Beer festivals abound in Germany as the weather warms and celebrations head outdoors.

Beer festivals abound in Germany as the weather warms and celebrations head outdoors. (iStock)

Beer brewers throughout Europe have been striving for excellence for centuries, and their quest is far from over. Some stick with that which is tried and true; others explore new methods and ingredients to come up with fresh tastes and enhanced attributes to their products. As the new festival season moves outdoors, breweries, brewers’ associations and other actors offer a heady choice of events at which to sample the beauty of the blend of grain and hops, yeast and water in endless iterations.


Liège: The artisanal breweries of Liège are set to host the ninth edition of the Summer Beer Lovers' Festival over the long Pentecost weekend. From May 25-28, the Dalle St-Lambert is the place to sample super beers alongside tasty street foods. DJ music, acts and activities promise a lively and fun atmosphere. Entry to the festival is free, but beers can only be consumed from the official festival glass available at a cost of 3 euros and must be paid for in tokens that go for 2.50 euros each. Online:

Brugges: Some 80 brewers and beer-related companies will be offering around 500 different beers during the BrugsBierFestival, set to unfold June 10-11 at the Meeting and Congress Center on the Beursplein. A starter packet consisting of sampling glass, guide and six tokens goes for 25 euros. Online:

Antwerp: More than 200 types of beers await sampling on the city’s Groenplaats as the Bierpassie Weekend unfolds. From June 23-25, visitors can explore the wares of some 20 Belgian brewers large and small. Entry is free; the festival glass from which all sampling takes place goes for 3 euros. Online:


Cambridge: CAMRA, the acronym for Campaign for Real Ale, is a consumer organization promoting real ales, cider and perry as well as the preservation of traditional British pub culture. CAMRA is also the organizing force behind some 180 beer festivals held across the UK. Soon on the docket is the CAMRA Cambridge Beer Festival, set to unfold May 22-27 on Jesus Green. Dogs and kids are welcome at this spacious park alongside the River Cam, where folks can plop down on the grass with picnic supplies they’ve brought from home or indulge in the numerous tasty options offered on site. The beer available ranges from that made by local breweries to international brands and styles. Entry to the site is free from noon-3 p.m. and costs 6 UK pounds (about $7.50) from 5 p.m.-10:30 p.m. May 22-26. On May 27, the festival runs from noon-10:30 p.m. and entry costs 4 UK pounds. Online:

Other upcoming CAMRA events include the Newark Beer and Cider Festival May 26-28; the Colchester Real Ale and Cider Festival May 31-June 3; Ipswich Beer and Cider Festival July 27-30, the Great British Beer Festival in London Aug. 1-5 and the East Anglian Beer and Cider Festival in Bury St. Edmunds Aug. 23-28.


Bayreuth: As the event’s name implies, there’s one type of beer that takes center stage at the Maisel’s Weissbierfest, set to rock Bayreuth over four days. The spacious grounds of Maisels brewery can easily accommodate the tens of thousands of visitors expected to turn up to indulge in wheat beer, street foods and live music on stage through May 14. Sunday’s program includes a fun run and a special play zone for the festival's youngest visitors. Entry is free. Online:

Ulm: The city on the Danube supports smaller, local breweries with its annual Kleinbrauer Markt. Those keen on sampling the wares of 10 different brewers, including makers of craft beers, can do so in the scenic surroundings of the Münsterplatz between 1 p.m.-10 p.m. May 12 and 13. About 40 different beers will be on offer, alongside festival fare including bratwurst, burgers and regional specialties. On Saturday, a DJ provides the soundtrack to the proceedings. The purchase of a festival glass is a prerequisite to tasting. Online:

Rastatt: The Bierboerse is the name of a traveling international beer festival that takes place over the warm summer months, calling in at some 16 German cities over the course of its seasonal run. Bierboerse visitors can always look forward to an eclectic mix of German and international beers served alongside street foods and accompanied by live music or DJ tracks. In addition to its stop in Rastatt May 12-15, Bierboerse events are scheduled for Pforzheim May 18-21; Solingen May 18-21; Leipzig May 26-29; Koblenz June 2-4; Borken June 30-July 2; Mainz July 7-9; Cologne July 14-16; Bonn June 21-23; Duesseldorf-Benrath July 28-30; Muehlheim Aug. 4-6; Karlsruhe Aug. 25-27; Andernach Sept. 1-3 and Essen Sept. 8-10. Online:

Nuremberg: The Franconian Beer Festival has a setting that’s hard to beat -- within the now-dry moat surrounding the city’s imperial castle. From June 7-11, visitors can sample brews from this region known for its centuries-old brewing traditions. Some 40 local breweries will be joined by this year’s guest of honor, Batzen Bräu of Bozen/Bolzano, Italy. Hearty fare served hot off the grill and live music played on five stages are additional draws. Entry is free. Online:

Regensburg: One of Germany’s largest craft beer festivals takes place in the heart of Regensburg’s stunning, UNESCO-listed Old Town. From June 23-25, more than 30 exhibitors from Austria and Germany will descend upon the Neupfarrplatz to dole out pours of their finest creations. Live music played by an assortment of bands will add a party vibe to the ambience. Entry is free. Online:

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