Beers, Balls and Brats 

From Oktoberfest to BBQ, mochi and corndogs

Three of our favorite food groups: ice cream, beer and corndogs.

Kelsey Hawes, 123tf

Three of our favorite food groups: ice cream, beer and corndogs.

They call it Oktoberfest, but the age-old bier bash actually kicks off Sept. 16 in Munich, Germany, running 18 days into the first weekend of October. You don't have to book a Lufthansa flight to the Vaterland to sip some suds, with a stein-full of local observances with which to whet your whistle.

First, Payette Brewing will host a celebration Wednesday, Sept. 14, when it releases its new canned seasonal Oktoberfest Marzen Lager—the traditional tipple of the holiday. The party goes down 7-11 p.m. at Taphouse (760 W. Main St.), where you can Getrank to your Herz's content.

Don't overdo it, though, because Payette is following its Taphouse release with another party Friday, Sept. 16 at its downtown Boise taproom (733 S. Pioneer St.). There, from 5 'til 10 p.m., you'll again get a taste of the Oktoberfest Marzen Lager along with German-inspired food; merch, including one-liter steins; a seven-piece brass polka band; and more. Boise's own Burgermeister, Mayor Dave Bieter, will be on hand to tap the first keg in true Munich fashion.

Here's hoping you still have some oomp in your pah, because Oktoberfest comes to Old Boise on Saturday, Sept. 17, with Bavarian food, German and seasonal beers, music and a Sam Adams stein hoisting competition on Sixth Street between Idaho and Grove streets. Wristbands cost $15 and come with a commemorative mug. The brews start flowing at 3 p.m. and won't stop until 11 p.m. (facebook.com/OktoberfestOldBoise)

If you're more into barbecue than bratwurst, head to the Ford Idaho Center (16200 Idaho Center Blvd., Nampa) for the Rock'N Brews and BBQ Festival, which is firing up the grill Saturday, Sept. 17 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Competitors from around the Treasure Valley and Northwest will face off to qualify for the Jack Daniels Nationship Championship and you'll reap the benefits with top notch 'cue, music, vendors, demonstrations, and the chance to meet and mingle with pit masters from the Kansas City BBQ Society, which has sanctioned the event.

If you work up a thirst—and you will—belly up at the craft beer fest, featuring local breweries. Get the details at rocknbrewsandbbq.com.

For foodies on the go, cooler weather will mean fewer food trucks and carts out and about, but while it's still warm out, we plan to frequent a few of our favorite mobile muncheries as much as possible.

If you haven't heard, The Rusty Dog answered the cry for "more corndogs!" The big ol' all-beef dogs hand-dipped in a cornmeal batter and sweetened with honey are the stuff of dreams. That would be enough but damn, Daniel, there's more: minis, beef and cheese, sausage, just cheese for the vegetarians and more, including (OMG) tiny donuts. Visit facebook.com/therustydogidaho for The Dog's location.

Last but not least, it's hard to say anything bad about ice cream but if we had to pick something, it would be how not finger-foodish it is. Then we remembered mochi, the delightful little round Japanese rice/ice cream confection. Then we discovered the choose-your-own-mochi cart at Whole Foods (401 S. Broadway Ave.) pictured above. Then we wept with joy.

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