10 Best Beer Festivals in the World

Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in the world, and, with more real ales on offer than ever before, it is hardly surprising that ticket sales for beer festivals are booming.

This gives visitors an opportunity to sample new beers and ales and have a rip roaring time in the process.

Forget your local events where there are 20 real ales in a tent and a van offering burgers to soak up the copious amount of ale being supped. These are huge events that have to be actually experienced to be believed.

Without further ado, we present the 10 best beer festivals in the world…

Best of British Beer Festivals

Best of British Beer Festivals

Best of British Beer Festivals

The Great British Beer Festival is held every year in the capital and the 2012 event, held at Earls Court, attracted more than 50,000 visitors.

Organised by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, this year’s festival at Olympia is expected to surpass last year’s record breaking attendance and, with more than 800 different real ales, foreign beers, perries and ciders to sample this seems a reasonable assumption.

Taking place from the 13th-17th August, tickets are now on sale for this magnificent combination of beer, food and entertainment.

Czech it out

If there was one beer festival anywhere in the world that was more inevitable than inventive then it has to be Pilsner Fest which is held annually in the town of Pilsen which, yes you guessed it, was where Pilsner was invented.

This festival has been celebrated annually for over 200 years and the people of the town, as well as thousands of visitors turn out in force to celebrate the beer that put their little town on the map and this year’s fest, if you fancy a hop across Europe, runs from the 5th October – 10th November.

The best of the US

Great American Beer Festival

Great American Beer Festival

Despite having a reputation for being rather wishy washy, the Great American Beer Festival is big business, with more than 49,000 visitors getting through nearly 37,000 gallons of the stuff at the 2012 festival in Denver.

This is again the venue for the 2013 event, and if anyone fancies taking a trip over there, the festival takes place from the 10th-12th October.

Another land down under

We are all aware of Australian beers and how popular they are globally, but little is heard of beers from New Zealand.

Nevertheless, they have their own annual beer festival, rather unimaginatively called The New Zealand Beer Festival. This is relatively new on the festival calendar as it first took place in 2006.

It has grown every year since however, and this year’s event which took place in March in Auckland boasted 130 different beers for the thirsty revellers to enjoy.

Magnificent Munich

Oktoberfest Munich

Oktoberfest Munich

No list of beer festivals would be complete without mentioning the mighty Oktoberfest held annually in Munich from the end of September through to the first weekend of October in.

This, the biggest and best known beer festival in the world is not for the faint hearted, and pacing yourself is the key to surviving this week of festivities.

With 6 million visitors in 2012, its popularity is certainly not waning. It is unique amongst beer festivals in that all the beers at Oktoberfest have to have been brewed within the Munich city limits, and with 14 tents to choose from, there is one heck of a time to be had.

Asian ales

Every year Qingdao, which is in China’s Shandong province, opens its doors to thousands of visitors who come to the Qingdao International Beer Festival.

So popular is this celebration of beers from around the world that the area of the city it is held in has now been named the Qingdao International Beer City.

The festival is now in its 23rd year and takes place annually on the second weekend in August. As well as the traditional beer tasting there is live music, games and even drinking contests for those who think a thick head the next day is worth it.

Belgian brews

Belgian Beer Weekend

Belgian Beer Weekend

The Belgian Beer Weekend is a celebration of all Belgian beers, and there are more than most people realise.

The Brussels market place is transformed in the first weekend of September into an impressive Beerfest with visitors having the choice of over 350 Belgian beers ranging from Trappist brews through to Pilsners.

Winter warmers

Another beer festival held in Britain is the National Winter Ales Festival. This is also organised by CAMRA but takes place further north in Manchester as opposed to London where the Great British Beer Festival is held.

The 2013 festival took place in January and it showcased more that 300 beers, bottled real ales, perries and ciders.

CAMRA  tempts visitors to the winter festival with the claim that there will be something for everyone and even the hardest to please will be satisfied by at least one of the beverages on offer.

Une bière, s’il vous plaît

beer festival in Canada is the Mondial de la Bière

beer festival in Canada is the Mondial de la Bière

The largest beer festival in Canada is the Mondial de la Bière held in Montreal, the festival has just past as it was held

There were over 550 beers, ciders, meads and other alcoholic beverages on offer, of which 229 were beers that were making their début at the festival.

