GETTING THERE



Doug Moller favors Oklahoma-related names for the beers at Bricktown Brewery.

In accordance with Bavarian tradition, the Royal Bavaria Brewery, Restaurant, and Biergarten in Moore will host a Maypole Festival May 1, complete with German food, German beer, German dancing, and of course, a Maypole. Tradition dictates that the pole (which symbolizes human fertility and a fruitful harvest) be installed by volunteers without tools (it must also be painted blue and white, the colors of Bavaria). For times, call (405) 799-7666.

Since 1965, Prague, a town founded by Czechoslovakians, has celebrated most Mays with its annual Kolache Festival. This year, the festival will be May 4, and home-brewers of both beer and wine will vie for the title of best brew. Festival fare here is nothing if not authentic: klobase sandwiches (a spicy sausage served on rye with sauerkraut) and kolaches (a fruit-filled pastry). A beer garden will also be open (albeit serving a commercial brew). The festival plays out against a background of polka music and ends with a street dance at 7:30 p.m. (dancing usually lasts until midnight). Admission is free. (405) 567-4866.

On May 11, Bricktown in downtown Oklahoma City hosts Brewfest ’96. During the day, folks can sample beer from different brewpubs in the state. Later that evening (about 10 or 11), music will be provided by nationally known headliners as yet to be announced. Admission will include free beer and the concert. (405) 232-2739.

June 8, beer, blues, and bratwursts will fuel Tulsa’s Brews, Blues, and Brats block party at the intersection of 18th Street and Boston Avenue. A $12 advance ticket ($15 at the door) buys a three-ounce glass mug with which to sample a lineup of Oklahoma craft-brewed beers (every micro-brewed beer in the state is expected to be on hand). On September 14 in the parking lot adjacent to the Tulsa Brewing Company, 7227 S. Memorial, Tulsa Brewfest 1996 (now in its second year) will take a more educational bent, attempting to teach people about the varieties of beer--though music and food are also planned. Advance admission will be $10 ($12 on site). Both Tulsa events offer free cab rides home. For details about either event, call (918) 743-2739.

Come October, Royal Bavaria’s owner Jorg Kuhne plans the most authentic Oktoberfest outside of Munich. (Oktoberfests started in the early 1800s, when Prince Ludwig, later King Ludwig I, wed the Princess of Sachsen, and as part of the celebration, the royal family hosted a horse race; beer was added to what became an annual event, when "Bavarians realized a horse race without beer wasn’t much of a horse race," said Kuhne.) Munich’s Oktoberfest now draws seven million people each year; Kuhne doesn’t expect quite that crowd, though he will add a bier tent to accommodate those his 450-seat biergarten won’t hold. (405) 799-7666.

Brewpubs in Oklahoma have been joined by three home-brewers clubs (registered with the American Homebrewers Association in Boulder, Colorado, 303-447-0816) and nine home-brew supply shops. Brew club members meet regularly to swap brewing tips, sample each others’ brews (though more looking and smelling goes on than drinking), and occasionally to compete: Tulsa’s Fellowship of Oklahoma Ale Makers (FOAM) will host the Okie Irish Home-Brew Competition March 17 at Cherry St. Brewery.

Other clubs are located in Bartlesville (Just Brew It) and Oklahoma City (High Plains Draughters), and brew shops can now be found in Oklahoma City, Medicine Park, Stillwater, Enid, Lawton, and Tulsa. For as little as $60, one can purchase all the supplies and equipment necessary to brew a batch of homemade beer; stores carry everything from brew kits to bottle capping gadgets (they’re also a wealth of free advice).

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