What’s the difference between Knockwurst and Bratwurst? Is red cabbage the same as sauerkraut? And what the heck is “spaetzle?” Menu rundown for East Falls’ Oktoberfest — including news about a local brewer’s East Falls debut!
Oktoberfest 2016 is already in full swing across the globe in Bavaria — where 6+ million Germans (and tourists!) have been partying since mid-September at the world’s biggest, oldest folk fest. Here in East Falls, 150 neighbors get ready to kick off Autumn on the river with the first food and beer jam of the season.
If you don’t know much about German food, think hearty. Germany endures cold, snowy winters so their food tends to be rich and starchy — but not bland. German cuisine adopted quite a few seasoning & cooking methods from neighboring France and Italy, to create robust recipes enjoyed worldwide today.
Rieker’s Prime Meats was founded by the late Walter Rieker, an Old World butcher since the age of 13. He and his wife Ursula began making their own sausage, lunch meats, and German specialties in 1970, and their shop in NE Philly upholds their traditions today.
Rieker’s Oktoberfest spread is pure Deutsche deliciousness! Grab a plate and let’s peruse the buffet…
Wurst Things First: German Sausage
Germans love their ground, spiced, encased meats — aka “wursts” (their word for sausage). Historically, preserved meats were a necessity in the days before refrigeration, and the Germans mastered hundreds of different styles. Ringstetten’s spread will offer three:
Oktoberfest Bratwurst — the traditional “Weiss wurst” (white sausage) you’ll find this time of year in Munich. Ground lean veal & pork with herbal seasonings and a hint of caraway seed.
Knockwurst — lightly-smoked southern German beef/veal/pork sausage whose name comes from the snap it makes when you bite into its taut skin. Looks & tastes like a fat hot dog, mildly flavored with just a hint of garlic.
Bavarian Bierwurst — a combination of finely-emulsed meats (beef, veal, bacon, etc) plus coarse-ground pork. Seasonings include mustard seed, pepper, paprika, and a dominant punch of garlic. It is not made with beer, but meant to complement it. Good thing we’ll have plenty at Oktoberfest! More on that later, but first:
Sides By Sides
Tangy, pickled cabbage is a traditional accent for Germany’s highly-seasoned meats. Instead of potatoes, they serve a dumpling-like noodle as a mild, buttery base. Pass the gravy.
Sauerkraut — much more than translucent strings in hot dog water. Hand-“‘schnitzed,” pickled cabbage is both a taste-treat and a health food, chock-full of probiotics so embraced by modern nutritionists. Sauerkraut is best when it is cooked with the meat, so if you have only tasted it from hot dog vendors, you are missing out on this smokey, briny bliss.
Red cabbage — sauerkraut’s sassy sister, a little sweeter, often made with apples and cloves. Healthier, too, thanks to “anthocyanins” associated with red pigment, and found to have powerful antioxidant, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Spaetzle — spaetzle are dense, curly egg noodles with a texture like gnocchi. Spaetzle glistening with butter is a common side-dish for all kinds of German food. Delicious plain or sopped with gravy, such as the kind that comes with Rieker’s roast beef & pork (also on the menu).
We Can BARLEY Wait!
Germans are serious about beer — and so are we in East Falls! Billy Murphy’s might be an Irish saloon, but their Oktoberfest Beer Garden is legit, pulling drafts of Paulaner Marzen, a crisp, mellow beer brewed just for this season.
PLUS! We are thrilled to introduce Wissahickon Brewing Company! Their debut brew is a Belgian Strong Ale spiced with fresh mango, blood orange, and ruby grapefruit. Called Tripel Citrus, it’s got hints of clove & coriander (along with 8.5 ABV). Owner Tim Gill will be on-hand at Ringstetten to answer questions about his new operation opening soon on Schoolhouse.
Just a few more tickets left for Castle on Tap. Registration closes at midnight on Tuesday (or when the guest list hits 150), no tickets sold at the door (sorry). Hope you can join us for this very special event at a one-of-a-kind venue, with local history come alive on Castle Ringstetten’s grassy lawn.
The best part: we’re raising money to improve East Falls! Every ticket sold gets us one step closer to our roots — our river. Proceeds from Castle on Tap help fund a public river landing for all of us.
WHAT: Castle On Tap, a pop-up beer garden for East Falls
WHEN: Saturday October 1st, 2 pm to 7 pm
WHERE: Castle Ringstetten, 4347 Ridge Avenue (faces Kelly Drive, near Falls Bridge)
HOW: Walk, bike, drive, or row (the river’s right there!) Plenty of parking.
**INCLUDES ALL-YOU-CAN EAT Oktoberfest buffet plus 1 FREE BEER **
BYO-CHAIRS & BLANKETS — LOTS OF ROOM TO SPREAD OUT!
TICKETS $25 ADULTS, $5 CHILDREN 6-12 (free for kids under 6)
All proceeds benefit a water landing & amenities for East Falls: Click here to purchase.
Thanks for supporting neighborhood development! See you at The Castle!