You can try to trip up Tim Pecsenye by quizzing him about all the beers that are offered at the German-American Festival this weekend, but you will not succeed.
With 40-plus lagers, ales, weisses, bocks, and more on the menu -- "weirdo exotics" as the festival chairman called them -- you would think there would be a few with which he is not familiar. And you would be wrong.
We hit him with some random selections off the list and he was well-versed about all of them.
"A great drinkable dark beer. Folks will invariably try it and they love it, and it's a favorite with women, too."
How about Schneider Weisse?
"A blond wheat ... and it's a light beer. Sort of hoppy, sort of bready. Weisse beer is great in the summertime and it compares to some of these summer shandies."
Paulaner Salvator sounds more like a Caribbean dictator than a beer -- so what's up with it?
"It's like a malt liquor, like a Colt 45 -- but not that bad."
German beers have a long, storied tradition and you can't have a German-American Festival without emphasizing beverages along with a few excellent wines from the region. Pecsenye said that the growing popularity of craft beers and microbreweries have placed a premium on making sure the festival has plenty of intriguing options for discerning beer drinkers.
The only non-German beer that will be available is Labatt Blue Light.
"If you're going to a German festival, you should be drinking German beers," he said. "The market trend is toward craft beers and import beers and away from full-bodied domestic beers."
There are more than 40 varieties that will be available and a couple of dozen of them will be in the German Bier Tour, which allows participants over the three-day festival to sample at least seven beers and receive a free glass. And there will be traditional boots that can be purchased to drink from. Pecsenye said it is believed that the drinking from a boot thing comes from a ritual decades ago when soldiers drank from their boots because they didn't have glasses.
Of course with all this drinking going on -- more than 1,000 kegs are expected to be consumed -- everyone should be careful not to over-indulge and especially not to drink and drive. Pecsenye noted that connoisseurs generally are more interested in drinking two or three really good beers rather than the kind of quantity-over-quality drinking favored by the Bud Light crowd.
"People have to exercise personal responsibility," he said. "If they're going to get plastered, that's not good."
He said the festival has secured cabs at a cab stand that will be available to take people home for a standard fare. Shuttle buses will take visitors from several locations to and from the festival, and he suggested anyone planning to drink take the bus to a shuttle stop and then have a friend or family member pick them up.
The festival also will have a program where designated drivers can receive a discount on soft drinks while at the event.
An expected 35,000 visitors will attend the festival at Oak Shade Grove, 3624 Seaman Rd. in Oregon, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Friday's festivities begin at 6 p.m. and close at 1 a.m., with a parade and ceremony at 8. Saturday's hours are 2 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday's are noon to 11 p.m.
Admission is $7 at the door, but tickets can be purchased for $6 online at germanamericanfestival.net or gafsociety.org/fest.htm. Navy members participating in Naval Week will be admitted free all weekend. Active military, police, fire, and EMS personnel will get in for free Sunday. Also on Sunday, those who attend the German-language worship service will be admitted free of charge.
Parking is available at the main entrance on Seaman as well as at gates on Starr Avenue and Corduroy Road. There also will be parking at Starr Elementary School, Fassett Middle School, and Clay High School, with shuttle service to the festival.
Shuttle service is available for $6 from locations across the area: Arnie's Again Bar and Grill at Westgate and Levis Commons; Berger's Olde Tyme, 1742 W. Laskey Rd.; the former Lucas County Recreation Center in Maumee; the Mayfly Tavern, 4532 N. Summit St.; and the Attic on Adams, 1701 Adams St.
Contact Rod Lockwood at email@example.com or 419-724-6159.