5 of Europe’s Best Beer Festivals (Besides Oktoberfest)
There’s something about a nice cold pint of beer, sipped amongst a buzzing crowd of revelers equally intoxicated by the spirit of an annual festival, that makes for a particularly enjoyable experience. Most of us know about Munich’s famous Oktoberfest. But here are 5 other popular annual beer festivals in Europe to experience.
Beer Festivals In Europe
Bruges Beer Festival (Belgium)
Belgium produces some of the most distinct – and delicious – beers of anywhere in the world. When you combine this with one of Europe’s most charming little cities, you simply can’t go wrong. The Bruges Beer Festival serves up practically every style of Belgian beer imaginable, whether you’re looking for a timid brown ale, or a fierce oak-aged barleywine.
Location: Bruges, Belgium
How to get there by train: Bruges is easy to reach by rail from most Belgian cities, including Brussels, from which there are several trains each day. There are also regular trains from international destinations, including easy connections from the Eurostar.
More information: www.brugsbierfestival.be
Pilsner Fest (Czech Republic)
Pilsner is one of the world’s most popular styles of beer. There’s no better time or place to experience than in its birthplace during the popular Pilsner Fest. The town of Pilsen (Plzeň) plays host to this festival each year, and visitors can have the privilege of sampling the famous brew directly from the barrel at the Pilsner Urquell factory.
Location: Pilsen, Czech Republic
How to get there by train: Pilsen is easy to reach by rail from several Czech Republic cities, including Prague, České Budějovice, Klatovy, and Domažlice. There are also four daily trains from Munich.
More information: www.pilsen.eu
Barcelona Beer Festival (Spain)
Barcelona is about small, ice cold lunchtime cervezas accompanied by delicious tapas. But for those interested in more than a thimbleful of the golden nectar, the city is making a move on the beerfest scene. The festival takes place in the historical Royal Shipyards building, and there are more than 300 local and international beers for you to sample.
Location: Barcelona, Spain
How to get there by train: There are several direct trains to Barcelona from the capital Madrid. It is also easy to reach the city by rail from France, including a daily overnight train from Paris.
More information: www.barcelonabeerfestival.com
Berlin International Beer Festival (Germany)
Berlin’s residents know how to party and drink beer. For the last 21 years, that’s exactly what they’ve been doing at the popular Berlin International Beer Festival. The festival takes place in the heart of the city, on Karl-Marx-Allee, and showcases some 320 brewers from more than 80 countries. It’s the ultimate street beer festival. Many visitors rate it just as highly as the more popular German festival further south.
Location: Berlin, Germany
How to get there by train: Berlin is a busy rail hub easily accessible by train. There are several high-speed trains to and from the German capital, including daily night trains from Zurich, Vienna, Amsterdam and Budapest.
More information: www.bierfestival-berlin.de
Belgian Beer Weekend (Belgium)
If you’re looking to get another full fix of Belgian beers, then make your way to the annual Belgian Beer Weekend in Brussels. This massive celebration of beer will expose you to the best beers from around the country, from the small to large brewers, in one of the city’s most extraordinary venues – the Grand Place. Better yet – entrance is free, and you pay only for your beers.
Location: Brussels, Belgium
How to get there by train: There are three main stations in Brussels serviced by several high-speed lines throughout the country and continent. This includes direct trains from France, Germany, England and the Netherlands.
More information: www.belgianbrewers.be
Although Oktoberfest is one of the most famous annual beer festivals in Europe, these popular, albeit smaller, festivals are equally enjoyable. Where Oktoberfest focuses on culture, tradition, and large quantities of the popular beverage, many other festivals focus on diversity, range, and quality. They’ll leave you more educated about some of the many beers you’ll encounter on your rail journey across Europe.