World's Only Vegan Oktoberfest
The beer kegs were raining gallons of golden brew at Oktoberfest 2014 held on Oktober 4 along the beautiful shores of Santa Monica. The sky was clear, the gentle breeze stirred the air, and the weather was hot, but none of that mattered on this festive day that featured rollicking Bavarian music and 21 breweries serving beer samples to lines of eager tasters.
The mood was in high gear with Stewedshiedzel and Bavarian Stew, the band leading spirited German drinking songs, lively polka music, and holding various beer-oriented contests throughout their 3 1/2 hours on stage. Leader Bavarian Stew Undem maintained the band's amazing energy with not a dull moment on the stage with their frequent cheers, shouts, yells, and German toasts.
Following the German music was rapper Vegan Boss who drew loyal fans closer to the stage, followed by Knyght Ryder, one of LA's best cover bands.
Our favorite contest was the stein-holding competition where contestants held a large beer mug filled to the brim with water with arms stretched out straight in front. Whoever could break the record of holding the 15-pound mug filled with 30 ounces of water long enough to beat the record 3 minutes and 48 seconds would win a $50 gift card to Veggie Grill.
At check-in attendees were each given a mini beer mug holding almost six ounces to sample unlimited brew varieties. Craft brewing companies were well represented with many within Los Angeles County, some from elsewhere in California, and a few from Oregon and Colorado. There was Einstok Olgerd from Iceland and Lammsbrau from Bavaria, a company that has been brewing since 1628.
Breweries in attendance included Golden Road Brewing, Coronado Brewing Co., Drake's Brewing, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Four Sons Brewing, Karl Strauss Hand Crafted Beer, Epic Brewing, Bravery Brewing, Anderson Valley Brewing Co., Venice Duck Brewery, Hangar 24, Oskar Blues Brewery, Saint Archer Brewing Co., Modern Times Beer, Lammsbrau, Einstok Olgerd, The Dude's Brewing Co., Ninkasi Brewing Co., Lagunitas Brewing Co., Bison Brewing, and Angel City Brewery.
For the non-beer drinkers there were ACE Premium Hard Ciders and a Marquis 03 energy drink.
Adding colorful German flavor to the Oktoberfest scene were beer maidens dressed in classic dirndls and men garbed in traditional lederhosen, as were the lively band members and some revelers in attendance.
Dishing up plenty of delicious, German-inspired vegan sausage creations were vegan food trucks and food stands: Fresh Hot Funnel Cakes serving cakes and sausages, Pop n' Mama Kettle Corn featuring cooling lemonade, and Wood Fired Pizza was serving pizza with pizzazz. There was no shortage of food vendors that included Babycakes, Urban Pie, Tofurky, Rabbit Hole Café, Life is Sweet Bakeshop, The Grilled Cheese Truck, SAGE Bistro Truck, Dogtown Dogs, Divine Dips Vegan Ice Creme, Mary Dairy, Southern Fried Vegan BBQ, Beyond Meat, Kind Kreme, and The Green Truck.
To relax and enjoy their food and brews people were able to sip and munch in the Biergarten, a large covered area with plenty of long tables and chairs.
Oktoberfest drew visitors from outside California, including Rob Riddle, a home brewer from Chicago, who came to Santa Monica just for the event. He loved the IPA from Golden Road Brewing and gave thumbs up for Angel City Brewery.
Melissa and Deja Stevens from La Crescenta stayed overnight with friends in Santa Monica so they could walk to the event and join the throng of beer lovers.
Wreck Check Breathalyzer Services were on hand for anyone who wanted to check their alcohol level before getting on the road. The mantra read, "It's more fun to do it with us than the cops!"
Early in the day, there were plenty of Oktoberfesters who came to start the festivities ahead of the crowd. By mid afternoon, the crowd was thick and one had to wait in long lines for food and beer, as well as slalom through the bodies to reach their destination. The event drew an unofficial count of approximately 3300 attendees.
A portion of the proceeds will go to Expand Animal Rights Now.