London Oktoberfest set for four-day festival on Island
About 25,000 litres of a one-of-a-kind tipple will pour out into the steins of festival-goers as a traditional German celebration makes its debut on the Isle of Dogs.
The world's biggest beer festival, London Oktoberfest, will pitch up for a four-day stint at Millwall Park from October 3.
Making its way from Copenhagen, followed up by an eight-day programme in Kennington Park, Lambeth, the Bavarian bonanza of folk music, food, drink and traditional dress will showcase its own London Octoberfest Beer, a drink three years in the making.
Carsten Raun, director of London Oktoberfest Ltd, said although it had been shipped in on a huge tanker from Germany it "couldn't be more fresh", as the lightly-coloured liquid flowed directly from truck to glass.
"It's a light beer with light sweet tastes, it tastes like a Munich beer," he said.
"It's a beer which you can drink for the whole evening and, as it's five per cent, you won't have too much of a headache the next day."
But the 43-year-old is keen to stress the "little carnival" is not just an excuse for a booze-filled knees-up in a tent.
He said: "We want to show the best of German culture. People will be wearing Lederhosens and we have the blue and white Bavarian colours to make it authentic.
"If you come here you are forced to sit together and you'll maybe make some new friends. It's wonderful - you're sitting on a long table of up to 60 people in a row.
"The beer is, of course, a part of it, but it's not a drinking party, it's a good-time party. We want people to join in and sing and make new friends."
Guests can join in the spirit by kitting themselves out in traditional German dress to match the style of the festival waiters - either from the fancy dress box or by hiring out Lederhosen or Dirndl attire from the on-site shop.
This year's Millwall Park festival is expected see crowds of up to 30,000 - a sharp increase on the 13,000 visitors who embraced the 200-year-old Munich tradition in the capital two years ago.
And, with a family day on the Sunday, it is a festival for Wharf workers and residents alike.
Carsten said: "It's a good mix. We experienced a lot of guests from the Canary Wharf area last year, especially on the first day, when we had nearly all the banks.
"Of course, the British are lovers of beer and also having a good party and we have a feel of celebration here.
"I am very happy when peope come every year. It's a great sign we are doing something right."
Although Islanders have expressed concern about the impact of the festival on the area - particularly the amount of park space taken up and the noise levels - Carsten said it would only take up a small slice of parkland, leaving the rest open for community use.
"The thought would be for this to be a tradition and to come back every year," he said.
■ London Oktoberfest at Millwall Park, October 3 to 6. Free entry on Thursday, Friday and Sunday and £5 on Saturday. Children allowed entry on the Sunday only for Sunday lunch.
Go to london-oktoberfest.co.uk