October is the month for celebrating beer in Washington (you know, more than we normally celebrate beer here). Among the Oktoberfest-themed events that Western Washingtonians have to choose from, none promises to be as gritty as Maltoberfest, an event that will again bring together b-boy and Bavarian themes at Bob's Java Jive on Oct. 19.
Founder Craig Egan gave us an idea of just how crazy things may get.
Tacoma Weekly: So what exactly is Maltoberfest?
Egan: Maltoberfest is our annual malt liquor Oktoberfest celebration. Basically, it's all things German and gangsta. If you think about lederhosen and bling or polka and rap or hot dogs and Olde English 800, that's what we're doing. It's pretty awesome.
TW: How did it get started?
Egan: A friend of mine had a private party before that. It was a fortified wine tasting where we drank Night Train, Thunderbird, Cisco and all the Mad Dogs, you know. It was a very elegant event where we sat around and drank fortified wine. And so we tried to come up with the beer equivalent of that.
Once the name Maltoberfest came out of my mouth it just clicked into place. Then we started photoshopping images of Snoop Dogg together with frauleins, and it just got funnier and funnier. So we just couldn't let it go.
TW: As a connoisseur, what are the top malt liquors or fortified wines?
Egan: Olde English 800 is definitely one of the best. Best is a loose term in this context, but people like the Olde English. People like Mickey's a lot. We drink a lot of Brass Monkeys, which is traditionally Olde English and orange juice. The more hardcore fans will drink 211 Steel Reserve. Those are pretty much the three that we serve at Maltoberfest, based on what our distributor has available.
TW: So how does it work? Don't you pay a flat fee and get unlimited 40s or something?
Egan: We don't pass out 40s. We found out that was dangerous. But, for $15, you'll get unlimited food. You'll get three drink tokens, and if you come in Maltoberfest attire you'll get five drink tokens, which should pretty much cover you for the night.
One of the secrets is we just pour the beer in red keg cups. But if you bring your own stein or you bring your own pimp chalice, we'll fill it up - no matter how big it is - for one drink ticket. It has to be something within the theme, so don't bring your Big Gulp cup.
TW: What is the key to having the best Maltoberfest costume? And do you have a contest?
Egan: We definitely do appreciation and recognition for costumes, but there's not an official contest as such. I'm constantly surprised at how many people have invested in really nice, expensive lederhosen for Maltoberfest; and then your gangsta gear – your grills and your bling and your track pants or whatever. I've seen some really amazing combinations. I saw one gentleman who had some lederhosen that were sagging with his boxers sticking out the top. He pulled it off really well.
TW: What about the music? You tend to choose different bands from a lot of other festivals. I think you first brought Saucy Yoda to Tacoma for Maltoberfest.
Egan: Yeah, it's kind of an eclectic group. We have 508 Disturbance. They're a rap group, and they're notably the only group that has played every single Maltoberfest. They're kind of a Biznautics spinoff. And then we have a band, Warning Danger, from Seattle. They're kind of a safety punk sort of band. They wear a lot of safety gear … and they sing about the danger of danger. Fun Police are playing this year, and then Ten Pole Drunk from Tacoma. Artesian Rumble Arkestra. They're a big marching band from Olympia. You'd have to see 'em to understand.
Maltoberfest 8: Menace II Sobriety
7 p.m. Oct. 19
Bob's Java Jive, 2101 South Tacoma Way
$15 includes food and three drink tokens (5 tokens if dressed in Maltoberfest costume)