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The world’s top 10 beer festivals

Beer festivals take place all over the world, giving people the chance to taste and purchase a wide range of brews.

Oktoberfest (Image © Antonia Glezakos)The world’s largest beer festival – Munich’s Oktoberfest – runs for 16 days from late September to the first weekend in October. The event is famous around the world and attracts around six million visitors every year.

Beer festivals also take place in many other countries around the world, from the UK to New Zealand and from Canada to China. Although these events will have different local traditions and styles, the main focus is to help people celebrate the wonderful world of beer.

Take a look at our pick of 10 beer festivals from around the world.

The Great British Beer Festival

The Great British beer festival at London's Olympia (Image © GBBT.com)

Nearly 50,000 people attended this festival in 2012 at the London Olympia. Organised by the Campaign for Real Ale, the Great British Beer Festival features over 800 cask and bottled real ales, ciders and foreign beers from around the world.

The Great American Beer Festival

Great American beer festival

The 2012 Great American Beer Festival took place in Denver and featured over 2,700 beers. More than 36,500 gallons of beer were poured to the 49,000 visitors and the 2013 festival, which will again be in Denver, promises to be another huge affair. It will be taking place from 10-12 October if you are interested.

The New Zealand Beer Festival

NZ beer festival

This relatively new beer festival started in 2006, but has grown each year and in 2012 featured more than 70 beers from 24 breweries. In the main these are Kiwi brewers, although some international brewers do feature as well. The 2013 festival takes place at the end of March and tickets are already on sale.

The Belgian Beer Weekend

The Belgian beer weekend

Of course Belgium beer has a festival to celebrate its brews. Over the course of the first weekend in September the Market Place in Brussels turns itself over to beer. The festival features more than 350 Belgian beers from Pilsners to Trappist brews and promises to be a “celebration of Belgian beers”.

Great World Beer Festival

The World Beer Festival

This American beer festival has been running since 2002. Originally called Brewtopia, this is held in New York and is the city’s biggest and longest-running beer festival. The two-day festival welcomes on average 15,000 visitors and is held over the last weekend in October.

Mondial de la Bière

Montreal's Mondial de la biere

Montreal’s Mondial de la Bière is held from 29 May to 2 June in 2013 and is Canada’s largest beer festival. The 2012 festival featured 637 beers from around 200 breweries, and around 300 of these beers were new for the festival.

Pilsner Fest

Pilsner Fest

This is up there with Belgium as being one of the most inevitable beer festivals that should occur. This festival has been taking place for nearly 200 hundred years and the residents of Plzen enjoy celebrating their beer. As well as celebrating the beer this two-day festival also features music, with 25 bands playing at the 2012 festival.

National Winter Ales Festival

The National Winter Ales Festival (Image © Stuart Revell)

This is another British beer festival that is organised by Camra, and the 2013 festival will be taking place from 23 to 26 January in Manchester. The festival will showcase over 300 beers, real ales in a bottle, ciders and perries and Camra says, “we lay down the challenge that we will be able to find something which suits your tastes.”

Qingdao International Beer Festival

Qingdao beer festival

Asia’s biggest beer festival takes place in Qingdao in Shandong province, China at what is now called the Qingdao International Beer City. The festival has been running for 16 years and games, drinking contests and music as well as the usual beer tasting options for visitors.

Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest (Image © Antonia Glezakos)

No list of beer festivals would be complete without a mention of this huge event which takes place in Munich from late September through to the first weekend in October. With around 6 million visitors this is the world’s largest beer festival and it has been running since 1810. Unlike many other beer festivals Oktoberfest does not showcase beers from around the world as only beer brewed within Munich’s city limits is allowed at the festival.

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