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A warm Bavarian pretzel is one of the tastiest autumn snacks especially dipped in beer cheese.

Grateful

Oktoberfest, like so many other events, will be far different this year due to coronavirus pandemic

The flagship celebration in Munich, which was scheduled Sept. 19-Oct. 4, was canceled in April. Many other events across the nation and around the globe followed suit.

“It hurts, it’s such a pity,” Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder said in a statement. “We have agreed that the risk is simply too high.”

But there are still ways to celebrate Oktoberfest, which dates back to the 1800s, at home. Brewers are still cranking out seasonal beers and there are myriad German-inspired recipes just a click away.

Joshua Kleinstreuer, a writer for a healthcare company in Austin, Texas, is among those who still plan to mark the occasion. His father was born in Essen, Germany and has family who still live there. The 35-year-old visited Munich once for Oktoberfest. Celebrating stateside and keeping up traditions as best he can helps him “connect with my roots,” he said. 

“I would normally celebrate Oktoberfest, like a true German, for a solid two weeks bouncing around to the different celebrations,” he said. “At least I have my stein from 2013 in Munich, which will be filled over and over again.”

‘The risk is simply too high’: Germany’s Oktoberfest canceled because of coronavirus pandemic

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Oktoberfest and seasonal beers

Das Bier Y’all, a German-style kölsch with peach flavoring from Lone Star, a Pabst Brewing Co. brand, is among the seasonal beer offerings this Oktoberfest.

“A beer garden is really a picnic table and a six-pack of beer away. Find your closest backyard and go for it,”  Daniel Crawford, brand manager for Pabst, told USA TODAY.

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Samuel Adams teamed up with soft-pretzel chain Auntie Anne’s to offer an Oktoberfest kit.

The $89 kit includes a six-pack of Samuel Adams’ Oktoberfest, ingredients to bake 10 pretzels, suspenders, party hats, a recipe book and two beer steins. It can be shipped to most states (sorry, Alabama, Alaska, Kentucky, Hawaii, Mississippi and Utah).

Other brewers with Oktoberfest beers this year include Ayinger’s Oktober Fest-Märzen, Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest, Von Trapp’s Oktoberfest and Zero Gravity’s Oktoberfest.

Soft pretzels with a side of mustard hit the spot year-round, but they’re especially great as festive snacks this time of year.

Food Network’s “fan favorite”: This five-star recipe from “Good Eats” host Alton Brown has more than 700 reviews and takes just under two hours from start to finish. 

A faster version: If you’re impatient, this whole-wheat option from Sally’s Baking Addiction cooks in just 30 minutes. Not a salt fan? Try cinnamon sugar instead. 

An Oktoberfest classic — and there are plenty of varieties, including blutwurst, bratwurst, knackwurst and weisswurst.

Homemade brats: Feeling adventurous? Trying grinding your own meat and stuffing sausages yourself. The Daring Gourmet suggests making a double batch and saving some for a later meal.

Sauteed German sausages: This Food & Wine recipe pops, pairing a dozen weisswurst or bratwurst with sauerkraut braised in bacon and apples. 

Animal-friendly tofu weisswurst: Don’t eat meat? People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has an entire menu of vegan Oktoberfest dishes, including this one from German cooking site Kuechen Goetter.

German sausage skillet: Spicy brown mustard (noticing a trend here?) is the secret ingredient in this stovetop recipe from My Food and Family. Shh!

Sausage and cabbage go hand in hand, especially during Oktoberfest. Paired together, they’re hard to beat for a hearty fall meal.

The Pioneer Woman’s sauerkraut: If you’ve got 2.5 pounds of cabbage and an hour to spare, you’ve got sauerkraut. A super easy recipe.

Another homemade sauerkraut recipe: Take a dive into fermentation with this recipe from The Kitchn. You’ll need a mason jar.

Tom Colicchio’s braised cabbage: The celebrity chef uses both apple cider and apple cider vinegar to give this dish an extra kick.

One-pot braised cabbage: This recipe from The Kitchn is more Southern-style than German, but it includes bacon and plenty of spices so we’re including it.

Don’t forget all the tasty side dishes that can help take your celebratory meal to the next level.

German potato salad: It’s not just for potlucks. Posted on Allrecipes, this one can be serve warmed for a taste that’s out of this world. 

Spaetzle: These German egg dumplings from The Wanderlust Kitchen can help round out your meal.  

Potato dumplings: Got a dutch oven? Try this potato dumpling recipe from Taste of Home. Don’t forget the browned butter sauce! 

Dessert

We’ve saved the best for last. Check out these delicious desserts:

Betty Crocker’s German chocolate cake: We’re not all a whiz in the kitchen. Thankfully, Betty Crocker’s here to help with a simple recipe

Looking to upgrade?: Here’s a fancier German chocolate cake recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Apple cake: Have some extra apples sitting around the kitchen? Here’s one option from Food.com to polish them off.

Gingerbread hearts: Popular at Oktoberfest and other German festivals, these sweet-spiced treats are decorated with royal icing. The Spruce Eats breaks the recipe into smaller, workable steps

PETA-approved apple strudel with vanilla sauce: For our vegan friends, this recipe from Mina Made uses plant milk and oat cream for the silky vanilla sauce. 

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