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6 of the Best Beer Festivals on Earth

©istockphoto/nullplus

©istockphoto/nullplus

Most people will agree: beer is a beverage worth celebrating. And celebrate it we do, at beer festivals taking place around the globe.

From chugging in China to guzzling in Germany, we’ve gathered a list of some of the best beer festivals on Earth—no easy feat, with the number of festivals that take place every year. Take a look at our list—can you conquer them all?

Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany
You can’t mention beer festivals without calling attention to the mother of all festivals, Oktoberfest. Technically, Oktoberfest is classified as a folk festival and not a beer festival—but anyone attending can tell you that beer is a central theme.

For 16 glorious days, Munich swells with international visitors donning their finest Sennerhut, Lederhosen, and Dirndl. Beer fans hop from tent to tent to sample the offerings from breweries in the region. Pace yourself: 16 days is a long time, but you’ll want to be there for as much of it as possible.

The Great British Beer Festival, London, UK
The United Kingdom has more than a few festivals celebrating beer, but The Great British Beer Festival is the largest of them all. In 2006, more than 350,000 pints of cask ale were savored over the festival’s five days, working out to two pints sold per second during the festival’s hours of operation.

The sheer variety will have your head spinning (or is that just beer talking…): 450 British breweries and 200 foreign beers are featured, requiring beer-lovers to carefully plot out their festival experience to try to sample as many as possible.

The Qingdao International Beer Festival, Qingdao, China
Let’s move away from the European festivals for a bit. The Qingdao International Beer Festival is the largest beer festival in Asia, and fittingly, takes place in the beer capital of China: Qingdao.

A port city once favored by the Germans (there’s your beer link), Qingdao has a decidedly European feel with Bavarian touches throughout. It is also home to the Tsingtao brewery.

If you’re ready to experience a different kind of beer festival—one where you’re more likely to munch on skewered octopus than pretzels—make a point of checking out China’s best beer festival.

The Great American Beer Festival, Denver, Colorado
A little closer to home is the Great American Beer Festival, hosted in Denver. By comparison to some of the other festivals, the GABF is relatively short—but don’t let the three-day schedule fool you, because there’s plenty of fine beer to explore.

More than 2,300 different American beers are up for sample, meaning you’d have to try 767 beers per day to get to them all. In between sampling, check out tantalizing workshops like “Hot Dogs and Ales to the Next Level” and “Beer and Chocolate: A Not-So-Secret Love Affair”.

We can’t forget to mention the Beer Competition: a panel of judges will determine winners in over 84 categories of beer criteria. The real question is, how can we get that job!?

Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest, Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada
If you can’t make it to Germany for the real deal, head to Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, to experience the second largest Oktoberfest on Earth.

Both Kitchener and Waterloo have strong German ties, which are never more evident than during Oktoberfest. The festival celebrates more than just beer: it also features a fashion show, a 5 km fun run, the Miss Oktoberfest pageant, and a Thanksgiving Day parade.

Kerstbierfestival, Essen, Belgium
If you think that that first sip of beer is better than Christmas, then you’ll have to check out Kersbierfestival: a festival that celebrates both beer and Christmas.

Belgium is a country that takes its beer seriously, and you won’t doubt their devotion at this event, dedicated solely to more than 100 varieties of Belgian winter and holiday beers. The festive atmosphere is perfectly conducive to having a jolly old time. Just don’t leave without trying the gluehriek, a warm spiced beer. It just wouldn’t be Christmas with out it.

 

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