Toss back a cold one in good company at coming events in Belgium, England and Germany.

Toss back a cold one in good company at coming events in Belgium, England and Germany. (iStock)

With the warm summer weather comes thirst, and where there’s thirst, a cold beer will do nicely, thank you. Here are just a few upcoming festivals and brew-related events at which to wet your whistle:


Liège: the artisanal breweries of the Wallonia region share the spotlight with local wines, soft drinks and quality street food for four days over the long Pentecost weekend during the city’s tenth edition of its Summer Beer Lover’s Festival. Some 20 craft breweries big and small will proudly pour their wares as live musical acts and DJ sets provide the appropriately relaxing backdrop. As is typical to many fests showcasing quality brews, the purchase of a special tasting glass is mandatory, and drinks are dispensed based on a system of tokens. Both glass and tokens are available on-site. The festival unfolds across the wide urban space of the Esplanade des Guillemins May 16-19. Entry is free. Online:

Mons: Mark calendars now for Mons’ traditional beer festival, la Fête de la Bière, taking place on the city’s football field June 29-30. Details remain thin on the ground, but will likely follow the pattern of the events of the past 20 editions, with over 80 kinds of beer being served to the sound of live music and DJ sets. The convivial rendez-vous gets underway in the late afternoon, and admission is free. Stay up to date at


Cambridge: CAMRA, or the Campaign for Real Ale, is a consumer organization that tasks itself with protecting the rights and traditions of beer drinkers and pub-goers across the United Kingdom. Founded back in 1971, CAMRA is also the driving force behind numerous festivals and tastings showcasing the ingenuity and diversity of the UK’s brewers and cider makers. One of CAMRA’s best-known events is its annual beer festival held on Jesus Green in Cambridge.

The event’s website notes that the 2024 edition, set for May 20-25, will mark the event’s 50th anniversary. Festival devotees appreciate the availability of more than 180 real ales, some 80 ciders and perries, alongside imported beer, mead, fine wines and cheese. Entry to the spacious outdoor venue is free in the afternoon hours, with a modest admission fee charged during the evenings. Children are welcome at the festival; there’s even a special area with outdoor play equipment for them. Online:

Other CAMRA-supported beer festivals scheduled for the summer of 2024 include those in Lincoln (May 23-25); Newark (May 24-26); Rutland (June 21-23) and Leicester (July 4-6).


Frankfurt: The CRAFT festival unites brewers of the region with other artisanal producers from winemakers to distillers, from the latest upstarts to producers around for decades already. Quality drinks are served alongside appealing and upscale street foods. The sipping and sampling takes place in the Casino-Gebäude, Campus Westend of the Goethe-Universität from 6 p.m.-midnight April 26 and from 2 p.m.-midnight April 27. Entry costs 12 euros per day when tickets are bought on the event website. The obligatory .1 liter tasting glass costs an additional 5 euros, 4 euros of which visitors can get back when the glass is returned. Children accompanied by parents are allowed on site. Online:

Speyer: The Bier Lust Festival is a modest-sized tasting festival at which the beers of some 17 breweries, many from the Palatinate area, are available for sampling. The festival takes place from 4 p.m.-10 p.m. April 26 and from 2 p.m.-10 p.m. April 27. Entry to the festival, set in the Industriehof on Franz Kirrmeierstrasse 19, costs 7.50 euros. The cost of entry includes a special tasting glass but does not include the sampling of any beers, and brewers set their own prices. Online:

Bayreuth: The city forever associated with Richard Wagner has a no-less noble claim to fame in being the home city of Maisel, a family-owned brewery specializing in Bavarian, Franconian and contemporary specialty beers, particularly wheat beers. As per tradition, Maisel’s Weissbierfest is set to deliver its winning combination of tasty beers served in a relaxed setting alongside live music and culinary specialties. Athletic types can lace up their shoes and take part in races ranging from a 5 km fun run to a half-marathon on festival Sunday. Races for kids are also part of the program. Other highlights of this festival running May 2-5 include music from live bands and DJs of the 90’s on Friday night and a pop night on Saturday. Samba bands will keep the runners company on the Sunday, and little visitors can explore the wonders along an activity trail laid out especially for them. Entry is free. Online:

Countrywide: Throughout the warm months of the year, close to 20 German cities host a continuously moving beer festival known as the Bierboerse, or Beer Exchange. For the few days the fest comes to town, patrons come out to sample bottled beers and beers on tap ranging from those made under their very noses to ones to far-away lands. Live music on stage generally comes as part of the package of entertainment. Pforzheim’s Bierboerse runs May 9-12; other cities hosting the event include Leipzig (May 17-20); Mainz (May 24-26); Mönchengladbach (May 30-June 2); Koblenz (June 7-9); Germersheim (June 14-16); Rastatt June (21-23); Düsseldorf-Benrath (July 12-14); Andernach (July 19-21); Bonn (July 26-28); Karlsruhe (Aug. 23-25) and Cologne (Aug. 30-Sept. 1). Online:

Nuremberg: When it comes to settings, it would be hard to beat that of the Franconian Beer Fest, spread out along what once was a moat surrounding the Kaiserburg Castle. The festival which bills itself as Europe’s longest beer garden celebrates its 25th edition with a program including live music across four stages and culinary offerings from spicy Tex-Mex to Alpine-inspired vegetarian dishes. Activities such as a puppet theater, an inflatable jumping castle and face-painting promise a fun day out for younger visitors too. The 36 regional breweries on hand are joined by four guest breweries and an additional one set up to demonstrate the art of brewing. The festival runs May 29-June 2, and entry is free. Online:

Ulm: The annual Kleinbrauer Markt, or Small Brewers Market, pushes its former May date forward and will now take place June 13-16. Here the focus is on microbreweries of the region, and its organizers strive to get newcomers on board for each edition. In a typical year, ten or so breweries are on hand to show off their efforts, including brews made according to the so-called purity laws dating back hundreds of years alongside upstart craft brewers. The “ProBier Pass” permits its owner to take part in a lottery following a sampling tour of six .1 liter pours. Food stalls keep hunger at bay as bands pump out the appropriate thirst-inducing soundtrack. Online:

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