These international beer festivals have built a reputation for their variety, cultural heritage and sheer volume.
Beer is consumed all over the world and whilst we Brits take particular pride in our humble celebrations (or not so humble if you’re heading to The Great British Beer Festival), for each beer-drinking country there is an ultimate beer festival that promises endless schooners/steins/litres of beer with an army of attendees who are all as passionate as any beer-swiller from Blighty.
Wilfully ignore any alcohol consumption guidelines and run riot at one of these legendary beer festivals:
Arguably the be all and end all of beer festivals, Oktoberfest is the largest beer festival of its kind in the world. Over the course of 18 days millions of people travel to Munich, Germany to consume litres upon litre of Oktoberfest Beer. This medium bodied lager is a Bavarian classic that is undeniably malty with a very clean finish. Colours of this lager vary from a light amber to a dark brow and is dangerously drinkable. Oktoberfest is a celebration of Bavarian culture, it’s a folk festival but it’s also a fairground and definitely one for your bucket-list.
Where? Munich, Germany When? September 22nd 2018
Although this event is more of a convention than a true festival, it has nonetheless built up a solid reputation as one of the best beer festivals that the world has to offer. Tokyo is an exciting, vibrant city with an enthralling food scene, this event is a perfect opportunity for you to become better acquainted with the radical beers that are being produced out here. Only a handful of lager brands make it out of Japan despite the fact that there’s a huge beer industry here, so to discover it you’ll need to go to them!
Where? Tokyo, Japan When? TBA June 2019
Great American Beer Festival
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years you’ll no doubt be aware that American Beer has made somewhat of a breakthrough in the tastes of British beer drinkers. Whilst them yanks have yet to brew an ale to rival the best that we have to offer, they are more than capable of cobbling together a decent enough hoppy pale ale and Colorado is arguably at the centre of this micro-brewing revolution. The Great American Beer Festival hosts 96 separate category competitions in addition to offering presentations, tastings and even a silent disco.
Where? Denver, Colorado When? September 20-22 2018
Bruges Beer Festival
Whilst many British drinkers might still see Belgian beer as an acquired taste, Belgians (unsurprisingly) will have their beer no other way. The Belgian style is as broad and varied as the ales we have on offer here, with beverages ranging from session style ales of a piddling few percent to full blown barleywine bangers of up to 16% ABV. The exhibition hall is one of the largest in Belgium and the city is an architectural treat – just make sure you wrap up warm though, as this festival takes place in the depths of winter.
Where? Bruges, Belgium When? 31st January – 5th February 2019
Real Ale drinkers might well put their nose up at the European Pilsner but that hasn’t stopped it becoming one of the go to styles of choice for beer drinkers all across the world. Amstel, Grolsch, Budweiser and Beck’s have conquered the lager market for decades so it can be easy to overlook the fantastic variety of craft pilsners that are produced in its homeland of Plzen. The festival takes place on the first Saturday of October each year and is well attended thank to its proximity to Munich and Prague.
Where? Plzen, Czech Slovakia When? 6th October 2018