Beer festivals in Germany
Beer festivals in Germany
Written By: Lindiwe Zulu

Germany is known for its many beer festivals that go on throughout the year. These festivals draw millions of visitors from all over the world who get to indulge in beer, pretzels and the funfairs.  We’ve compiled a list of the best beer festivals in Germany. 

Oktoberfest – Munich  

The most popular of all beer festivals, this 16-day festival is the biggest beer festival in the world. Since its inception in 1860, it now has over 6 million visitors every year. Although it’s known as Oktoberfest, it is actually held in September. The reason for this is because in September days are longer and the weather is warmer. 

 The festival originated on October 12, 1810, in celebration of the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria, who later became King Louis I, to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The wedding was celebrated with five days of eating, drinking, dancing, and horse racing. This celebration is now an annual event. 

This beer festival is known for its traditional Bavarian costumes and traditional German food which includes sausages, roast chickens and large pretzels. During Oktoberfest, you will find beer halls, parades carnival rides, amusement rides, music, and dance.  

International Berlin Beer Festival 

Unlike other beer festivals that showcase local beers, the International Berlin Beer Festival features both local and international beers. This 3-day event features 350 breweries from almost 90 countries and serves approximately 2,400 different beers.  

The festival takes place along a section of Karl-Marx-Allee in the Friedrichshain district covering an impressive 2.2 kilometres, and currently holds the title for The World’s Longest Beer Garden in the Guinness World Records. 

The festival does not just feature beer. You will find culinary demonstrations and tastings, live music performances on 18 stages and friendly games and competitions. 

Berlin has an excellent transport system so getting around the city should not be difficult. Alternatively, you can explore the city on foot and get to admire and enjoy the festivities.  

Stuttgart cannstatter volksfest 

Locally known as “Wasan”, this festival is considered the second largest beer festival in the world after the Oktoberfest. This festival is held in Stuttgart, one of Germany’s largest cities and the birthplace of Mercedes Benz. This 2-week long festival attracts over 4 million visitors every year.  

Cannstatter Volksfest has entertainment for the young and old and features a big Ferris wheel, roller coaster rides, a wild water coaster, and even a carousel.  

The other attraction of this German beer festival is the annual Volksfest parade that goes through the city’s beautiful streets. 

Straubing’s Gäubodenvolkfest 

This festival was founded in 1812 by Maximillian I Joseph, King of Bavaria, as a way to bring together the people of Dubane region.  It is an 11-day celebration that takes place in mid- August.  

Gäubodenvolkfest includes 7 tents,  about 27,000 seats, 130 attractions, as well as Bavaria’s largest consumer exhibition. Many visitors wear traditional Bavarian clothing (“Trachten”) for this festival. 

Besides beer tasting, Gäubodenvolkfest features a Bavarian parade with traditional Bavarian costumes (“Trachten”) and horse carriage rides. 

Just like Stuttgart Cannstatter Volkfest, this festival also features family-friendly attractions such as roller coaster rides and carousels. 

Starkbierzeit – the strong beer festival 

The word Starkbierzeit translates to “ strong beer” and that name truly describes this festival. It Originates all the way back to the 17th century by the Paulaner monks who started making strong, high-calorie beers to sustain themselves during the 40 days of lent. On average, a litre of Starkbier contains 180g of solids, equivalent to a third of a loaf of bread. Since then, this tradition has been held in March every two weeks. 

Unlike other Beer festivals in Germany,  the Starkbierzeit festival mostly a local event and is largely ignored by outsiders.  Even though the crowd is less, the alcohol is certainly more.  Brews have to have a minimum alcohol requirement of 7.5 percent to even be considered “Starkbier,” and Munich alone brews more than 40 varieties of it, some containing as much as 19 percent alcohol. 

The festival also takes place immediately after Karneval, which is basically a two-week long European version of Halloween as people are still in a jovial mood.  

Freimarkt, Bremen 

Situated in Northern Germany the Bremen Freimarkt is the oldest fair in Germany. Freimarkt is considered the biggest festival in Northern Germany, with over 4 million visitors yearly and is held over 17 days. It included many festivities such as a carnival with a Ferris wheel, fun rides, parades and plenty of food.  

The Freimarkt started off as a consumer market where merchants would sell goods like Salt, Spices, Food and tools. Since then, it has grown into a market with over 350 carnival workers, beer flowing, and live music. The festival includes several beer Tents such as the Königsalm, the Bayernzelt and Halle 7.

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