As much as I miss Germany, alas and alack, I cannot be in ye olde Munich town this year for Oktoberfest. The O-fest begins, as you know if you’ve been paying attention, in September each year and ends on the first weekend of October. That means that the grand beer party starts in just two days, on September 17! You can get your fill of information about it from several of my previous posts:
Oktoberfest! or Oktoberfest Opening Procession (Einzug der Wiesnwirte) or Flap Alert! The Anatomy of Lederhosen. I’ve even told you how to make the famous pretzels and other snacks they have at beer fests there.
But this year I can give you a Florida location where you can celebrate in spirit with the Germans. It’s the International Beer Garten in Lutz, north of Tampa just off the Suncoast Parkway on Highway 54 in North Pointe Village. It’s kind of a strange place for a beer garten, but don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, ok?
I visited the IBG earlier this year and was surprised to learn that it is a one-off joint; it’s not part of a chain. Our waitress/barkeep was super friendly and forthcoming with information about the beers and the place in general. My husband and I enjoyed a German beer from one of our favorite places, Andechs Abbey, which I wrote about last year. I’d never seen this brand of beer here in the USA before.
We also partook of the famous German wheat beer, Hefeweizen. They even had the right glass for it:
Granted, they don’t have much of a real “garten” to drink your beer in:
But when it’s 8,000 degrees Fahrenheit outside nine months of the year, who wants to sit outside? They have plenty of room inside with lots of A/C:
You can see the wide range of international beers they have in bottles through the glass doors in the above photo. The IBG also has daily or weekly specials, depending on stock. One of the many TVs serves as the latest menu so you’re always up to date:
They also have many, many beers on tap, as many as 52, as you can see in my favorite photo from my visit there:
The International Beer Garten is located at 16540 Pointe Village Drive Suite 102 in Lutz, FL, 33558, although they claim to be in Tampa. Close enough. The phone number is (813) 749-0884, email email@example.com. Their bar is a full bar, with wine and liquor, too. There is also a small bandstand in one corner where they have live music on weekends. They are open each afternoon into the night. Check their website for the best information and events.
I was impressed by this place! Can you tell it surprised me? They even had decent bar food, everything from bratwurst and pretzels to nachos, burgers, wraps and pizza. Who knew?
By the way, if you need some good, authentic recipes for your Oktoberfest party, check out my cookbooks – the recipes are straight from Germany!
Photo for No Apparent Reason: