Hill Country – and the polka capital of this state, no less! – with a weekend of oompah music at its best, the best of German food and drink, local artisan markets and a kids’ area for all kinds of family fun. Jah, that’s three days, five stages, and more festivities than you can shake a giant pretzel, liebschen! Sept. 30-Oct. 2. Fri, 6 p.m.-12 p.m.; Sat, 10am-12pm; Sun, 11am-6pm. 126 W. Main, Fredericksburg. oktoberfestinfbg.com

Jester King Brewery

The Hill Country-embracing Jester King rolls out every barrel of fun possible, with live music, Bavarian food, and plenty of beer — plus Thursday trivia, Friday drag bingo, and drum-rolling contests and holding a mug on Sunday. Sept. 29-Oct. 2. Jester King, 13187 Fitzhugh. jesterkingbrewery.com.

Oktoberfest

The Hajimaleki brothers and their acclaimed culinary team host a family-friendly Oktoberfest that features German food, beer, live music, face painting, costume contests, and more. Enjoy freshly grilled brats on a pretzel bun with sauerkraut, pork knuckle with pickled red cabbage and beer mustard on buns, jumbo-sized ginger snaps, and more — encouraged by fine drafts from Independence Brewing Co., Friends & Allies and Whitestone Brasserie. Oh, and the folks at Jägermeister will also be there to whip you up some powerful cocktails. Bonus: a pet adoption pop-up from Austin Dog Rescue. Sat.-Sun., Oct. 1-2. Oasthouse, 5701 W. Slaughter. oasthouseaustin.com.

The “Oastoberfest” has spread to Oasthouse (courtesy of Oasthouse)

Corktoberfest

Sure, the place is in Round Rock (roll those stops, citizen!), but who cares if this popular Irish pub isn’t worth the little drive. Especially in Cork & Barrel, where the Irish are briefly Germanic, and where there’s a mug-holding contest and a Bavarian costume contest (there’s also one for your pets), and even a tasting station. root beer and lebkuchen decoration for kids. Plus, live music on Saturdays – and pretzels, schnitzels, kartoffelsalat and homemade apple strudel and more on the menu all weekend. October 1-2. Sat, 2pm-10pm; Sun., 2 p.m.-9 p.m. Cork & Barrel, 4000 E. Palm Valley, Round Rock. $38-65. corkandbarrelpub.com.

Banger’s Sausage House

Gotta find a place with sausages as perfect as this local gem serves, they’re going to rock the Oktober festivities in a big way. How about three days of bands of oompah, schnitzel, lederhosen, dirndls, crispy potato cakes, weisswurst and all sorts of delicious German-influenced pastimes for – oh! Beer? A palate-pleasing array of quaffs: Live Oak’s Oaktoberfest, Austin Beerworks’ Montecore, Zilker Wunderbier, Weihenstephan Festbier, Hacker-Pschorr Festbier, Whitestone Opa’s Lederhosen, Paulaner Festbier, and more, more, more, until those pints overflow. October 6-8. Thu, 4pm-11pm; Fri, noon-11pm; Sat., 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Banger’s Sausage, 79 Rainey. bangersaustin.com.

Oompah Bands at Banger’s Sausage House (courtesy of Bangers)

Infamous Brewing

It’s time to put on your lederhosen (or, jah, your prettiest dirndls) for a full afternoon and evening of das Deutschenshenaniganners. Here you’ll find firkin tapping, 20-ounce mugs, a mug-lifting contest, keg tossing, and (naturlich!) plenty of German food and live music among the famously infamous beers. Fri. Oct. 7, 3 p.m.-9 p.m. Infamous brewing company, 4602 Weletka. infamousbrewing.com.

German Texas Heritage Society

This is the day this Austin institution invites the general public – that is, you, the citizen – to its historic building and terraced gardens “to enjoy an afternoon of all things German and gemütlichkeit [a state of belonging, warmth, and friendliness].” Saturday, October 8, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. The German Free School, 507 E. 10th. germantexans.org.

About James Almanza

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