Netflix’s Oktoberfest Drama Tastes Like Peaky Blinders And Beer

Oktoberfest: Beer and Blood harnesses a sparkling barrel of revenge and desire.


What are the ingredients of a perfectly brewed beer? At Oktoberfest, all you need is Hops, Yeast, Water, Lust, Betrayal, and Murder. Bottom up!

Oktoberfest: Beer and Blood is Netflix’s cheerfully dark new drama about the early years of the famous Beer Festival. This isn’t a documentary or a period story – instead, it’s filled with button-down old folks who are deliciously mean to each other on a sharp adventure through the fierce world of brewing the beer that tastes like Peaky Blinders with a creamy foam head. Dead wood in lederhosen. Boardwalk Empire with subtitles.

Airing on Netflix on October 1, Beer and Blood opens in 1900 with the city of Munich about to host its famous celebration of Germany’s revered beer-brewing tradition. But there is a new face in town with bold new ideas. Mr. Prank is an outsider with a clever plan: to replace the small tasting booths with a vast beer palace containing 6,000 revelers. As it intimidates its way into Munich society and the Oktoberfest map, only one rival stands in its way: the small but stubborn family brewery Devil’s Brew. And when the beer flows, so does the blood …

From a surprisingly unexpected opening image to a photo of cotton candy melting in a puddle of blood as the innocence of childhood is brutally swept away, Beer and Blood is packed with striking imagery. Director Hannu Salonen, cinematographer Felix Cramer and their team fill the screen with stunning visual style, using deep shadows and dizzying drone shots against epic panoramas. The visuals evoke a luxurious society where ruthless savagery lurks under stiff collars and stiffer mustaches. Everyone is greedy, scheming, and dangerous in a sordid, knowledgeable, and gleefully venal spectacle. Cheers!


Order another round of violence and deception this Oktoberfest.


Although it’s not as mind-blowing as Netflix acclaimed German drama Dark – also written by Beer and Blood co-creator Ronny Schalk – the animated cast of characters in the opening episode takes a bit of focus. But the various conflicts quickly become clear as the characters make their way through each other’s lives. It is loosely based on the Georg Lang’s true story, an outsider who pioneered the cavernous beer tents we associate with Oktoberfest today. But it’s a story of brewing beer the same way breaking Bad is a chemistry lesson.

As an ambitious and sneaky brewer, Mr. Prank, Misel Maticevic dominates the first few episodes. But a subplot involving his daughter and her mysterious chaperone is absorbedly interpreted by Mercedes Müller and Brigitte Hobmeier, two women with their own secrets circling each other in a stinging battle of wills. And Martina Gedeck, which you may have seen in 2006 Oscar winner The lives of others, gives a deliciously acerbic performance as a brewing matriarch who refuses to tap.

One of the main themes of this turn-of-the-century story is the old versus the new: whether it’s the son trying to persuade his father to switch from kegs to bottled beer, or a ruthless stranger dragging Oktoberfest into a new century, no matter to whom it owes harm, tradition and modernity stand against each other – violently, of course.

Crisp and refreshing and one that will certainly leave you dizzy – or perhaps with a headache – Oktoberfest: Beer and Blood is a tall, tasty glass of greed, lust, and ruthless manipulation. Bartender: keep coming!

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