When Oktoberfest reigns, it pours, and this is the weekend it really gets going in Pittsburgh.
Both of our Germanic brewpubs -- the North Side's Penn Brewery and South Side's Hofbrauhaus -- begin their two-weekend celebrations of Oktoberfest biers and foods.
Penn's starts Friday and runs through Sunday this and next weekend. All told, Penn CEO Sandy Cindrich says she expects to top last year's record and serve some 10,000 guests.
The party runs from 5 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays (after 8 p.m., guests must be 21 and older) and 4 to 10 p.m. Sundays (and the brewery is closed on both following Mondays).
In addition to the Oktoberfest, six beers will be pouring: Gold, Pilsner, Dark, Weizen, Kaiser Pils and a Penn ale.
You also can buy traditional foods including bratwurst, sauerkraut, hot German potato salad, and soft pretzels, as well as some American-style ones such as pulled-pork sandwiches, hot apple cobbler, even vegetarian sloppy Joes.
Live entertainment includes The Autobahn Band, Heimat Klang, strolling accordionist Kevin Solecki, and Madel Jager (formerly Gaudi Buam).
And there's a souvenir tent where you can buy your light-up Heidi braids, alpine hats, beer mugs, T-shirts and more.
For details on free parking and more, visit pennbrew.com.
Over at Hofbrauhaus, they're celebrating Oktoberfest on two Friday-Saturdays -- Sept. 20-21 and 27-28.
They'll be serving an array of Germanic fare with Oktoberfest bier imported from Munich -- the same stuff served at the big Oktoberfest there.
Restaurant hours are 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
For more, visit hofbrauhauspittsburgh.com.
There are other Oktoberfests around the area, big and small. This weekend's Pennsylvania Bavarian Oktoberfest in Canonsburg offers two stages of entertainment, dancing and carnival rides and games in addition to the food and beer (4 to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday; canonchamber.com).
Evans City's also is this weekend (9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday).
Sewickley's is Oct. 4-5.
Some are beerier than others.
Just over the border in Boardman, Ohio, from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, is octoBREWfest featuring firkins of fall beers and foods (tickets are $58 and proceeds benefit Making Kids Count; octobrewfest.com or 724-651-1300).
From 7 to 10 p.m. on Sept. 28, the Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair is holding a benefit Oktoberfest Craft Beer Tasting at the St. Thomas More Family Life Center at 134 Fort Couch Road. Admission is $35; register by Sept. 20 at cfusc.org.
And Oktoberfest and other fall brews are everywhere.
From 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, the Double Wide Grille is holding the first Mars/Cranberry Craft Beer Tap Fest under a tent in the lot at its Route 228 location. It'll feature fall beers among a selection of about 60 from 20 brewers, plus Double Wide appetizers. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the gate. For more, visit doublewidegrill.com.
Out in Murrysville, Rivertowne Brewing (myrivertowne.com/brewing) is celebrating beers of the season, including pumpkin ones, at its first Fall Fest on Saturday, Sept. 28.
There are two sessions: A family-friendly one from 2 to 4 p.m., for which tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for those ages 10 to 21, and a 21-and-older session from 6 to 9 p.m.
Fitting into the theme will be a carved-pumpkin contest (bring your work of art to the event) and bobbing for apples, as well as face painting, a magic show, a silent auction and prizes and live entertainment. There's free parking and a shuttle.
Participating breweries include Church Brew Works, Rooney's, All Saints, North Country, Full Pint and Great Lakes.
All proceeds will benefit "Pelotonia, (a grassroots bike tour with One Goal: End Cancer)." Tickets can be purchased at www.showclix.com/event/FallFest2013 as well as at the door.libations
Bob Batz Jr.: firstname.lastname@example.org and 412-263-1930 and on Twitter @bobbatzjr.