By JOHN FELTMAN
Noch ein Bier, bitte. For those who don’t know German, I’ll take another beer please. The annual Oktoberfest returned to Tampa once again this past weekend, Oct. 13-15. I and other Tampa residents at Curtis Hixon Park were lucky to have the the slight breeze on the Saturday cloudy afternoon for our drinking activities. I was ready to get my drink on (cheers) and boy, was I in for a treat.
The crowd was large. Curtis Hixon Park was set up like a zoo, with fences surrounding the perimeter of the area. There were a lot of people dressed like true German’s, which was nice to see people really get into the Oktoberfest spirit. For someone who enjoys a wide variety of beers, I went into the event ready to try all of the beers that were made available for purchase. For just $20, you were given a beer stein, and beer of your choice filled to the absolute top. Some notable beers that were offered were Goose Island, Beck’s, Canterbury Wheat and Copper tail. I prepared by chugging multiple bottles of water, and ate a small meal right before. My stomach, liver, and mind were ready for the challenge.
Remember kids, if you’re going to darty during a hot, sunny day, always stay hydrated. I was blessed with perfect conditions, and while I waited in line I couldn’t wait for my first gulp of beer.
I am very disappointed I didn’t get my hands on lederhosen to wear for the fest. Wearing a John Wall Kentucky Wildcats jersey made me look very out of place (I am sports guy, can’t help myself). Anyway, I started off the day with a liter of Goose Island, and it did not disappoint. An IPA craft beer, it might’ve been one of the best beers I have ever had. Once the cold brew touched my lips, it went down so smooth, but had a slight bitter aftertaste. With a sort of fruity taste to it, I highly recommend for IPA lovers. If you aren’t a big drinker, the fest had plenty of activities offered for all ages. Keg races, corn hole games, live music and other spontaneous games that you can enjoy.
As the day moved along, more and more things started to become a blur. When I drink, I like to enjoy my beer and really appreciate the good taste. The problem is, once I’ve had quite a few beers, I start to drink a lot faster. You could probably interpret the type of condition I was in after a couple hours. And as I continued to drink, the more activities I decided to participate in.
A few of my buddies and I decided to do a keg race against a group of other dudes. We were in the lead until the very end, but then my friend forgot how feet are supposed to work and fell flat on his behind. I made sure he wouldn’t forget his mishap the rest of the day. I don’t know about you, but the more beer I drink in a day, the more tastier each additional beer becomes. And after losing in the keg race, you know I went right to the concession tent to refill my beer stein. And of course, there was a problem.
I went for a fourth refill of my beer stein, but there seemed to be a problem with my debit card. The woman at the concession stand was explaining that I had “insufficient funds” on my card. This is exactly what every college student wants to hear whenever they try and make a purchase. This was a nightmare situation. Here I was thinking I that am officially broke, and my beer stein was empty. But, I refused to throw in the towel. I called my bank right away, and it felt like the longest phone call of my life (it was only six minutes and thirty two seconds). Long story short, I wasn’t actually broke, and the card reader at the concession tent just wasn’t able to read my card. I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
After a long day of drinking, I somehow made it through the fest. Once the sun went down, I lost count of how many times I had refilled my beer stein. But, it was worth every single penny. For those who were not able to attend this year’s event, I highly recommend going next year. Like I said, even if you want to get out for the day and enjoy some great live music and food, this is the place for you. Even if you don’t really enjoy beer, I recommend you at least try some. At this festival, the beer offered isn’t a normal everyday domestic that you are probably accustomed to drinking. Numerous flavors will open up your beer taste buds. However, always remember to enjoy responsibly.
John Feltman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org