Beer Event Bucket List

Six weird, wild, and wonderful beer events that any true beer lover should experience, even if just once.

Jamie Bogner , John Holl Aug 29, 2019 - 5 min read

Beer Event Bucket List Primary Image

Photos, clockwise from top left: Courtesy Great British Beer Festival; Courtesy Michigan Brewers Guild; Courtesy Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen; Courtesy NERAx; Courtesy Philly Beer Week; Courtesy

Toer de Gueuze


Belgium’s lambic brewers pull out all the stops for HORAL’s yearly celebration of spontaneous fermentation. Grab one of the charter bus tickets to avoid driving and make the rounds of Lindemann’s, Boon, Oud Beersel, Tilquin, and the like. Or stray off the tour for special offerings at 3 Fonteinen and Cantillon. Just make sure to take an extra suitcase for the special bottle releases. —JB

Great British Beer Festival

London, England

Run by the Campaign for Real Ale for more than 4 decades now, this gathering of real ale, ciders, and international beers was the inspiration for the similar festival held on this side of the pond. This festival is a mix of the country’s beer history and present state and is a welcome reminder of the importance of the impact the United Kingdom has had on global brewing. —JH


Philly Beer Week

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

It starts with the Hammer of Glory relay, where it seems that the whole city gets involved in a giant bar crawl. From there, it’s a week of dinners, special beer releases, visits from out-of-town brewers, and more tap takeovers than seem reasonable. It’s also an all-encompassing sense of camaraderie and a great reminder of how strong our bond with beer can be. —JH


South Boston, Massachusetts

The longest running cask-ale festival in the country is a chance to try real ale from brewers large and small. Roughly 50 percent of the tapped firkins are from the United Kingdom, meaning you get good samples from breweries that have honed the craft for decades. There’s beauty in the subtlety, and a visit to this gathering will demonstrate why the style has such a passionate following. *—JH *


Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen

Copenhagen, Denmark

Mikkeller does hype better than any event producer anywhere in the world, and this four-session festival is a pinnacle of what’s cool now, featuring an ever-rotating lineup of the freshest brewers from around the world. But it’s the surrounding events that make it worth the trip—the beer world descends on Copenhagen and goes hard. —JB

Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Festival

Grand Rapids, Michigan

If you’re going to drink like a local (only state-made beers are served), you might as well do it in the climate they call home. Held in the dead of winter and outside, this festival is not for the faint of heart. Hearty stouts and high ABV beers are the way to go while you stand around one of the many bonfires. *—JH *


Sidebar: Brewery-Run Beer Festivals Worth The Trip

Other Half Pastry Town

Brooklyn, New York | An unapologetic and delicious romp through over-the-top flavored beers.

Modern Times Festival of Dankness

San Diego, California | Gathers some of the country’s best hoppy beer makers together in SoCal.

Fort George Brewery Festival of Dark Arts

Astoria, Oregon | A February festival dedicated only to stouts. What’s not to love?

Schell’s Brewery Bock Fest

New Ulm, Minnesota | The temperature is usually well below freezing, so don’t pass up the chance to have a hot poker plunged into your mug.


J. Wakefield Wakefest

Miami, Florida | An early (February) spring break to South Florida for killer beer from some of the best.

Cigar City Hunahpu’s Day

Tampa, Florida | Renowned for an impeccable beer lineup and grown adults running across a field for it.

Voodoo Brewery Good Vibes Beer Fest

Meadville, Pennsylvania | An intimate, low-key fest with incredible breweries, beers, and good vibes.

Perennial Artisan Ales Midwest Belgian Beer Fest

St. Louis, Missouri | A focused kick-off to St. Louis Craft Beer Week with top brewers from around the country.


Mikerphone Smells Like a Beer Fest

Elk Grove Village, Illinois | New school collaborative kings tap a fresh lineup of great breweries every year.

WeldWerks Invitational

Greeley, Colorado | In its second year, already one of the best festivals in a state known for legendary ones.

Cambridge Brewing Co. Barleywine Festival

Cambridge, Massachusetts | Experience the boozy array of flavors and depth that this beloved style has to offer.

Anchorage Brewing The Culmination

Anchorage, Alaska | If you ever needed a beer-centric reason to visit Alaska, this is as good as it gets.

Jamie Bogner is the Cofounder and Editorial Director of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Email him at [email protected].