Come one! Come all! It’s one of Germany’s most celebrated events – Oktoberfest! Last weekend Hophaus Southgate kicked off their own ‘Hoptoberfest‘ event (get it?!) in style with a sausage eating competition, strongman competitions and showcasing its specially designed Hoptoberfest menu.
“We’ve worked hard to offer an extensive program of events for this year’s Hoptoberfest – with something for everyone from the Ladies Love Bier luncheon, beer trivia nights, Family Days, Games Day, a special fest menu and more,” says Hophaus Manager Scott Highfield.
“Our bier selection will be even bigger with no less than four speciality fest biers flying in from Munich for our celebrations. It’s also been a major coup for Weihenstephaner’s Head Brewer Tobias Zollo to come to Melbourne to host our special degustation dinner. We are predicting record numbers this year, our biggest Hoptoberfest yet!”
Not sure what it’s all about? Well, wonder no more, we have brought you a sliver of Hoptoberfest in PICTURES!
12:15pm: Arrive at Hophaus and get a table quite easily on the deck. The day is simply gorgeous – the sun is out, it’s warm, and there are people milling about the Southbank precinct. There are not too many people at the venue at this point for the Tapping of the Keg (when the keg has been tapped open and it is FREE BEER FOR ALL UNTIL THE KEG RUNS OUT!) which was supposed to happen at Noon.
12:20pm: The band has arrived and are setting up.
12:30pm: Service is a bit slow but the staff is really friendly. They bring out a copy of the standard menu, the Hoptoberfest menu and the beer menu. We decide to get a beer paddle of 5 mini beers to start off with. After all, the day is young and oh-so-beautiful. The band is in swing and the female vocalist is actually pretty darn good.
12:38pm: Beer paddles arrive. One of the beers we have picked has notes of smoked bacon! It is a dark beer and very intriguing. The others are all varying levels of delicious, with the Erdinger Festweissbier (a bier specially brewed just for this festival!) standing out as a very palatable and easy to drink bier. It was wheaty with a very mild bite that helps cut through the German fare to come.
1pm: our German meals – picked by the chef – have arrived. A very delightful Wurstplatten and Crispy Pork Knuckle! The Wurstplatten contained four types of Walmas signature sausages, and three types of Löwensenf mustard (mild, medium and hot, which was not very hot at all). The sausages were a mix of chorizo, frankfurters, pork and herb and some sort of curry sausage (the orange looking one). That one was the most interesting tasting of all!
The pork knuckle was served with pickled apple, fennel & kraut salat, spiced apple puree. The crackle was de-VINE. It was very crispy and perfectly salted. The meat was pull-apart good and, combined with the jus and puree, just melted in my mouth.
1:45pm: We are stuffed. We weren’t sure if these two plates would be enough to feed the two of us (one male, one female), as we hadn’t eaten that morning and had been to the gym. We are introduced to Scott Highfield and he tells us about the three successful years of Hoptoberfest celebrated by Hophaus to date.
“We’re a young venue – we’ve only been open three years. Hoptoberfest has been a really successful program for us and the dachshund race by far is one of our most popular events. Last year it went viral! We’re expecting a big turn out on Saturday [24th September],” Scott tells us.
To give you a teaser, this is what the dachshund costume parade and race will deliver on the 24th of September.
“Unfortunately we didn’t do the Tapping of the Keg this at noon today. There were only a few people in the venue at the time.. so they would have been smashed if we’d opened the keg up!.. I think we will do the tapping on Friday [23rd] or maybe Sunday [25th].”
We were saddened by this news, so here is a picture of what it would have looked like.
Scott generously grabs us a half litre of beer each to keep us going.
1:55pm: Scott introduces us to a man most famously known as Hulk Smash. He is a professional food eater who was there to compete in the second heat of the Sausage eating competition that was happening that day. He is normal looking enough, but then he goes on to tell us about how he is soon to be travelling to the US to represent Australia in a four-person team that is competitively eating against the US and Japan. I am starting to wonder if this conversation is even real, or if the beer is going to my head.
2pm: It’s sausage eating competition time. Hulk Smash sits out of this one while the competitors take their mark. There is one woman representing the many – I high five her. The competitors are an interesting bunch. The three men on the end are supported by one seemingly drunk, attractive woman in active wear. Her total contradiction intrigues me.
2:05pm: The sausages come out, followed by the half litres of bier. It becomes obvious that it will be no easy feat to win this competition.
2:07pm: The rules are explained and the competition begins; the competitors are really finding it hard to chew through the bread. One of the three guys previously mentioned decides to give an old trick a go – dipping his hot dog in his bier. Gross as it sounds, apparently it breaks down the bread and makes it easier to digest. He starts smashing the competition. his friends fall behind in the race because they are too busy laughing and seemingly getting ‘weirded out’ by their friend’s dedication to win.
2:10pm: The girl looks like she’s going to be sick.
2:13pm (approximately): a winner is found, with our bread-dipping competitor winning this heat by a long shot.
2:30pm: I’m a bit tipsy at this point and we have decided that after watching all that food eating, which would normally turn people off, has made us hungry again. We order some sour apple schnappes and the Apfelstrudel with Toffee apple, salted caramel, vanilla ice cream.
2:45pm: The dessert was quick to arrive and was so tasty! The salted caramel sauces was devine; offering an unique combination with the Apfelstrudel!
3pm: We are spent. It has been a magical afternoon but we cannot bring ourselves to stay for the second heat of the sausage eating competition and decide that we will give the strongman competition a miss too. The venue is significantly fuller by this point, with more and more people being attracted in with the band and crowd. It’s setting up to be a big Hoptoberfest evening!
Feature image by Hophaus97, all other photos by The Modern Con unless otherwise stated
What you need to know:
There are many more Hoptoberfest events coming up at Hophaus between 17 September – 23 October. Please check their website for more details.
Teckelrennen Annual Dachshund Race on Saturday 24 September
11:00am-2:00pm – 12 dachshund race heats
12:00pm – Best Dressed Dachshund Costume Parade
Teckelrennen fest games at Hophaus
The Great Bretzel Bite-Off
Apple Bobbing (snaffle an apple and win a shot of apple schnapps!)
6pm-10pm – live music from Black Forest Trio at Hophaus
Where: Hophaus Bier Bar Grill, south end of the mid level overlooking the Yarra River, Southgate Melbourne. Southgate is located opposite Flinders St Station, on the Yarra River adjacent to the Arts Centre.
The Dachshund Race will be held at Southgate Podium Courtyard, outside St Johns Church.
Bookings are advised for Lunch or Dinner throughout Oktoberfest: phone 03 9682 5900 or email email@example.com
Register your dachshund for the Best Dressed Dachshund costume competition by emailing Katrina@hophaus.com.au for an entry form.