Beer Festivals Around The World – It’s That Time Of The Year!
Beer has been a big part of the culture in many countries of the world. Each country has typically celebrated the brewing of particular beer at certain times of the year. This usually corresponds to when the beer is produced. Festivals are a great way to try new and unusual beers and to learn more about beer. They are also a great way to meet brewers as well as other beer lovers. If you are interested in brewing your own home-made beer you will be able to find out a lot about different beers and brewing processes.
Germany Beer Festivals
The largest and most famous beer festival in the world is Oktoberfest, held each year in Germany. The festival lasts more than two weeks and celebrates a special harvest beer called Oktoberfest. Many countries of the world have adopted this special festival and many German people throughout the world celebrate it. Large tents are set up with long tables and chairs. There are live bands performing on the stage throughout the event.
The other popular beer festivals that are held annually in Germany include the Schützenfest in Hanover and Bremen’s Freimarkt. All of these, as well as the major beer festivals in Munich and Stuttgart are seen as family and social gatherings. They are often referred to as festivals of the people or Volksfest in Germany.
Great British Beer Festivals
In the UK, the Great British Beer Festival is held each year in August. Held in London, it is the largest and most famous beer festival in the UK. It is organized by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. The format of British beer festivals is different from that of the German Oktoberfest. Casks of ale from different brewers are set up behind rows of tables. Staff members serve the beer from the casks.
Another beer festival in Britain is held in Derby. Derby is commonly referred to as the Real Ale capital of England and in terms of its reputation for beer quality, appears to be the place to visit or live if you want an ‘all-year-round’ beer festival.
This point is emphasised in the month of July when locals and visitors alike descend on the Midlands Beer Capital for the annual Derby Beer Festival.
The actual festival is held at the Derby Assembly Rooms with beer-lovers eager to sample the scores of real ales, cider, Perry, bottled conditioned and European beers on offer. With well over 100 traditional ales from all over the UK available across its 5-day duration, there really is something for everyone. Each session is accompanied by musical entertainment in the form of folk, rock and tribute acts.
The main hall is where many of the beers are located but the Darwin suite is also open and hosts a changing variety of beer from local and semi-local breweries. In fact the Darwin suite proves very popular due to its slightly more intimate environment.
Food is available inside the festival but over recent years, this has proved expensive and of questionable quality. If you plan to enter the festival, either take your own or eat in one of the many restaurants or beer houses before you go in (or have that obligatory annual kebab on the way home).
The main festival is run by volunteers from the Derby branch of The Campaign for Real Ale, or CAMRA as it is commonly abbreviated. Founded in 1971 as a non-profit consumer association, CAMRA has fought and won many battles to preserve traditional Ale and the traditional pub. It was set up to champion consumers’ rights with recent victories being to expose pubs serving short measures and to break-up the monopolies of large beer conglomerates.
The recent recession and the increase in alcohol duty has seen a radical reduction in profitable pubs across the British Isles with many closing or diversifying their business. This has been a testing time for CAMRA who continue to fight for the rights of Ale lovers and pub landlords alike.
There are many reference points for information on the City of Derby and how to enjoy yourself at the all year round city festival of beer. The historic City of Derby is currently undergoing a renaissance and commands an enviable position at the very heart of the UK. Derby is accessible via road, rail or air and is the nearest City to the Donnington Park Race Circuit. The All Year Round Derby Beer Festival is so called due to the abundance of quality ale houses both in the City centre, suburbs and rural areas. Guided Derbyshire pub walks through the countryside are a treat and there are attractions galore – prepare for a great time.
There is a complementary Derby Winter Beer Festival usually held in February each year which can also be combined with a stop over and a tour of the City.
USA Beer Festivals
The United States hosts an annual event called the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). This three-day event is held at the end of September in Denver, Colorado. Beer connoisseurs can taste more than 1,600 different beers. Breweries are arranged by country with booths offering one-ounce sample cups of their beer. The festival holds the Guinness World Record for the most beers tapped at one location in 2005. Each year the festival grows in size.
Canadian Beer Festivals
The Montreal Beer Festival is a showcase of Quebec Brewers and their finest beers. Hundreds of brewers both large and small display their genius and offer samples of their creations. Entrance to the event is free and the individual samples range anywhere from $1 to $5 depending on which beer and how much you decide to taste! Samples are purchased by way of coupons available from strategically located booths, along with tasting mugs, t-shirts, caps and all sorts of other Montreal Beer Festival related paraphernalia.
Once armed with a book of tasting coupons and a tasting mug (for those decadent beer loving souls!) the fun begins. Back arched, nose to the air, elbows flexed and jostling mode activated; its time to merge into the passing torrent of people and swim your way to the first watering hole. The knowledge that after the first few
samples this exercise will become more like an enjoyable afternoon with friends than a medieval tavern brawl should be enough to keep you motivated and moving with the flow.
Ale, Lager, Blonde, Rousse, Stout, Blanche, Raspberry, Chocolate and all the flavors in between! Beers of all kinds flood the senses. Throughout the chaos of beer stalls, strategically placed food vendors offer tasty snacks and meals to compliment the abundant flow of amber liquid. When you finally need to surface for some air the large outdoor seating area provides the perfect setting. Here you can find some breathing space and if you’re lucky maybe even a table and chair where you can sit and reflect on your favorite brew.
