Friday, October 5, 2007

Oktoberfest in Utah means Apple Beer and Pretzels

It's Oktoberfest, and, contrary to popular belief, Utahans like to celebrate just like everyone else. Only about half the population is Mormon, and even some of them don't follow the Word of Wisdom. They still partake of the fruit of the grain.

I think they're named "Jack."

Actually, there's an old joke about Mormons and beer. If you ever take a Mormon fishing, make sure you take two of them. If you only take one, he'll drink all your beer.

Most of us try and live our faith and don't drink, myself included. I still like Oktoberfest, though. I just stick to Apple Beer, instead of the regular kind.

I've always thought of Oktoberfest in much the same way I think about Saint Patrick's Day. It's a great excuse for people to have a party. For those who drink beer, it's a great excuse to drink even more.

The official Oktoberfest takes place in Munich and is that city's largest fair. Beer plays a central role in the fair, with every festival beginning with a keg of beer tapped by the Mayor. He shouts "O'zapft is!" which is Bavarian for "It’s tapped!" A special Oktoberfest beer is brewed, darker and stronger in both taste and alcohol, and everyone drinks and eats to their heart's content.

What I found interesting is that, in Munich, children aren't allowed in the beer tents after 8:00 PM. Even if their parents are with them. With the German reputation for beer drinking, they still worry about their young family members. To me, that's cool.

It's not just large quantities of beer that are drunk, either. Large quantities of food, are to be eaten. Most of it is traditional dishes such as sausage, chicken, and sauerkraut. Ox tail can be found, as well. Let's not forget my favorite German snack food - pretzels!

What's really odd for me this year is that Oktoberfest coincides with the autumn sessions of the biannual LDS Church General Conference. This is a time when we get together as members and listen to sermons given by the top leaders of the LDS Church, including the man we consider to be God's prophet on earth, President Gordan B. Hinckley.

General Conference is a two day affair that gets broadcast to various LDS church buildings throughout the world. In Utah we have the luxury of having most of the sessions broadcast by a local TV station, so I'll be home with my family watching it.

But I still want to celebrate Oktoberfest. How can I put the two together? Call it "Party with the Prophet?" I'm not sure that's gonna go over well with my Bishop. Then again, I've never known President Hinckley to be a curmudgeon, so I don't think he (or the Lord), will mind if my family noshes on apple beer and home made pretzels while we watch the Saturday sessions.

Apple beer and pretzels, anyone?

1 comment:

Mark said...

You're only allowed to party if you share that pretzel recipe!