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9 interesting beer festivals taking place around the world in 2020


(Photo: BrewLDN)

When: Thursday 27 February to Saturday 29 February

Where: Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL

New for this year, BrewLDN is organised by the team behind Craft Beer Rising, and will feature 150 of the UK’s trendiest brewers, street food, music and more.

The three day event will incorporate two trade sessions and four consumer sessions, each hosting up to 200 exhibitor stands. So far, brewers who have already signed up to exhibit include low alcohol specialist Big Drop, Brixton Brewery, London Fields Brewery, Aberdeen’s Fierce Beer, Tiny Rebel in Wales, SALT from Saltaire, Harbour Brewing Cornwall, Brew York and the Padstow Brewing Co.

BrewLDN’s USP is all about innovation, whether that means cutting edge styles, working on sustainability, promoting diversity in the brewery sector, or artisanal food offerings, or all of the above. Co-founder Chris Bayliss’ turnout predictions are ambitious, with 8,000 consumers and 4,000 members of the trade expected to rock up later this month.

Click here for more info.

Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular

(Photo: GABS)

When: 9 May, 22-24 May, 30 May, and 4 July

Where: Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland

Spanning three months and four cities, GABS is big. GABS Beer, Cider & Food Fest is held annually in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland, and has attracted tens of thousands of beer fans since it first launched in 2011.

Each festival showcased around 150 breweries both based in Australia and further afield. Brewers such as New South Wales’ Stockade Brew Co, Victoria-based BrewCult, and New Zealand darlings Yeastie Boys have all taken part and won awards for their beers in past years.

Click here for more info.

Qingdao International Beer Festival

When: 4 August to 27 August

Where: Huangdao, Laoshan, Licang Expo Park, Pingdu, Jimo, and Jiaozhou

Like GABS, the Qingdao International Beer Festival has multiple locations, but this time, they are all based within the boundaries of Qingdao in Shandong province. First held in 1991 to celebrate the town’s hundredth anniversary, the festival is jointly organised by national state ministries and the Qingdao Municipal Government, and has matured over the years into Asia’s largest annual beer festival, and Asia’s answer to Oktoberfest.

The festival kicks off in July with a grand opening ceremony and concert, and will showcase beers made by global giants and smaller producers alike, with Beck’s from Germany, Kirin & Asahi from Japan, Carlsberg from Denmark, Corona from Mexico, Heineken from Holland, Tiger from Singapore, Budweiser from the US, and China’s Tsingtao Beer all representing in 2020.

Great British Beer Festival

When: Tuesday 4 August to Saturday 8 August

Where: Hammersmith Rd, Hammersmith, London W14 8UX

Some brewers claim the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) doesn’t fully reflect today’s industry, but GBBF is still the biggest festival in the UK beer calendar, with around 1,000 beers produced across the country and further afield on-pour for five days. It attracts upwards of 50,000 trade and consumer visitors to Kensington Olympia annually, and has been running since 1977, making it something of a rite of passage for many brewers. It’s also been known to attract a handful of celebrities throughout the years, with Prince Harry (if we can still call him that) making an appearance in 2014.

As well as beer samples, you can also expect to indulge in typical beer fest fare (bratwurst, burgers, the works), and even try your hand at old-school pub games like backgammon. The author of this article won a retro CAMRA t-shirt when she tried her hand at a round of skittles at GBBF back in 2012.

Click here for more info.

London Craft Beer Festival

When: Friday 7 August to Sunday 9 August

Where: Tobacco Quay, Wapping Ln, London E1W 2SF

And on the other side of the city, hundreds of brewers will descend on Tobacco Quay for yet another instalment of the London Craft Beer Festival. Similar in ethos to BrewLDN, this show is a celebration of the hipper and slightly hoppier side of the beer scene.

Last year, upwards of 80 breweries and cideries took part, and this year there are more than 90 coming to east London for the weekend, but this is, according to the organisers, “much more than a beer festival.” Music and high-end street food will also play a big role. Previous festivals saw the likes of Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip), Olugbenga (Metronomy) and Two Door Cinema Club headlining, with sustenance provided by such restaurants as Brigadiers, The Palomar and Bun House.

For more info, click here.

Belgian Beer Weekend

When: 4-6 September

Where: Grand-Palce, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

Did you know there are more than 470 different types of beer brewed in Belgium? If you’re reading this, probably.

Anyway, for fans of rich Trappist brews humming with spice and treacle, this festival should satisfy your cravings. 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”.

Click here for more info

The Great American Beer Festival

When: Thursday 24 September to Saturday 26 September

Where: The Colorado Convention Center, Denver, Colorado, United States

Founded in 1982, the Great American Beer Festival is the largest collection of U.S. beer served in a public tasting event, with some 4,800+ beers from more than 800 breweries across the nation on pour for three days in Colorado.

It’s housed in a colossal event space, large enough to cover eight football pitches, according to accredited beer sommelier Lotte Peplow, who attended for us in 2018. Organised by the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade body representing small and independent American craft brewers, the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is not just a gargantuan beast of a fest, it is the place to find brewers making their mark in the US and rising stars who could make it big on the global market.

Click here for more info

Pilsner Fest 2020

When: 2-3 October

Where: U Prazdroje, 7, 301 00 Pilsen Plzeň-City District, Czech Republic

This is up there with Belgium as being one of the most inevitable beer festivals that should occur. To commemorate the first brewing of its pils-type beer, Pilsner Urquell’s Pilsner Fest beer celebration has taken place for several years now on the first weekend of October.

This festival has been taking place for nearly 200 hundred years as the residents of Plzen enjoy celebrating their historic brew. The two-day festival also features music, fancy street food, and the chance to taste unfiltered Pilsner Urquell beers straight from the oak barrel.

Click here for more info.

Kithener-Waterloo Oktoberfest 2020


(Photo: Kitchener-Waterloo Octoberfest/Youtube)

When: 9-17 October

Where: Kitchener–Waterloo, Ontario

Fun fact: Canada is home to the largest beer festival in North America, and the second biggest in the world. Kitchener–Waterloo Oktoberfest is an annual nine-day festival held in the twin cities of Kitchener–Waterloo, and is the largest celebration of Bavarian beer outside of Munich.

The festival, which has been running for decades, attracts a whopping 700,000 beer fans each year. Both cities are home to one of the largest populations of German descendants on the continent. Kitchener was even originally known as Berlin until the first World War, which goes some way to explaining the city’s deep affinity with the nation’s brewing culture. Expect an Oktoberfest beauty pagent, folk dancing, lederhosen, and a lot of beer.

For more info, click here.

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