Be thankful you're not in Germany right now. For a nation that consumes almost 100 litres of beer per person per year, produces around 91 million hectolitres and churns it out across 1300 breweries, Oktoberfest 2021 – the country's most beer-centric festival – has been cancelled.
Contrary to its misleading name, the Munich-based event (which is also the world's largest folk festival) runs from mid-late September for 16-18 days, in which time a belch-inducing seven million litres of beer will be guzzled, alongside copious amounts of traditional Bavarian food. Namely, meat, because it isn't Oktoberfest without the Würstl sausage sweats.
Prone to a goblet of the golden stuff ourselves in New Zealand, we're bound to embrace Oktoberfest with as much gusto as the Europeans. Luckily for us, there are several homegrown festivities you can pull on your leather breeches for.
NZ Oktoberfest takes place over two days on the Wellington waterfront, with this year's event pushed out (but mercifully not cancelled – danke schön!) to November 26-27. Expect German-style brews alongside local craft beers and flavours signature to our nation's beer capital. Jump online and purchase tickets from oktoberfest.co.nz, with prices starting from $40pp.
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Also coming to a beer jug near you, is the annual Dunedin Craft Beer and Food Festival. Shifted to new summer dates between December 3-4 2021, the city's Forsyth Barr Stadium will once again jostle with New Zealand beermaking vendors, food and live music. Secure your place at ticketmaster.co.nz.
If you simply can't wait that long, the Hobbiton Movie Set Beer Festival takes place Friday 19 and Saturday 20 November from 5.30pm. Ticket-holders are treated to handcrafted brews exclusive to the Hobbiton Movie Set, a buffet banquet and party marquee, but you'll have to get in quick because Saturday is already sold out and Friday's tickets are following suit. Check hobbitontours.com for remaining availability.
Of course, if lockdown has you all too adept at bringing the merriment indoors, a DIY shindig in your living room is plausible. Simply order a crate of Deutsch beer and slip out of your slacks in favour of long socks and knee-length shorts. An assortment of natty lederhosen costumes are available from partyonline.co.nz, while inspiration on how to jig to folk dancing success can be sought online. Make sure you stick to alert level restrictions in your region. If you're in level 3, no breaking your bubbles - keep the guest list virtual. And, speaking of virtual, you can have an Oktoberfest 2021 tour (youtube.com/watch?v=kFT7juC08GM) playing on loop until the real festivities resume in 2022.
Check alert level restrictions and Ministry of Health advice before travel. covid19.govt.nz