From drinks to beer events worth the drive, there's plenty to celebrate this month.
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Dakota Inn Rathskeller Okotberfest
If you havent experienced the Dakota Inn Rathskeller, or even if you have, the Dakota Inns Oktoberfest is the time to do so. Open since 1933, this German-inspired restaurant specializes in beer, sausage, and all things gemutlich. Youll get to experience music from 8 p.m. to midnight every Friday and Saturday until the end of October for only a $3 admission fee. And its not just oom-pah: Therell be a Harry Lutz & Die Fahrenden Musikanten (Oct. 7-8), Tommy Schober & Sorgenbrecher Band (Oct. 14-15 and Oct. 28-29), Dick Wagner & Die Rhinelander Band (Oct. 21), and the Immigrant Sons (Oct. 22). And dont forget your chicken hat, or purchase one there: That zany headgear is sure to get you in a festive mood. From 8 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays until the end of October at the Dakota Inn Rathskeller, 17324 John R St., Detroit; dakota-inn.com/calendar.
Detroit Fall Beer Festival
Its time for the Eighth Annual Detroit Fall Beer Festival in Eastern Market, which attracts those brave souls willing to join the Michigan Brewers Guild for one of the largest all-Michigan beer tastings in existence. Attendees can sip any of more than 700 craft beers from more than 80 Michigan breweries. As one of the largest all-Michigan beer tastings in the state, this event boasts such a variety that any beer lover will find something to praise. There will also be live music, as well as food from Detroit-area restaurants available for purchase, which will no doubt help some people back from the brink at this popular event. The festival runs from 5-9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 21, and 1-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at Eastern Market 2934 Russell St., Detroit; tickets are $45 in advance, and include 15 tasting tokens each, which can be exchanged for a 3-ounce beer sample. Additional tokens will be available inside the festival for 50 cents. Tickets are limited, so advance purchase is encouraged if you want to experience this festival. For more info, see mibeer.com/detroit-fall-festival.
West Villages Biergarten
Perhaps youve heard of the fall pop-up biergarten in West Village? Its called the Villages Biergarten, and it takes over the neighborhood Bark Park and transforms it into a family-friendly Biergarten on weekends into November. Visitors can expect a variety of world-class beers and wines, all at modest prices. Non-alcoholic drinks and local food will also be available. Proceeds will benefit two local nonprofits: the Villages Community Development Corp. and the Indian Village Historical Collections. It sounds like a great way on a brisk day to do some good while having fun. The Villages Biergarten takes place 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturdays and 1:30-10 p.m. Sundays until Nov. 6, at 1420 Van Dyke St., Detroit; rain or shine; for more info, see thevillagesofdetroit.com/events.
Royal Oak Beer Fest
If youre in the mood for cider and seasonal brews, then the Royal Oak Beer Fest might be just the ticket. With more than 100 craft beers available to taste and food available for purchase, this is a great way to spend a fall evening. You can also partake in the festivities knowing you are helping the Royal Oak Historical Society. General session tickets include entry, live entertainment, a commemorative pint glass, and a keepsake photo. The VIP sessions provides all that too, along with entry into the event an hour before it opens and thus first access to rare, limited, Firkins and seasonal beers! Royal Oak Beer Fest takes place 7:30-11 p.m. (VIP starts at 6:30) on Oct. 8, at the Royal Oak Farmers Market, 316 E. 11 Mile Rd., Royal Oak; general admission is $15, VIP $20; for more info, see royaloakbeerfest.com/Oktoberfest.
Cocktails & Candy
Bitter and balanced drinks are making a comeback, but those with a sweet tooth might be interested in an event at Blackfinn this month. Its a Halloween-themed event inspired by the toothsome libations that mimic candies. Think of the way Fireball recalls Red Hots, or the way vodkas taste like everything from Froot Loops to Swedish Fish. The event, called Cocktails & Candy, will feature several stations that not only offer a sweet concoction, but a candy or confection to go with it. Cocktails & Candy takes place 8-11 p.m. Oct. 21 at Blackfinn Ameripub, 530 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-582-9460; 21 and older only; $26.55, reservations at tinyurl.com/z3zjztz.
Fans of the over-the-top brews from Bellaires Shorts Brewing Co. will have a ball at Ale Marys Beer Hall when they have their Shorts Day, a tap takeover that will feature Phuzz and Octorock ciders, as well as Space Rock, Key Lime Pie, Soft Parade, Autumn Ale, Bloody Beer, and Black Cherry Bludgeon. (Cant make it? Dont worry: Founders will do a full 28-tap takeover at Ale Marys on Nov. 3.)
Shorts Day is Oct. 6, at Ale Marys Beer Hall, 316 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-268-1939; alemarysbeer.com
Oktober Music and Craft Beer Festival
If youd like to combine a fall color road trip with beer (and, frankly, who wouldnt?), consider the Oktober Music and Craft Beer Festival in Ludington. Sponsored by Bells Brewing, this two-day event offers a pub crawl Friday night, and then a full-out festival on Saturday featuring craft beer, a chili walk, and art activities and pumpkin decorating to keep the kids engaged while the suds flow. There will also be a live music from the Chardon Polka Band, Juice Box Heroes, the Sleeping Gypsies, and Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers. German attire is encouraged, and having fun is a must! The Octoberfest Music and Craft Beer Festival takes place Oct. 7-8 in downtown Ludington; admission is $25, tickets and more info available at downtownludington.org/octoberfest.
Cork Wine Pub
Inside the little red brick building, customers at Cork Wine Pub will find modern decor, lots (and lots) of wine, and dishes to pair with them with, including cheese plates, pub fare with a twist, hearty dinners, and creative desserts. And they now also offer, for a limited time, a new fall cocktail, the Fallerator (paging Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz?), a mix of gin, spiced cider, cranberry bitters, and lemon. It sounds perfect to sip while savoring the crisp fall air. Cork Wine Pub is at 23810 Woodward Ave., Pleasant Ridge; 248-544-2675.,/i>
Ann Arbor Oktoberfest
The arrival of fall comes not only with cooler weather, but also a much-anticipated festival: Ann Arbor Oktoberfest. Its a celebration of beers, brats, and more beer. The streets will be closed to make way for the beer tents and foot traffic that make this annual Oktoberfest a lively street party. Weather willing, it should be a perfect cool autumn evening under the stars for music and dancing in the heart of town. A variety of food and drinks will be available for purchase, and kids are welcome with parents. Lederhosen are optional (but pants are required). Events will take place at Arbor Brewing Co. and Grizzly Peak. Ann Arbor Oktoberfest happens Oct. 7-8; for more information, see tinyurl.com/zld8jmm.
Uncle Johns Cider Mill
Just because fall is a time when we hit the apple orchard doesnt mean it cant have a little something for the adults. Take, for example, Uncle Johns Cider Mill in St. Johns. Sure, they have all the family-friendly fun youd expect from an orchard and cider mill: hayrides, corn mazes, U-pick pumpkin patches, and more. But they also have Uncle Johns Fruit House, a tasting room featuring several of their award-winning adult beverages made from apples, pears, and cherries. They also offer a schedule of live bands and even DJ nights. Uncle Johns Fruit House is at 8614 N. US-127, St. Johns; 989-224-3686; ujcidermill.com.