SOMERVILLE, NJ - Village Brewing Company put out the word, set up the beer and food tents and waited for the crowd.
The staff had spent months planning and preparing logistics, food and specially-brewed Oktoberfest beer, and at noon Saturday, the first group of revelers checked in and received their blue wristbands signifying they were of legal age.
They came early and stayed late, a steady stream of borough residents and out-of-town visitors to enjoy the local brewery's first-ever Oktoberfest celebration on Division Street.
Head brewer Mike Sella was kept busy in the weeks prior to yesterday's outdoor celebration brewing enough beer to keep the crowd happy. Topping the list was Village Brewing's own Oktoberfest beer, brewed especially for this weekend's celebration.
Also on tap was "Stay Golden," a light blonde ale, and Jersey Haze, an IPA that Sella said is similar to a New England-style pale ale, where hops are added towards the end of the brewing process so that it doesn't impart much bitterness to the beer.
Rounding out the selection of beers brewed on Main Street Somerville was a seasonal pumpkin spice beer, blended with ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and Allspice;
Executive Chef Justin White and his staff did their part Saturday to pair German delicacies with the selections on the beer menu.
By mid-afternoon, they had served hundreds of bratwurst sandwiches served on pretzel rolls.
Village Brewing Company works with local farmers, donating the spent grain from the brewing process which is picked up by the farmers and fed to their livestock.
River Bend Farms in Far Hills butchered pigs raised and fed with the spent grain to make bratwurst for the Oktoberfest celebration. The brats were blended with the brewery's 5 and Dime beer, a red ale, and cheddar cheese, according to Iris Frank, co-owner of Village Brewing Company.
The 5 and Dime beer takes its name from Woolworth's, the former occupant of the Village Brewing building at 34 West Main St.
Also on the menu was chicken schnitzel sliders prepared by the Village Brewing kitchen, breaded and served on a pretzel roll and served with sweet and sour cabbage and pretzel bites, made in-house, coated with smoked sea salt and served with mustard or beer cheese whipped up by White, a blend of gouda, cheddar and Swiss cheese blended with one of Village Brewing's pale ales.
White, assisted by two other cooks, also served German fried potatoes - a hot version of German potato salad with smoked bacon cured and pressed in his kitchen. There was also cheese fries served with a cheese dip blended with Village Brewing beer, and hot dogs for the kids.
Pretzel bites doubled as a dessert, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, paired with a chocolate sauce made in-house and blended with a dark beer brewed at Village Brewing.
The Blue Sheep Bake Shop on Division Street helped out with fresh-baked chocolate cupcakes for Oktoberfest, blended with Village Brewing's Porter beer.
Live music was provided by the Peter Lister Trio playing traditional American bluegrass; the Bobby Syvarth Band with its own brand of funk; the Joe Stone and Black Forest Blues band and This Old Engine, a Grateful Dead tribute band.
Other activities included a selfie/Instagram station, hair braiding and games including a corn hole toss and traditional German Stein Holding contest, a test of strength and determination. Other games included life-sized chess and checkers and ping pong.