Wellfleet Oyster Fest (Oct. 15-16)
The Foodie: Strongly Recommends
Watch out Munich, salty Cape Cod has something going on that your little celebration called Oktoberfest cannot match.
Sure, you’ve got chesty dirndln-wearing beer maidens, world-class beer and sausages, but you don’t have:
- Wellfleet oysters overflowing into the streets served by the producers themselves from a multitude of makeshift raw bars.
- All manner of crustacean-inspired treats from fried clam cakes to New England clam chowder to fritters.
- A rare special brew from Sam Adam’s called Oyster Stout – only unveiled at this occasion since it may be a turn-off out of context for the average beer snob.
- BBC (Berkshire Brewing Company) selling off the season’s latest brews such as a delightful classic Oktoberfest and a refreshing, crisp, Harvest Lager.
- An oyster-shucking contest that spans two days and features local shuckers from all over
- All manner of local artisan crafty-work and live music (think bluegrass, Cape Cod indie rock)
In fact, after sucking down more oysters than I could count along with a few of the aforementioned beers and sitting in the sun-drenched vine-covered outdoor terrace at Winslow Tavern (the Hofbrauhaus of Oysterfest), I realized that Wellfleet really has created something special here.
Here’s the play-by-play of our day at the ‘Fest:
We arrived early and just barely snagged walking-distance parking. By the time we hit Wellfleet center, the festival was already bumping and packed with oysterfesters.
Our first action was buying a half-dozen raw oysters at the paltry cost of $9 – which was the standard price set by every raw bar oyster-slinger at the festival. Amazing.
We then navigated the crowds to scope out some of the goods and festival tents, scarfed-down some fried clam cakes from Harmon’s then made our way to the central tent near the main stage for, of course, some beer.
The alcohol spread at the festival featured delicious Sam Adams “Oyster Stout” for $6 and wine from the nearby Truro Vineyards. Oyster Stout was a deep dark dry stout brewed using oysters and possibly the best tasting brew I’ve had from Sammy A. I grabbed an oyster brew and enjoyed the musical vibes emanating from center stage while wandering to scope out more oysters. In the process, I chanced upon a grilled baked oyster with spinach and cheese and some other goodness…totally different yet amazing.
By the early afternoon the bulk of the crowds had arrived and the penguin-shuffle became the only way to get through the streets, so we hit Winslow Tavern where they had their own little party going down, which featured bloody-mary’s, BBC beers, live music, and awesome seafood. We chilled at Winslow in the sun for what became a long time and enjoyed the respite from the masses.
After Winslow, we made our way back to center stage to check the oyster shucking contest. Man I’ve never seen someone shuck 24 oysters in under 3 minutes…incredible. I had to try another oyster stout, and then we sampled a few more oysters (thicker this time, grown in deeper waters) before heading out early to beat the crowds.
I left with a good buzz, a belly full of some of the best oysters anywhere, and a T-shirt that said “The Joy of Shucking…and what a joy it all was.
Peace, Love, and Oysters,
Nick the Foodie