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19th Annual, October 11th, 2014

photo by Jean Hanna Davis
Welcome one and all to the 19th Annual Bramwell Oktoberfest. This years festivities will take place on Saturday, October 11th, 2014 between 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm, featuring guided outdoor tours of the Bramwell Millionaire Row Historic District.

Tours will be given at 3pm and 5pm.

The Bramwell Oktoberfest is known for its excellent live musical entertainment, with traditional folk, blues, bluegrass and alternative artists performing throughout the day.

Bramwell, the "Home of the Millionaires", is located near Bluefield on the Virginia/West Virginia Border near I-77 south. Tucked beneath Pinnacle Rock State Forest in a horseshoe bend of the Bluestone River, tiny Bramwell is said to have once been home to more millionaires per capita than any town on earth.  The town is a hidden enclave of Victorian splendor amid the once-mighty Pocahontas coalfields. 


George and Lara Sitler 



 Have questions about the Bramwell Oktoberfest? Click here!


Judges for 2013:

Kelly Sauber
owner and distiller
Dancing Tree Distillery

Click here to read his bio information, here to see Kelly on youtube and like Dancing Tree Distillery on facebook.

Mike Pensinger

Mike is a reformed homebrewer who decided to take his skills to the professional level. He started brewing beer in 1995 and promptly became seriously involved in the Hampton Roads brewing scene. Stints in officer positions in the Hampton Roads Brewing and tasting Society and a part time gig teaching beer making prompted him to purchase one of the local homebrew supply stores and create HomeBrewUSA.

In 2002 he applied for and was given the brewer position at Hilltop Brewing Company where he stayed until 2004 when he retired from the U. S. Navy. After leaving Hilltop he spend the next couple years running HomeBrewUSA and running the bottling line at St. Georges Brewing Company in Hampton, VA. Approached in 2006 he renovated and built Williamsburg AleWerks from the ground up. In 2008 he moved to Radford VA to The River Company Restaurant & Brewery. Making a name for himself including winning 10 medals at the Bramwell Oktoberfest he left The River Company in August to start a new brewery in Greeneville, TN. Common Ground Brewing Company is schedule to open in December 2013.

We're changing things up a bit from past years. This year, the home brew competition will be an official American Homebrewers Association recognized event!

The categories for this year will be limited to BJCP categories 1 through 7, and number 15. This includes all lagers and light and dark hybrids, and German wheat and rye beers (this is an Oktoberfest, after all). Check the BJCP site at for more information on style guidelines. 

Two bottles per entry, $4 fee per entry, and the form - available on the web site (url to follow) - must be completed for each entry. There's no limit on how many beers you can enter, but only the approved style types will be judged.

Entries can be sent to K.R.A.Z.E., 4932 Dempsey Drive, Charleston, WV 25313 beginning September 1, 2013 and will be accepted up to Thursday, October 2, 2013.

Judging will be held in Charleston on October 5, with the winners announced at the festival (as is only proper). 

Many of the competition judges will be at the Bramwell Oktoberfest. Anyone who wants to bring a bottle or two of their home brew to the festival for an informal evaluation will be welcome.

Rob "mashing"

Homebrew Judge

Rob Absten

Rob has appreciated good beer ever since high school, when someone took the can of Milwaukee’s Best out of his hand and replaced it with a bottle of Guinness. Since then, he’s been a home brewer, beer judge, and general beer enthusiast, including running the home brew competition here at Bramwell the past two years. He is a founder and the president of the Kanawha Regional Association of Zymurgy Enthusiasts (K.RA.Z.E.), an A.H.A. recognized home brewing and beer enthusiasts group. And, as a lawyer, he has worked to help modernize West Virginia’s beer laws.

He’s attended every Bramwell Oktoberfest since 2005 and has been looking forward to this year’s event since about fifteen minutes after the 2012 one ended.



General Admission: Guests under 21 years of age gain access to the contest and musical entertainment area. General admission ticketholders over age 21 may obtain 2-ounce samples of competing beers. Children 12 and under are admitted free of charge. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the gate. To purchase tickets in advance, contact the Mercer County Convention and Visitor's Bureau at (800) 221-3206.

For more information  contact the event supervisor, George Sitler, at either or (304) 248-8004 or contact the Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau, PO Box 4088, Bluefield, WV 24701 (800) 221-3206. You can access their site at 

On the left side of this page you will find links to some the friends that have made the Bramwell Oktoberfest possible over the years. Please visit their sites, find out more about them and taste their delectable brews!

Links of Local Interest 

Beer Links 

Bramwell Oktoberfest   PO Box 65 Bramwell, West Virginia 24715   (304) 248 8004 
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