Though a partnership with the long-running Rochester Hills Lions Club Carnival, the German-themed festival, which runs Sept. 26-29, has added to its offerings this year.
"We're really excited about the addition of the carnival aspect to the event," said David Youngman from Rochester Mills.
The partnership came about when the brewery was looking to expand its annual festival and the Rochester Hills Lions Club was looking to add a second iteration to its annual spring carnival, which primarily benefits Leader Dogs for the Blind.
"It fits so well to have the Rochester Hills Lions Carnival everyone's seen for 36 years in the Kmart parking lot, taking that and putting it right next door to another successful, popular event," said Walter Kulesza of the Rochester Hills Lions Club.
"Being our 15th year, we wanted to make this Oktoberfest bigger," Youngman said. "It made a lot of sense to partner with (the Rochester Hills Lions Club) to bring (the carnival) on board, as opposed to trying to do it all ourselves."
The partnership came with its own challenges, however. The City of Rochester had an ages-old ordinance prohibiting carnivals (it also prohibited events with tents, which would theoretically negate most of the city's popular outdoor events).
Oktoberfest is a significant part of Bavarian culture in Germany, with a long-running, 16-day festival in Munich that the locals term "die Wiesn," which celebrates the bounty of the fall harvest, Youngman said.
As always, the festival will include live traditional German Oom-pah and polka music.
Rochester Mills' Oktoberfest brew already on tap in Metro Detroit, but not at its own pubWith the celebration comes the trademark Oktoberfest beer.
While Rochester Mills' Oktoberfest beer is already available on tap throughout Metro Detroit, it won't be available at its downtown Rochester pub until the kickoff of the festival, when the first kegs will be tapped at 7 p.m. on Sept. 26. Youngman said the variety on tap elsewhere comes from its Auburn Hills production facility, while the batches served at the pub are brewed in-house in Rochester.
"Ours is on the more robust end of the Oktoberfest spectrum," Youngman said. "Today's Oktoberfests are being brewed lighter and lighter. Ours isn't."
Youngman said the Oktoberfest, which is a German-style lager, takes much longer to brew than the brewery's ales.
"It takes twice as long as a majority of our beers," Youngman said. "There's a lot of effort that goes into making our Oktoberfest, but we're really happy with this year's batch that's already shipping out of the production facility."
If you go:
- What: Rochester Mills Beer Company's annual Oktoberfest
- When: Thursday, Sept. 26-Sunday, Sept. 29
- Hours: The festival tent will be open from 5-11 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26; 4-11 p.m. Friday; Noon-11 p.m. on Saturday and 1-6 p.m. on Sunday.
- Cost: Festival tent cover is $5 (16 and under free with a paid adult), which is good for all four days of the festival. No cover for entertainment inside the pub. Carnival admission is free and wristbands are available for rides.