A celebration of the American love of beer - and good cheer - a beer festival is a great place to get a slice of real life. While celebrating the country’s best breweries, many of these fun events combine beer with other fun themes, from cycling and chili to bluegrass music and barbecues. Here’s our pick of some of the USA’s best beer festivals.
Fredericksburg’s Oktoberfest, Texas
You can celebrate Fredericksburg’s German heritage with food and drink, dance contests, music on four stages at this weekend-long beer festival in Texas. There’s OkTUBAfest on Friday; Kraut Run, Hauptstrasse Chicken Dance, Histriker Competitions, Samuel Adams Beer Stein Hoist on Saturday; Beer & Hymns, 42 domino tournament and Lederhosen Contest on Sunday. Takes place 4-6 October.
Great American Beer Festival, Colorado
Beer lovers can choose from over 3,500 different beers from more than 800 of the USA’s best breweries at this annual beer festival in Denver. It kicks off with Denver Beer Fest, a nine-day celebration leading up to the main event. As the country’s premier beer festival and competition, the Great American Beer Festival represents the largest collection of US beer ever served at a public tasting event.
Beer, Bourbon and BBQ, Richmond, Virginia
Admission to this festival which takes place in Richmond, Virginia, buys you a sampling glass so you can enjoy as much beer as you would like to try, sampling of over 60 beers and 40 bourbons. Some of the best local barbecue vendors are onsite, so you can try out delicious delicacies, between enjoying seminars in the tasting theatre and LIVE music all day.
NOLA on Tap, New Orleans
The biggest beer festival in Louisiana takes place in New Orleans on September 21st
. There are over 400 beers to try out, including craft and local brews. Visitors can dance to live music, experience classic southern Louisiana food and enjoy lots of different kinds of entertainment.
The Bluegrass, BBQ and Brew Festival, Virginia
Love quintessentially American music, food and brews? Enjoy them all at The Bluegrass, Barbecue & Brew Festival is all about embracing the flavours and sounds of Southern Virginia at the home of Virginia' Passionate Patriot & Fiery Fiddler. Takes place on 2 November 2019.
Santa Barbara Beer Festival: Santa Barbara, California
The Santa Barbara Beer Festival
is a showcase for phenomenal brews, food, and tunes. Visitors take a tasting glass and cruise the grounds of beautiful Elings Park for an afternoon, sampling the best brewers in the west. Ticket purchase helps support two local Santa Barbara non-profits. Takes place 12 October.
Yaga’s Chili Quest & Beer Fest, Texas
Now in its tenth year, Yaga’s brings together Chili & Beer lovers from all over the nation to Galveston, Texas to sample the state’s best beers and spicy food. Visitors enjoy the Craft Beer Festival, Chili & Beer tasting, live music, a 5K Fun Run/Walk, a washer pitching tournament, a jackpot margarita contest, and stalls selling food and drink. https://www.yagaschiliquest.com/
Minnesota Brewery Running Series, Minnesota
It’s not quite a festival, but every week between April and December, beer lovers can take a 5km course that starts and ends at a different local brewery during the Minnesota Brewery Running Series
. There’s no set pace, so there’s a beer waiting for you at the finish line regardless of your time. Each participant receives a free craft brew from the brewery and get to take home a collector’s pint glass or seasonal souvenir from the Brewery Running Series. You’ll also enjoy live music, food and fun giveaways.
Baltimore Craft Beer Festival, Maryland
Held at the beautiful Canton Waterfront Park in downtown Baltimore, thIs festival will feature over 40 Maryland craft breweries, as well as a homebrew competition, judged by festival goers. Focusing on the Charm City lifestyle, the event includes battling live bands, fresh local food and outdoor games.
The Hoppy Possum, Tennessee
The first-ever Hoppy Possum festival in Johnson City
, Tennessee, features only the best amateur brewers from around the region, serving their latest beers. There’s $10,000 in cash prizes are up for grabs for the best entrants. This will be the first year of the festival so make sure you are there on September 28, 2019.
