Top 5 Craft Beer Festivals in The US

Regardless of whether homebrewing is a casual or a serious hobby, going to craft beer festivals can be a fantastic way to try out new styles of beer and find out where the strengths (and weaknesses) of your own craft beer lie. There are a large number of different craft beer festivals to choose from and these tend to be location specific. However, it is sometimes worth taking a trip just to attend a festival, as the atmosphere and experience is amazing and not to be missed.

The large number of different beer festivals can make it a little challenging to work out the best festivals to attend, but this list of top five festivals in the United States may get you started.

As with any top five list, this list is influenced by personal perspectives, but feel free to leave me a comment if you think I have missed an important festival or included one that you don’t find particularly good.

In no particular order:

 

1. Great American Beer Festival (GABF)

Located in Denver, Colorado, this beer festival deserves its place in the list due to its size alone and can be a fantastic chance to try out new styles of beer. The three-day festival generally offers more than 2,000 different beers that can be sampled from a range of different brewers. With upwards of 40,000 participants most years, this festival can be a little intense but it offers a wonderful experience and a chance to taste some of the best beers in the United States.

I hear a lot about this one on The Brewing Network. I couldn’t find the GABF style guidelines, which seem to be a hot topic, but there’s an awesome little tool called the Style Finder at CraftBeer.com

 

2. Savor

This New York beer festival takes the unusual approach of emphasizing both beer and food, providing exceptional pairings of food and beer, often making use of combinations that are not obvious. This festival is a fantastic chance for homebrewers to understand more about pairing beer and food, and the flavor profiles of different styles of beer. One of the most significant aspects of the festival is the tasting salons, which are sessions that give attendees the chance to hear brewers talk about important topics associated with brewing beer and specific styles.

 

3. Great Taste of the Midwest

This festival is hosted in Madison, Wisconsin and focuses solely on craft beers from the Midwest. The emphasis on Midwestern beers means that there is the chance to experience beers that are not as well-known regionally, as well as beer styles that are unique to the region. Festival attendance is intentionally kept low, providing a chance for greater levels of interaction with brewers and other attendees. However, with only 6,000 tickets available each year, it can be challenging to actually get a ticket to the festival.

 

4. Oregon Brewers Festival

Hosted in Portland, Oregon, this festival is one of the largest and longest running beer festivals in the United States, and occurs over a five-day period in July. The total event attracts around 80,000 individuals each year and does not cost to enter, which can be beneficial. The festival is varied, including live music, vendors and demonstrations of homebrewing. One of the significant features of this festival is the pay-as-you-drink approach, with beer generally costing somewhere between $1 and $4. However, for many people this works out less expensive than other festivals due to the lack of an entry fee.

 

5. American Craft Beer Festival

This Boston-based festival is a two-day event hosted by the BeerAdvocate magazine. More than 600 beers are served in this festival, with around 130 different breweries represented. One of the cool things about this event is that there are some beers that are brewed specifically for the event, meaning that they cannot be obtained at any other time.

This one is coming up pretty soon (May 30th)!


 

There are tons of other beer festivals around the US and the world. You can catch up on what’s happening each month (US) on Beer Advocate.

What’s your favorite beer fest?

Not from the US? What are some craft beer events going on where you’re from?

 

photo credit: Luis Toro

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About Nate

I created this website almost two years ago when I first started homebrewing. Like my brewing, it's been through many changes over the years.

I'm a full time online marketer and brewing beer is my hobby. You'll find a mix of all topics related to craft beer and homebrewing at xBREWx!

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