Summer is great for fruity frozen drinks; winter needs deep, warming cocktails; but autumn is indubitably the beer season. Fortunately, Niagara Falls is an excellent destination for a beer-cation, especially during September and October when the regional hops fields are being harvested and the local brewers are hard at work fermenting new ales and lagers. This year, you shouldn’t bother trying to scrounge up tickets to Belgium or Germany — Oktoberfest is happening right here in Niagara Falls.
Old Falls Street Oktoberfest
For the sixth year in a row, Niagara Falls, New York is celebrating Oktoberfest in a big way on Old Falls Street, the main thoroughfare of the American side. All along the street, visitors can fill up their steins with new brews and old favorites — as well as a smattering of delicious regional wines. There will also be familiar German foods on offer: bratwurst, pretzels, apple strudel, and more. Throughout the day, you can drink and dine while listening to live entertainment from the Bergholz German Band, the German-American Musicians, and the Edelweiss Dancers; plus, there will be a number of festive street vendors to explore and enjoy. You can even bring your kids, who will stay busy at the petting zoo, bounce house, and arts and crafts tent.
The Old Falls Street Oktoberfest occurs on the afternoon of Saturday, October 3, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free, but you definitely don’t want to come without a generous budget for beer.
Niagara Brewing Company Oktoberfest
On the other side of the border, the brand-new (and highly rated) Niagara Brewing Company is hosting this year’s Canadian Oktoberfest. Drawing inspiration from the traditional Bavarian celebration, the brewery is offering premium, German-style beers expertly paired with authentic German cuisine. Brewmaster Gord Slater, the genius behind the magnificent tastes at Niagara Brewing Co, will be attending the affair, providing insight and answering questions about brewing and beer. True beer aficionados are likely to revere this Oktoberfest event.
The Niagara Brewing Company Oktoberfest is scheduled for Friday, October 16. Tickets to the dinner (with drinks included) cost $79, but you can save on your trip by bundling the event with hotel accommodations.
Niagara Beer Trail
If these two events don’t provide nearly enough ales and lagers, you can round out your Niagara beer-cation with a tour of the Niagara beer trail. Though the region is known better for its excellent wineries, Niagara is quickly becoming a craft brewer’s paradise due to the plethora of fresh ingredients for beer-making.
Thus, beer tastings, like wine tastings, are becoming a popular activity for natives and tourists who enjoy the often complex, distinctive flavors of beer. The beer trail includes seven outstanding local breweries that specialize in different techniques and styles of beer and provide delectable dishes to pair with them. Of course, there are more bars and breweries in Niagara, but we believe these seven stand above the pack:
- Merchant Alehouse Restaurant Brewpub
- Oast House Brewers
- Silversmith Brewing Company
- Niagara College Teaching Brewery
- Niagara Brewing Company
- Taps on Queen Brewhouse and Grill
- Syndicate Restaurant and Brewery