Two Low-Key Food Events: Spuyten Duyvil’s Oktoberfest & International Pickle Day


Two attendees at Spuyten Duyvil’s Oktoberfest might have been posing for an August Sander photo in the 1920s. Note the lederhosen.


Too many of today’s grandiose food events are a pain in the ass to attend, and expensive, too. I’m thinking of shindigs where the line trails down the block and moves at a snail’s pace. Events where, despite a high entrance fee, the plates of food are meager and unsatisfying – and I’ve even been to events where you had to pay extra for food on top of the admission.

The bucolic backyard became Bavaria for a day.

Well, a couple of much lower-key events I attended this weekend were far more pleasurable.

To celebrate Oktoberfest, Brooklyn exotic-suds bar Spuyten Duyvil brought in some German beers I hadn’t seen before, and next door St. Anselm provided a roster of sausages, served in much the same way you’d get them at a Bavarian beer garden.

The beers, served in 8 oz mugs at $5 each, included five on tap: Mahr’s Safir Weisse, Hofsetten Kuebelbier, Hofsetten GR Nitbock, Hochzeits von 1820, and Gunter Brau Amber Marzen; and one in cask: Bayer Ungespundet Landbier. The sausages were $6 apiece. And there was no admission fee.

The three Hofsetten beers (left to right): Hochzeits von 1820, Nitblock, and Keubelbier


A pork sausage made with smoked beer was imported from Germany.

The Ungespundet Landbier was mind-blowing, a brooding dark amber with a rich subtle flavor, and little carbonation, of course. A roster of wursts was available, served with a wad of pickles on a length of baguette. The one called Schlenkerla Malt was imported from Germany, where it was made with a smoked beer that gave the sausage a unique porky and smoky taste.

There were places to sit in the forested garden out back, and it made for a blissfully enjoyable afternoon.

Drawing beers in the taproom

Next: International Pickle Day



Sticky rice ball with pickled pig ear ($2) from An Choi restaurant was one of the more tasty and interesting offerings at International Pickle Day.

The next morning at 11 am, the International Pickle Festival commenced, running until 4 pm. About two dozen exhibitors offered free samples of their products, and sometimes they had lots of products. Entire pickles were given away, samples of kimchi, vegetarian chili, bloody maries with celery swizzlesticks, garlic sauerkraut, spicy pickled shallots, fingers of toasted cheese sandwiches, brined feta cheese, pickled ginger, pickled pig ears, and many other arcane treats. The samples were sometimes small, sometimes large, but it didn’t take much footwork to put a whole meal together out of morsels. Following is a gallery of pictures taken at the festival.

And, contrary to early predictions, Guss’ Pickles did attend.

The scene on the sunny parking lot off Broome Street on Sunday.

Contrary to what you might think, hummus and pickle chips make a splendid snack.

See if you can identify the imported Chinese pickles shown above: lemon peel, scallion, turnip, plum, and ginger.

Members of the Newton family at their farm stand

Most of the food was given away for free, including this kimchee assortment.


This pickle-bean chili was one of the day’s highlights.

After moving to Borough Park, Brooklyn, Guss’ Pickles returned to the old nabe.

Kids love pickles!

Spicy bloody maries — with celery swizzle stick but without the alcohol. Should have brought a flask.

At International Pickle Day, even the feta was brined.

Most interesting pickles in town came from An Choi, a Vietnamese cafe nearby (left to right): pickled cucumbers, spicy pickled shrimp and carrots, pickled escarole, pickled pig feet with leeks, pickled pineapple with anchovy, and pickled green mango.


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