If you need a break this summer and want to hit the road – why not center the next family vacation around a beer fest? June through October is the busiest time of the year for beer fests around the world and the perfect time (and place) to whet your whistle and flex your beer muscles. Here are just some of the options available to you (for more festival listings, check out beerfestivals.org or the calender at beeradvocate.com):

Mondial de la Bière (May 28 to June 1)
The best part of this Montreal beer fest — besides the unique, hard-to-find Canadian beers, ciders & meads, that is — is that it takes place over five days with free admission, so you’ll have plenty of time to try the more than 350 beers (and all the cheese).

Oregon Brewers Festival (July 24 to 27)
The O.B.F. is held in the other Portland, which is home to 30-something breweries and brewpubs, more than in any other U.S. city. This three day festival takes place on the fields along the Willamette River.

Belgium Comes to Cooperstown (August 1 to 3)
is a small event, with only 800 tickets available. But the experience is one-of-a-kind: more than 150 Belgian and Belgian-style beers, including those of the host, Brewery Ommegang. Add a bit of music, camping and drinking under the stars and you’ve got what is often called the “Woodstock of brewing”.

Great Taste of the Midwest (August 9)
One of the most sought-after tickets in town, this one day beer fest — The “Great Taste” — is held in Madison, Wisconsin, with 600 beers from 100 brewers — and only 5,000 tickets. The homebrewers who sponsor the festival will release 3,000 tickets locally on May 4; there will be a mail-order lottery for the other 2,000.

World Beer Festival (October 4)
At World Beer, All About Beer Magazine gathers together craft brewers from around the country and importers from around the world. And for one day only (the first Saturday in October) they all arrive at the historic ballpark in Durham, North Carolina, where Bull Durham was filmed and sample the best in specialty aged beers, cask-conditioned beers, and rare and expensive beers the world has to offer.

Great American Beer Festival (October 9 to 11)
Last but not least, The G.A.B.F., which takes place in Denver, boasts more breweries and beers than any other fest in the world. Last year, 408 breweries, from Anheuser-Busch to the smallest brewpubs, poured 1,884 different beers for 46,000 attendees during the course of three days.

Of course for all you Mainahs, there are plenty of local celebrations – from the Maine Grains & Grapes Festival in June, to the Maine Brewers’ Fest in November. So get you drinkin’ caps on; I’ll see you on the road!

Anything else that should be added to the list? Mention it in the comments!

Source: “Best of the Fest: A six-pack of the beer festivals most worth traveling to” [msnbc]

[tags]beer, beer festivals, great american beer festival[/tags]


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