Best beer fests
The beer festival calendar traverses the globe and interacts with millions of beer lovers each year. Sampling diverse beers alongside culinary delights and, often, live entertainment is a pastime enjoyed around the world - and 2017 will not disappoint. Here’s what the beer festival world can offer this year…
Barcelona Beer Festival
Date: 24 - 26 March 2017
Location: La Farga, Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
The Barcelona Beer Festival celebrates high-quality craft beer, offering more than 300 varieties. Dedicated to the culture as much as the taste of craft beer, the festival also offers a series of cultural and gastronomical lectures, networking for international professionals and a personal touch with ‘meet the brewer’ sessions.
Zythos Bier Festival
Date: 22 - 23 April 2017
Location: Brabantlaan, Leuven, Belgium
The largest beer festival in Belgium – and among the largest in Europe – offers more than 500 Belgian beers on 88 different stands staffed by brewers. A food corner will be on site, and the festival links with Leuven beer month, which offers brewery tours, walks and talks. Each year, the festival recognizes the three best-tasting beers, as voted by visitors, and gives awards to the winning breweries.
Czech Beer Festival
Date: 11 - 27 May 2017
Location: Letenská Pláň, Prague, Czech Republic
The 17-day festival in Prague will offer more than 150 draft Czech beers as well as a ‘Beer Diversity’ tent featuring a changing cycle of beers from elsewhere in the world. With 10,000 seats, food aplenty, music performances, and servers in traditional Czech costumes, what more could you ask for?
Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular
Dates and locations:
19 - 21 May 2017 at the Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton, Melbourne
27 May 2017 at the Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney
16 - 17 June 2017 at the ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane, Auckland
Held across three cities in Australia and New Zealand, this festival is designed to celebrate the diversity of craft beer. It features dozens of exclusive ‘festival beers’ brewed specifically for the event. A dozen food vendors will feature in each city, along with cooking demonstrations, educational seminars and other entertainment.
Mondial de la Bière
Dates and locations:
14 - 18 June 2017 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, Canada
30 June - 2 July 2017 at the Maison de la Mutualité, Paris, France
Founded in 1994 by a trio of beer lovers, this festival describes itself as a ‘unique and friendly tasting event’ and features hundreds of beers from around the world. For the first time it will also take place in Paris this year.
Oregon Brewers Festival
Date: 26-30 July 2017
Location: Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland, USA
Celebrating its 30th year, the Oregon Brewers Festival attracts more than 80,000 craft beer lovers to one of the top beer cities in the world. The festival offers 80+ independent beers, as well as home-brewing demonstrations, beer memorabilia displays and a wide assortment of food. All ages are welcome, and the Crater Lake Soda Garden offers craft root beer for minors and drivers.
International Berlin Beer Festival
Date: 5-7 August 2017
Location: Karl-Marx-Allee, Berlin, Germany
Around 800,000 visitors will gather in the world’s longest beer garden (according to the Guinness World Records) for the 21st year of the International Berlin Beer Festival. Along the 2.2km, visitors can experience around 2,400 beers, offered by 340 breweries from 87 countries, while enjoying music from across 20 stages.
The Great British Beer Festival
Date: 8 - 12 August 2017
Location: Olympia, London, UK
Organized by the Campaign for Real Ale, Britain’s biggest beer festival offers visitors more than 900 real ales, ciders, perries and international beers to enjoy, alongside live music, food stands, seating areas and traditional pub games. The festival has been running since 1977 and features more than 350 British breweries.
Qingdao International Beer Festival – Asian Oktoberfest
Date: August 2017
Locations: Golden Sands Beach in Huangdao District; Century Plaza in Laoshan District; and International Horticultural Exhibition Center in Licang District, China
The festival has evolved from an annual two week event into a three to four week Asian Oktoberfest that usually starts the first Saturday in August. Launched in 1991 for the 100th birthday celebration of Qingdao City, it has since grown into Asia’s largest annual beer festival. Proceedings kick off with a grand opening concert and light show, before featuring carnival events, evening entertainments and beer tasting.
Date: 16 September - 3 October 2017
Location: Theresienwiese, Munich, Germany
Oktoberfest, first held to mark marriage celebrations in Bavaria in 1810, has grown into what is commonly thought of as the largest beer festival in the world. Almost six million guests attended in 2016 and consumed more than seven and a half million liters of beer. Oktoberfest is 18 days long this year, features numerous tents with different beers and atmospheres on tap, as well as a fun fair and traditional opening and closing ceremonies.
Date: 22 September - 8 October 2017
Location: Cannstatter Wasen, Stuttgart, Germany
The second-largest beer festival in Germany attracts around 4m visitors each year, seeking authentic brews. The festival can trace its roots back to 1818, as a celebration to mark the end of famine in the city. Funfair attractions and market stalls all add to the overall ‘volksfest’ experience.
Great American Beer festival
Date: 5 - 7 October 2017
Location: Denver, Colorado, USA
The American brewing industry’s largest public tasting, the Great American Beer Festival offers access to more than 3,500 different beers from some 700 of the nation’s breweries. Beer from all parts of the country is represented and arranged geographically in the festival hall. The event, which has been held since the early 1980s, awards medals to beers in 96 beer-style categories, and is considered the largest ticketed beer festival in the United States.
Oktoberfest of Blumenau
Date: October 2017
Location: Blumenau, Brazil
Brazil also has its own version of Oktoberfest. It was first held in 1984 in Blumenau – a city that was at the center of German immigration around 200 years ago and still retains heritage and architecture from this period. The festival is thought to be among the largest in the world, celebrates a fusion of German and Brazilian culture, music and food, alongside a diverse sampling of beer.