San Diego Brew Festival: San Diego, California
annual San Diego Brew Festival
returns to Liberty Station on 15 June 2019. Visitors can expect 150 varieties of beers from 70 different breweries in addition to food trucks and live music from local bands. Breweries exhibiting at the festival include locals’ favourite, Ballast Point Brewing Company.
Summer Beer Dabbler, Minnesota
The 11th Annual Summer Beer Dabbler
in Minnesota features more than 140 breweries sampling over 450 beers. This brilliant summertime craft beer festival will take place on the grass at CHS Field, the home of the St. Paul Saints. Takes place August 17.
The Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, Colorado
Hot blues, funk, jam, rock, gospel and soul bands meet some of the best microbreweries in the country meet at this three-day festival. This celebration of live music and microbrews is held at Telluride Town Park, in a valley of 13,000-foot mountain peaks. On the Saturday of the festival there is the Grand Tasting which sees 56 craft breweries participating with over 170 beers for visitors to choose from.
Mammoth Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza, Mammoth Lakes, California
This fun music and beer festival - Mammoth Lakes Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza
- takes place beside the azure Mammoth Lake. With more than 60 craft breweries serving more than 150 beers and ciders from around the country, this festival is the largest of its kind in the region. The mountainous location offers festival-goers the chance to participate in outdoor experiences such as skiing, kayaking, mountain biking and fishing. Takes place 1- 4 August.
Tahoe Mountain Bike & Brew Festival, California
The Tahoe Mountain Bike & Brew Festival
at Tahoe Paradise Park was inspired by a late night conversation between two local guys wanting to ride bikes all day and end with a party. Sponsored by The Divided Sky and Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA), the festival involves a fun ride on some of the South Shore’s most iconic trails, followed by a festival with food, brews, stalls, a raffle and live music. Takes place 22-23 June.
10th Annual Key West Brewfest, Florida
There are nearly 200 beers and micro-brews on tap at this annual fundraising event, with beer dinners, beer brunches, happy hour parties, pool parties, late-night parties and the Signature Tasting Festival Event. There are also more than 39 craft breweries, dotted along what is locally dubbed as the ‘Gulp Coast’. Pick up a 'Beer Passport
', and you can tally up your visits to the breweries and win prizes along the way. Takes place 29 August – 2 September.
Seattle International Beerfest, Washington
The Seattle International Beerfest
brings together more than 200 beers from around the world, taking in all tastes and flavours, from classic pale ales to farmhouse sours. There are craft beer tents, bottle-only tents and a Grande Beer Garden where there are three pints to choose from, each only costing $3. Takes place 12-14 July 2019.
Collaboration Fest, Denver
Known as America’s most creative beer festival, Collaboration Fest in Denver, Colorado, features brews that are a result of collaborations between two or more breweries from around the state, country and world. These individual collaborations mean that every beer tapped will be its first time, and every beer has a unique story.
The Great American Beer Festival: Denver, Colorado
The largest celebration of its kind in the USA, The Great American Beer Festival
bring together hundreds of breweries from across the states, the festival showcases and celebrates craft beer as one of the most popular segments of the beer, wine and spirits industry. Craft beer experts and novices alike to sample over 4,000 different beers. Takes place 4-6 October.
Props & Hops: Greater Palm Springs, California
The Palm Springs Air Museum is home to this year’s annual Props & Hops
, Southern California’s only festival dedicated to craft beer and vintage aircrafts. Beer lovers can try out brews from 25 craft breweries, and fly in a vintage P-51 Mustang, C-47 Skytrain Ride or B-25 Executive Sweet plane over the museum. Takes place 23 November.
NorCal Brew Fest: Sonoma County, California
You can try unlimited brews from more than more than 50 award-winning beers and ciders at this festival that’s part of the annual Sonoma County Fair. Play cornhole and Giant Jenga, listen to free live music, and feel the trackside thrill of Wine Country horse racing. Takes place 3 August.