Busch Gardens’ new Oktoberfest-themed festival called Bier Fest will run weekends Aug. 25 through Sept. 16, including Labor Day.
Similar in style to the park’s spring Food and Wine Festival, the Bier Fest will feature culinary cabins set up around the park with small-plate options designed to pair well with beer.
That includes "the Best of the Wurst," German "fast food" with a twist such as curry wurst — knockwurst, fresh caraway slaw and curry ketchup on a pita — and a jaw-stretching schnitzel — a huge thin pork cutlet fried and topped with Swiss cheese and mushrooms on a pretzel roll.
The Das Sliders cabin will have two-bite burgers, including a Cuban-style pork burger; and Impossible sliders, the plant-based "bleeding" burger famous for its similarity to beef. Hops & Handhelds will include bite-sized Reuben croquettes, soft pretzel sticks with bacon beer-cheese dip, and mac and cheese fritters. Tavern will update the classic fish and chips, and Kebabs will have seared skewers of beef, chicken, kielbasa and vegetables.
The Seasonally Inspired kiosk will have an end-of-summer salad of watermelon with heirloom tomatoes and feta; golden beets roasted and tossed with pecans, goat cheese, and balsamic vinegar; and crispy duck glazed with sweet and spicy gochujang chili paste, paired with the last peaches of summer.
More than 100 beers from 60 different breweries around the world will rotate through the four-weekend festival. Tampa Bay’s own craft beer scene will be represented by:
• 3 Daughters Brewing
• 7venth Sun Brewery
• Big Storm Brewing Co.
• Cigar City Brewing Co.
• Coppertail Brewing Co.
• Crooked Thumb Brewery
• Florida Avenue Brewing Co.
• Funky Buddha Brewery
• Green Bench Brewing Co.
• Islamorada Beer Co.
• M.I.A. Beer Co.
• Swamp Head Brewery
The domestic and international selection will include beers from Founders Brewing Co., Goose Island, Hofbrau Munchen, Kona Brewing Co., Kostritzer, SeaDog, Warsteiner, Yuengling and many others.
Bier Fest is included in park admission ($105, less if you buy online in advance) and also features live entertainment, but not a concert series like the Food and Wine Festival.
The park will sell a Bier Fest Sampler, available in quantities of five or 10, starting at $29.99 for a choice of any food or beverage sample. Passholders can purchase a 12-item sampler for the same price as a 10-item sampler.
For tickets or information see buschgardenstampa.com.
Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at [email protected] Follow @SharonKWn.