Wolff's Biergarten (Albany, NY) for large crowds and large beers. The street is closed for a block or two in front of the bar, and there are several thousand people soaking up the sunshine and happiness. We are dropped off at the edge of the action and jump into the fray (my friend's wife has one in the oven - bummer that she can't join us for copious and delicious brau, but awesome that she is a willing designated kareener).
$7 gets you entry and a plastic 1 liter "stein," and beer tickets are $7 each or 4/$20. My friend and I both get 4 beer tickets and stand in line at one of the many beer trucks sloshing off frothy buckets of Spaten Lager, Spaten Oktoberfest, Franziskaner Weissbier, and Pilsner Urquell (OMG not German, but I love fresh draught Urquell so this is actually my choice to start the day).
Wolff's (inside) has an extensive and tasty selection of German beer on tap - most notable for me are Hofbrauhaus and Bittburger Pilsner. Unfortunately the options on this fine Oktober day are somewhat limited - I didn't let it get me down.
In addition to a great selection of beers, Wolff's also has some excellent grub. My usual order is a couple of bratwurst with sauerkraut and German potatoes, and a side order of cucumber salad. They also have a decent reuben, and they serve their fries with mayo, which is nice. I used to think that is gross, even though I like mayo. I have since decided that it is tasty. The schnitzel looks great, I should try that soon. I digress.
The festival featured a beer filled dunking machine, carnival rides for the kids, and a two-man chugging contest (fastest team to drink a 2-liter boot wins a $50 gift cetrtificate for, what else, more beer). Last I checked the time to beat was 43 seconds - impresssive.
The first four tickets led to another four (each liter costing 2tix) and the day became a blur of friends, sunshine, peeing behind the porta-johns, a cab to some other bars, some other friends, and an "enthusiastic, but hard to follow" 10:45 phonecall to my ladyfriend in which she requested that I "call back tomorrow."
Much fun was had - way to kick off the the fall season. Prost!
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