Chris Guest's picture

World's Top 20 Beer Festivals



Photo Credit: Great British Beer Festival

Great British Beer Festival – 60,000 patrons milling about and swilling stouts (amongst other delectable creations) spill over into two London venues, the massive Olympia Grand and the smaller but still impressive Olympia National. Come join the throng at the largest beer festival in England, which features beers from over 100 breweries, be they famed British beer institutions or international powerhouses.      

Photo Credit: That's Qingdao

Qingdao International Beer Festival – Asia’s largest beer festival, billed on its website as “Asia’s Oktoberfest,” is set in the sprawling Century Plaza of the biggest beer-producing region in China, Qingdao. This 16-day celebration features over 200 beers from both proud Chinese brewmasters and international brewers. Lagers rule and so does big beer (as in macro). Hundreds of events occur during the festival, all presented with the grand theatricality typical of the host regime, though the opening and closing ceremonies are celebrated with the most fanfare and opulence.

Photo Credit: Flickr/David Taquin

Belgian Beer Weekend – This weekend in Brussels is sure to help sprout love of Belgian beers for the skeptical. Trappist ales, artisan saisons and the most highly regarded Belgian breweries are on tap in Brussel’s La Grande-Place. A picturesque setting, the Grand Place is flanked by stunning gothic architecture and near numerous taprooms and pubs.      


Slunce ve Skle –This event, whose name translates to Sun in a Glass, features over 150 beers on tap, numerous local musical acts and theatrical dance performances. As with most beer festivals, security is present throughout the event, but at Sun in a Glass they carry around breathalyzers that serve a fairly unique purpose: any attendee who seems a little too tipsy will get a sticker displaying their blood alcohol content slapped on their forehead in order to warn bartenders that this patron has had enough!

Photo Credit: Flickr/Ankit Bhageria

Oktoberfest – This is the big one. The world’s largest celebration of beer could certainly merit an entire article by itself, but as it is, this sixteen-day beer and bratwurst bonanza starting the last week of September is resplendent with revelers, scenic views and enough frothy libations to keep any beer fan happy. Six million people annually couldn’t be wrong.


Photo Credit: Czech Tourism

Pilsner Fest – Celebrate one of the world’s most popular beer styles, pilsner, in its birthplace of Pilsen, Czech Republic. Located near the Pilsner Urquell brewery, where the first-ever batch of pilsner was brewed in 1842, tours are available culminating in a rare sampling of Pilsner Urquell tapped straight from oak lager barrels.      

Photo Credit: Brewers Association

Great American Beer Fest – America’s answer to Oktoberfest. Set in one of the best beer cities in America, this sprawling celebration of suds features a staggering number of brews from every state. Perhaps the highlight of the event is when Brewers Association President Charlie Papazian reveals the winners of breweries and brewpubs of the year, and all the mashing, milling and trub-sparging of some of America’s best craft breweries is rewarded.

Great Pumpkin Beer Fest – Despite AB InBev’s disparaging of “pumpkin peach ales,” one of its acquisitions, Elysian Brewing Company, puts on a terrific celebration of the large orange gourd every year. Featuring over 80 of the most flavorful pumpkin brews from around the country (some exclusive to this event), this two-day event is a great way to get your Halloween festivities started a little early.

Blumenau Oktoberfest – When you hear “Oktoberfest,” your thoughts probably stray to the famed, 200-year-old beer extravaganza in Munich, Germany. But in the Brazilian city of Blumenau, founded by a German physician in 1850, the spirit of camaraderie and love of beer is on full display at “the biggest Oktoberfest in the Americas.” With the town’s beautiful European-inspired architecture and city design as a backdrop, this festival drew over 600,000 revelers in its most recent incarnation.    


Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer – This festival, known as FOBAB, specializes in brews that have “knocked on wood.” Any brew that has come into contact with a barrel – be it a burly bourbon barrel-aged stout or a willowy wine barrel-aged saison – is welcomed at this Chicago event.


Holiday Ale Festival – A four-day event in the heart of winter, this Portland, Oregon festival is a terrific early Christmas gift for all beer lovers. Brewed by some of the best West Coast breweries, there are 50 one-of-a-kind winter seasonals nestled like shiny new gifts underneath a gigantic Christmas tree.  



CajunBeer's picture
Check out the 7th annual Bayou Beer Festival at Southdown Plantation in Houma, LA. November 9, 2019.



CajunBeer's picture
Check out the 7th annual Bayou Beer Festival at Southdown Plantation in Houma, LA. November 9, 2019.