Germany’s Oktoberfest combines a hefty dose of Bavarian culture with an even heftier dose of beer, and because of its celebration of the amber ale Oktoberfest has come to mean a lot to Australians. Prahan drinking hole Lucky Coq is putting the final touches on its best Oktoberfest celebration that’s happening from September 29 to October 9 with five German beers, live music and a free German style BBQ on the 2nd and the 9th.
Lucky Coq sits flirtatiously on the edge of Windsor, sneering at the collar of Prahan from its High St and Chapel St corner. Since opening in early 2006, Lucky Coq has become one of the area's most prominent drinking arenas on the south side of the city with eleven beers permanently on tap. Lucky Coq manager and the mastermind behind its Octoberfest celebrations Sebastien Lepoittevin (let’s just call him ‘Seb’) takes a break from googling hamburger recipes and giving lessons on how to pour German beer to talk to Beat Eats about this 12 day event. “I came up with the idea to educate people better about beer drinking,” explains the thickly accented Frenchman who originally came up with the idea to do Oktoberfest at Lucky Coq two years ago to complement to their extensive local and boutique beer menu.
“This year is going to be a bit bigger than the previous because we are introducing two more beers.”
The full range of German beers available at this year’s Lucky Coq Oktoberfest celebrations are Schoffer Hoffer hefeweizen, Schoffer Hoffer kristall, Fichers (pilsner), Bitburger (premium lager) and of course the beer made specifically for the festival Oktoberfest, Erdinger.
“Schoffer Hoffer hefeweizen is a witbier [wheat beer] so it is a bit like Hoegaarden but has a bit more of a banana taste to it and it fills you up. I often think a witbeer is kind of like a meal the way it fills you up! ” Explains a jovial Seb. ‘Hefe’ is German for yeast and the prefix is added to this style of wheat beer to indicate that it is unfiltered and will have sediment, that is what makes it so cloudy and the taste quite heavy even though as Seb adds “it’s very refreshing!”
He now gives an explanation of the other Schoffer Hoffer beer available, the kristall, that is recognised by the pint bottle it is served in which will, of course, happen throughout Lucky Coq’s celebrations. “It is just a plain pint bottle but the thing here is that we are serving each beer in their own glassware [each brand/style of beer has unique glassware] which is the same as how they do it in Germany. The beer itself [the kristall] is very similar to the hefeweizen but it’s been filtered so it is not as heavy and clearer to look at.” He now adds that staying in line with Oktoberfest tradition is very important to him and Lucky Coq because, “You wouldn’t serve Carlton Draught in an Asahi glass?” However, after that statement Seb now feels compelled to add “In Germany it is very important to them that the beers are served in the correct glassware because they have such an old beer culture.” One infers this addition was made after he realised Australians will pretty much drink any beer in any glass.
Having the right glassware for each beer is only half of it because there is also a technique to pouring them correctly. “If you compare it to a Heineken or a Boags or whatever where you pour the beer directly into the glass the difference is with these beers you put the glass over the beer bottle and then you flip it and then slowly take the bottle out and by doing that you can pour the perfect head!” The reason for this special technique is due to the yeast still in the German beers that when exposed to the atmosphere froth out of control.
Two other main reasons that Lucky Coq’s Oktoberfest experience will have you wishing that you were in lederhosen and slapping your thighs (well, you can still do that) is that there are two Oktoberfest parties on Sunday October 2 and Sunday October 9 that will feature a free German style BBQ and live entertainment from the masters of crowd interactivity and party tunes, Psyde Project.
A final word from Seb on the Lucky Coq’s reasoning for continuing to offer a legitimate Oktoberfest experience for Melbournian beer drinkers, “What we really noticed when we first did this two years ago is that people actually dig the fact that we do it the exact same way we do it over there and that’s why we have kept doing it and this year introduced even more German beers!”
Prost and zum wohl Lucky Coq for helping us to celebrate this important global event. Oktoberfest is happening from Thursday September 29 until October 9 with the two festival parties from 2pm on Sunday October 2 and Sunday October 9. Head to luckycoq.com.au for more information.