All in all the Montreal Beer Festival is a beer lovers paradise but still offers plenty to those of a festive nature with less of a thirst! Well worth planning an afternoon to visit and enjoy.
Cyprus Beer Festivals
If sunshine and sand coupled with great music and a selection of fine beers sounds like your idea of fun, the Limassol beer festival in Cyprus should definitely be in your diary.
Cyprus has been a popular holiday destination for many years with tourist numbers continuing to grow. It’s easy to see why this Mediterranean island is a firm favourite; an abundance of sandy beaches, stunning scenery and historical sights along with a buzzing nightlife make this the ideal destination for over 2.4 million visitors each year.
Increasing tourist numbers are matched by the ever expanding variety of festivals, carnivals and activities taking place in Cyprus, including Limassol’s beer festival.
Nestled beneath the magnificent Troodos Mountains the south coast town of Limassol has a population of around 225,000, making it the second largest town in Cyprus and one renowned for its festivals. Annual drama, wine and flower festivals mean there is always something on the calendar to suit everyone, but for beer lovers there is something extra special.
Growing massively in popularity since its introduction in 2003, the three day Limassol beer festival takes place on the oceans edge in the Molos area, located in the heart of the traditional town centre. Visitors can enjoy the festival’s wide offering of the best local and imported beers including KEO, Budweiser, Leffe and Hoegaarden plus many more. Affordably priced beer and free entrance to the beer festival means visitors have more Euros to spend on sampling some of the world’s finest brews.
Hunger pangs can be satisfied with offerings ranging from traditional Cypriot food to pizza and Bavarian delicacies.
From pop to rock and latin to trance, the music is as varied as the beer and the line-up always includes both local and international DJ’s and bands.
If visitors want to extend their holiday, Limassol is the ideal spot to explore from. To the west of the town lie the intriguing rock-formations of Petra tou Romiou, claimed to be the birthplace of the mythological figure Aphrodite. Some of Cyprus’s best beaches also lie in close proximity to Limassol and water sports are plentiful: scuba-diving, water-skiing, wind and kite surfing to name a few.
Getting to Cyprus couldn’t be easier as there are a number of airports accessible to visitors from around the globe. Larnaca International Airport is located in the south east corner of the island while Paphos airport is situated east of the resort of Paphos itself. Travel expenses shouldn’t pose an issue, even for those on a shoestring budget, as cheap flights to Cyprus are common place. The same applies to accommodation in Limassol and indeed throughout the whole island. Options range from villas and apartments to luxury hotels.
Czech Republic Beer Festival
If you have never experienced every hotel Prague has to offer filled to the brim with travellers from around the world, here to explore the wonders of beer, then you are truly missing out. Every accommodation Prague has available will be filled with tourists from around the world during the Czech Beer Festival in Prague, which takes place every May for the last half of the month.
The festival is the largest gastronomic event in the Czech Republic, with every hotel Prague has to offer ready and willing to book rooms for the 10,000 visitors that the festival can hold. From waiters dressed in traditional Czech folk costumes to live bands and the best Czech breweries in the country offering up their brews to travellers staying in whatever accommodation Prague still has available, there is no better time to experience Prague than during the beer fest.
In addition to the brews there are also some of the tastiest sausages in the country, and many individuals visiting the city swear that this is where the best range of delicatessens and confectioners together in one place during the year. No matter which hotel Prague has room for you to stay at, the admission to the beer festival is free, and beer is incredibly cheap. It takes place at the PVA Letnany Exhibition Centre, which is a five-minute walk from the metro station. If food, fun and beer are on your itinerary, you absolutely cannot miss this festival.
Scotland’s Trossachs Beer Festival
You may think that malt whisky is Scotland’s finest produce, but a trip to the Trossachs Beer Festival could persuade you to think again. Scotland’s distilleries and selection of single malts are, deservedly, highly regarded around the world, but the country is also home to a number of small breweries producing unique real ales using ingredients such as heather, seaweed and porridge oats.
There are few more luxurious ways for you to sample Scotland’s best brews than by staying in a castle during a late summer trip to the Trossachs and attending the beer festival.
The celebration of Scottish beer takes place at the Lade Inn in Kilmahog – a venue which is famous for brewing its own real ales and serving a menu packed with local produce. Located in the shadow of Ben Ledi, the pub is well worth visiting at any time of year, but that is especially true during late August and early September when the festival is on. In 2010, the event runs from August 27th – September 6th.
As well as the Lade Inn’s own beers, real ale connoisseurs will be able to taste produce from a variety of Central Scotland’s other small breweries, including Tryst, Harviestoun, Williams Brothers and Traditional Scottish Ales.
Drinkers who have booked into local castle accommodation will also be able to meet the brewers behind the unique flavours of Scotland’s real ales at special tasting sessions, as well as being entertained by local folk bands. If you develop a love of any of the brews, you will be able to pick up a few bottles to take home from the Lade Inn’s real ale shop.
You can find out more about specific beer festivals in your area by looking online for the beer or ale organization in your country. They often promote their events by providing a calendar as well as information about travel to the area for the festival.
Visit information about festivals section to explore a full list of festivals happening around the world yearly!