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Wet Your Whistle on the Oktoberfest Rail Ale Trail

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There are few better times to be a beer fan than during Oktoberfest (22 September – 7 October 2012). But while our Bavarian cousins might be calling last orders on 7 October, you can still sample a huge range of fine ales and beers and take part in Oktoberfest celebrations all month-long in the UK, all while raising your glass to this traditional German beer festival.

Just check for cheap train tickets before you hop on board the Oktoberfest Rail Ale Trail. And read on to find out more about our top 3 Oktoberfest celebrations for you to enjoy …

Oktoberfest is a massive fair in Munich, Germany, where once a year six million people from around the world gather to sample a huge selection of beers and ales. The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Bavaria’s crown prince and it’s become a very important part of Bavarian culture.

Luckily for beer fans in the UK, the tradition has been adopted by the British public and you can now join in the fun in many different UK locations. One of the most popular aspects of Oktoberfest is the fact that there are strict purity laws when it comes to the beer, so you can expect a great pint waiting for you when you get there.

1. London Oktoberfest 2012

Held at Kennington Park, Lambeth, London Oktoberfest offers the chance for you to enjoy a little slice of Germany in the heart of London. Sample German beers and traditional dishes served by waitresses and waiters in Dirndl and Lederhosen. And if you feel like getting into the spirit yourself, you can even rent traditional outfits to wear while you’re there.

The festival takes place in a 2,850 square foot tent decked out in blue and white decorations and you’ll find there are plenty of spaces to sit and indulge in some delicious beers at its long, convivial tables. There will also be the opportunity to tap your foot to great live performances and sing along to fun drinking songs.

You can take trains to London then jump on a tube to Oval and you’ll be mere minutes away from the fun. Book your festival tickets in advance to assure yourself a seat and share of the food and drink, or turn up on the day to enjoy what’s on offer.

2. Manchester Oktoberfest

Running from Friday 5th – Sunday 7th October, this food and drink festival aims to bring the best of Oktoberfest to the people of Manchester. It takes place in Albert Square and is run by the Manchester Food and Drink Festival team, meaning standards are always very high at this yearly event.

Entry is free and guests will find authentic German steins of beer to be sampled as well lots of live entertainment from brass bands and traditional performers. To accompany your drinks with a delicious meal, arrange to take part in a Bavarian banquet at the Festival Dining Hall across the Square.

Book trains to Manchester and back for a brilliant, beery break.

3. Cambridge Oktoberfest

As the Cambridge & District CAMRA’s youngest Beer Festival, the Cambridge Oktoberfest is a welcome addition to the region’s many popular real ale events.

Now in its sixth year, the festival emulates the exhilarating Munich beer fair on a smaller, but equally passionate, scale. Much attention is paid to the selection of beers sold and all efforts are made to offer the most authentic drinking experience possible.

In 2012, the celebrations will take place over Friday 12th – Sunday 13th October and entrance is free to CAMRA members, so catch trains to Cambridge and join the fun.

Other places to experience Oktoberfest

You can also:

• Visit the 4th Sutherland Oktoberfest (Thursday 4th – Saturday 6th October) and sample 30 real ales plus a selection of cider and perries, and even take home a souvenir glass.

• Take the train to Hampshire and hop on a shuttle bus to the 4th Hampshire Oktoberfest celebrations (Friday 12th – Sunday 14th October) and feast on more than 100 different beers, ciders and perries from local Hampshire producers, along with live music and local produce.

Have you got plans to celebrate Oktoberfest this year? What’s your favourite German beer? Just leave us a comment and let us know …

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