Seasons of the Vine: Special Oktoberfest Beer Edition


“Beer, if drank in moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health.”  —Thomas Jefferson

One cannot think of October without thinking of beer! Years ago, I started a Fourth of July tradition of making burgers with Merlot-Caramelized Onions. In the recipe that follows, I use a dark ale instead of the merlot. As everyone’s palate varies, choose a beer or ale which appeals to you—likely something you would enjoy drinking as well.

Beer-Braised Onions
1 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 cup beer

Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet. Add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, until onions are tender. Add the sugar and 3/4 cup beer. Cook until the beer is absorbed and the onions are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Serve these over your favorite grilled burger or as an accompaniment to roasted meat.

What’s Brewing

September 14
Beers of the World
Ramada Hotel & Conference Center

Join this beer-tasting fundraiser featuring more than 125 different brews. Light appetizers will be provided along with fun raffles. All proceeds benefit Bear Creek Services, a non-profit organization that provides group homes and support services for people with developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injuries. Tickets:$30 in advance, $35 at the door. Tickets available online at or by calling 507-288-7195.


September 21
Rochester’s 17th Annual Oktoberfest
Peace Plaza

More than 100 beers will be available to sample, along with food, live music by local musicians, bar games and more. Liquor and wine samples and non-alcoholic beverages will be available as well. Cost is $15 in advance, $20 at the gate. Tickets are available at Apollo Liquor locations, Beer Bellyz Bar & Grill and Clear Channel Studios. Proceeds go to ARC Southeastern Minnesota and RT Autism Awareness Foundation.


September 27
Eat, Drink and Literary
Ramada Inn (1517 16th St. SW)

Proceeds from this whisky-tasting event support Friends of the Rochester Public Library. Join in for a fun evening which includes light refreshments, raffle prizes and a silent auction as we taste Glenfiddich Whisky (12, 15, 18 and 21 years). Tickets: $30 per person and $50 per couple. Register at or by mail: Whisky Tasting, c/o John Hunziker, Rochester Public Library, 101 Second St. SE, Rochester, MN 55904.


October 5
Johnny Mango Event Center at Barlow Plaza

A plethora of German food, presented at four food stations, served with 16 different beers at each station. Attendees will be treated to toe‐tapping music, including some polkas from local band Six Mile Grove and a silent auction. Proceeds benefit RNeighbors, the Rochester Neighborhood Resource Center, which supports community building projects such as boulevard tree plantings. Tickets are $30 and are available at or by calling 507-529-4150.