The Goose Island Oktoberfest occurred on a rather strange day, a Thursday night (September 27, 2012). Nothing wrong with that but I believe the event may have been better on a weekend but maybe they were doing it on a weeknight to draw in the crowd. Regardless, the event was a lot of fun. I took off straight from work and headed home to change into my lederhosen then hopped right on the Eisenhower into Chicago. A buddy of mine lives near Wrigleyville and has a nice place to park for free. I made the half mile walk to Goose Island during rush hour which was a lot of fun because of all the looks I was getting from people and a number of compliments. I arrived at Goose Island really early, around 6:00p assuming I would just grab a seat at the bar and have a beer while I wait. I asked where the event was being held and I was directed to the back section of the bar. There was a back bar and the Chardon Polka Band was setting up and doing their sound check. I took a seat at the bar but they informed me that they were not ready to serve back there so I just watched the sound check. I come to find out later that I probably wasn’t supposed to be back there but I looked like I was part of the band so they let me through. It was awesome to have pretty much a private show. The guys from the band were a lot of fun to talk to when they were not setting up. They were one of the main reasons I came to this event.
I heard their CD and enjoyed it a lot and knew that I had to see them live anytime they came to Chicago (They are from Ohio). Time passed quickly and soon the bar was open and the $25 all you can eat and drink from 7:00p – 9:00p was underway. The crowd wasn’t too big but it did increase throughout the night. It was a cash bar after 9:00p. I met two guys who travel to Bavaria quite often and we hit it off telling stories of our travels, recommendations on places to go, what to eat and drink and other fun stuff. They also made it really fun because they were dressed up as well and we were taking a bunch of pictures with people which is always a good time. The Goose Island Oktoberfest beer was really delicious and I can’t wait until they bottle it. Rumor is that they are replacing the Harvest Ale with the Oktoberfest next year, I hope that is true. The beer is full flavored and fits well with the Oktoberfest style of beer. It is most similar to Samuel Adams Octoberfest. If you ever have a chance I would recommend getting a glass. The waitresses were also on their game that night. Right when any of us were getting close to finishing a beer they were right there to either refill or another one was already waiting for us. The food was really good but nothing too special; hard and soft pretzels, brats, sauerkraut and potato salad. The Chardon Polka Band put on a great set. They played a number of songs off their CD and threw in a few classics with a polka twist (see the Brown Eyed Girl clip below). I can’t wait to see these guys again, hopefully as the full band. They were only a three-piece for this event. Overall the event was very enjoyable and will be one I will probably go back to next year. Being a weeknight makes it a little more difficult because I have to drive to the city, find parking AND have to go to work the next day but it is worth it. What can I say, it’s Oktoberfest season, and you have to take the good with the bad.
More videos can be found here: