For an authentic introduction to these, the best of German imports, head to Oktoberfest at Alpine Village in Torrance. For 39 years, owners Hans and Teri Rotter have welcomed the masses of Southern California in order to indulge in this beloved yearly tradition – a celebration of German culture and a shared love of its national beverage.
Here, you and fellow beer aficionados can partake in a PG-13-rated attempt at channeling Beerfes t or Beer League . For sustenance, you've got two options: Alpine Lager, the establishment's own Angel City microbrew or the all-American fave, Budweiser.
This is a place where stein holding is the ultimate test of strength; yodeling is a prized talent; cow milking and wood sawing are tantamount to high art; and excessive pretzel consumption is rewarded. Plus, it's one of the few places where you can do the chicken dance without shame. The sweet sounds of a live, genuine Umpapa band make perfect mood music, too.
Not 21 yet? Don't fret. Oktoberfest isn't only about the beer. There's still plenty of bratwurst, sauerkraut and strudel to go around. While Fridays and Saturdays are reserved for those 21 and up, Sundays (also known as Family Day) are open to those of all ages.
The original Oktoberfest began in 1810 with a royal wedding announcement. King Ludwig I threw a party for tying the knot with Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen , and the rest, as they say, is history. Bavarians still celebrate Oktoberfest with up to six million of their closest friends every year.
Alpine Village is itself a modern microcosm of the Bavaria of old – a cross between the cozy kitsch of Santa's Village and the whitewashed alps of Disneyland's Matterhorn, sans Santa or the abominable snowman. This “Little City from the Alps” boasts nearly 15 shops all year-round, including a restaurant and award-winning butchery.
But it's best known as the home of the largest and longest-running Oktoberfest in the Southland. It's got a serious social conscious, too. On opening day, Sept. 9, they raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities – something they've been doing for the past 21 years.
Whether you've got a pair of lederhosen at home or not, this is the place for you. So, what are you waiting for? GET UP AND GET OUT!
Alpine Village is located at 833 Torrance Blvd., in Torrance. Hours: Fri 6:30 p.m.-1 a.m., Sat 6 p.m.-1 a.m. & Sun 12 p.m.-7 p.m. through Oct. 29. Admission is $5 (21 yrs. or over only) on Fri-Sat & $4 (all ages) on Sun. Free parking is available in the adjacent lot off Vermont or Hamilton Ave. For more information, call (310) 327-4384 or visit www.alpinevillage.net.