This was the 20th anniversary of  Mondial de la Bière and as well as the drinks visitors were treated to tasty snacks such as kangaroo and wild boar and bison on a stick.

All around the world

Best Beer Festivals

Best Beer Festivals

Although most of the top beer festivals are a celebration of beers from around the world, there is only one that actually calls itself the Great World Beer Festival.

Originally known as Brewtopia, this annual festival takes place annually over the last weekend October in New York and is the biggest and longest running of the city’s various beer festivals.

It welcomes around 15,000 visitors over the course of the weekend who are looking to sample beers from around the globe.

So there you have it. If you love beer, love a festival and love to travel, there are plenty of places around the world where you will find your own little slice of beer heaven.

Remember to drink sensibly and above all grab some travel insurance from Columbus Direct – but remember no insurer (including Columbus) will cover you for accidents while you’re are drunk!

Festivals and Carnivals I Want To Visit and Experience

Top 5 Festivals and carnivals most often bring out the best in a city. All this glitter, bright colors, feathers, bling bling, dancing and music really enchants me.

I must say I haven’t been to many, and most of the ones I’ve seen I just happened to stumble upon by chance or planned it at very short notice.

But I still feel drawn to all this glamor, and on my bucket list of places to visit and things to experience in the next few years – these 5 carnivals and festivals are my top 5 Festivals and carnivals:

Carnival of Venice

I’ve been dreaming of going to this carnival for years, but have never had the chance. What makes this Carnival so special are the costumes and masks. I love them!

It just seems to enhance the whole experience of visiting this ancient city, where people have been celebrating this carnival ever since 1162.

Top 5 Festivals and Carnivals

Top 5 Festivals and Carnivals

They initially used the masks so that you couldn’t see the people’s social status. During this carnival everybody were equals.

2. Holi,the color festival of India: I have never seen pictures of a festival brighter and more colorful than this. India in itself is like a big paint box, it can’t get more pleasurable for the eyes than this!

It is celebrated by people throwing coloured powder and colored water at each other. Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of February/March.

3. Rio Carnival: This is considered to be one of the greatest shows on earth, and have been going every year since 1723..! It is a carnival full of Samba dancing, music, glitter and sex.

There are parades and competitions between samba schools, as well as street carnivals where anyone is allowed to join the fun. I’ll definitely match our visit in Rio with this carnival, I have to see it!

4. Tomatina Festival: A sticky but funny food fight festival. It’s basically all about throwing tomatoes on each other – like a big snowball fight, but with tomatoes…

On the night before participants in the festival compete in a Paella cooking competition, not my favorite dish but competitions are always fun 😉

5. Aboriginal Garma Festival: Unlike the Maori people in New Zealand, Australia didn’t show much of their Aboriginal culture, which is a real shame.

I found it pretty hard finding out much about these people who seemed to have such an amazing culture and beliefs during our visit to Australia last year.

I’d really like to get a closer insight in their culture from a real perspective, not just some white dude reading out loud from a paper.

Have you been to any of these Festivals or Carnivals? I’d love to hear about it!

(Photo credits: 1 – 23)
(photo credit:  1 –  2 –  3 – 4 – 5 – 6)

5 Responses to 10 Best Beer Festivals in the World

  1. Gabriel - We Travel and Blog July 13, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    Beer festivals look so awesome. Especially for the diversity of beer that you can try from one location. Did you see any competitions?

  2. Heather July 14, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    The Shanghai International Beer Festival just celebrated its second year. Hopefully a new tradition is being born!

  3. Paige Conner Totaro July 15, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    There’s a growing micro-brew culture in Spain, and a great beer festival known as Birrasana is held in the spring outside of Barcelona.

  4. travel reviews July 16, 2013 at 7:28 am #

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  5. Debbie @ European Travelista July 17, 2013 at 1:07 am #

    There is so much traveling around beer! Would love to explore Belgium’s beer and a trip to Oktoberfest must be done. I’d also love to experience some of Germany’s lesser known beer festivals! Hey thats another trip :)