It was my first “Oktoberfest” event. Luckily I didn’t have to look ignorant because the concept was simple. You get a small cup. You walk to one of a couple dozen booths. The handlers pour you a free sample of beer. Repeat as needed.

An example of line as people wait to get a sample

From 5pm to 9pm last Saturday, the 2200 block of Central Avenue near Downtown St. Petersburg was blocked off and pop-up booths of food, art, and of course BEER replaced the typical parked cars. Thankfully Groupon helped to shorten at least one line while lessening the wallet strain.

Despite having a healthy selection of beer and a live band… I will blame poor planning on what could have otherwise been a great, first Oktoberfest for me. (and this is the THIRD year of them doing this? Fooled me pssssshhhh)

I’ve been told by beer enthusiasts that typical sampling involves 3oz of beer. My sampling cup was the perfect size… except all the beer head foam in a glass could have STILL easily outweighed every sample I was given. One gulp and a quick debate about flavors and it was on to the next 5-10 minute line for another.

Beer pour and sample cup
I forgot which beer I’m sampling here… but that’s how much I got to sample… booo

Leinenkugel’s Lemon Berry ShandyBatch 19St. Pete Brew… there were well-known brands such as Blue Moon and Sam Adams mixed in with many from the local brew scene. Each brewery featured one selection from their stock.

But man… did I mention the puny amount? Luckily there was a decent selection of nearby stores to break up the line fatigue but not enough non-beer booths to do the same. The live band was also pretty good, but their placement at the far end of the street literally “hid” their talents.

Batch 19 - Sample line
Batch 19 – hands down had the longest line

And worse… by 7:30 a dull cry rang around that several beer booths were running out. Perhaps if everyone had gotten HALF of an ounce that wouldn’t have happened? Thank goodness for Groupon because when we left the area after 8pm, partner Curtis and I guessed that we had probably drank the equivalent of one typical beer.

Like I said… poor planning. If the Central Avenue Oktoberfest lives to see a 4th year, I will simply recommend to bring more beer. There were many frustrated patrons… and it was funny seeing all them and their Oktoberfest wristbands at the nearby World of Beer later getting their money’s worth.

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