10 Best Places / Events for Beer to Visit Before You Die

All over the World, you'll find different cultures. Even the differences between the East and West coasts of the USA can be rather stark. There are also those who say beer brought about the beginnings of civilization. So what happens when you combine different cultures, with the baby daddy of the civilized world? You get 10 best beer-centric places and events you must visit or attend before you die. These are not in order of best to worst, as you should do all of them anyways. When all is said and done, you may be inspired to start brewing your own beer, or brew a wider variety of styles after spanning the globe for craft beer's best offerings.

1. Oktoberfest

The largest festival in the world, Oktoberfest is the longest running (16 days), and most famous of all beer festivals. The average attendance over the course of Oktoberfest? A staggering 7.2 million, which is more than all but 12 states in the US (not combined of course). Prepare for crowds if you go, as the "beer tents" have available seating ranging from just over 50 to near 8,500.

2. The Great American Beer Festival

10 best beer places GABF

The Great American Beer Festival, also known as the GABF, is the largest ticketed beer festival in North America. Last year the public (non-member) tickets sold out 1 hour and 17 minutes. So make sure you are on top of when tickets will be available to you. In 2015, there were 49,000 Attendees sampling over 2,300 beers from 466 Breweries. If there wasn't enough beer for you at the fest, you may want to also take in the Denver Beer Trail.

3. The Denver Beer Trail

denver beer trailThe Denver Beer Trail, is one of many "beer trails" spread across the US. What makes Denver so great is that there are over 100 breweries, brewpubs, and tap rooms to check out on the trail, with 20 of them being featured on the map. From here we'll head to the land down under.

4. The Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular

Another must attend in your lifetime is the Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS). It is hosted by the many breweries and brewpubs in Melbourne and Sydney. There aren't a staggering amount of beers at this festival, but each is brewed specially for the event and can't be purchased anywhere else. This can be just the edge you need to beat all your friends in Untappd's unique brews counter. If you find yourself planning to go to Australia, try to schedule in this even which has between 16-23 thousand attendees.

5. Weihenstephan Monastery Brewery

10 best places - weihenstephanIt's time to head to Europe to visit the oldest brewery in the world. At the Weihenstephan Monastery Brewery, in Bavaria Germany, you'll be able to take a tour of the facility, and sample the beer of a brewery founded in 1040.

While in Bavaria, don't forget to stop at Spezial, which uses a centuries old malting method (over an open flame) to create their rauchbier that has a smokey flavor. You also shouldn't miss the monastery brewery Andechs, which in addition to the brewery tour, is a restaurant, distillary and more.

The next stop on our 10 best beer events and places list takes us to Belgium.

6. Bruges Beer Festival

2007 was the first year this festival took place,  but it has quickly grown as one of the most popular in Belgium. It features 30 breweries and over 300 beers. In recent years, attendance has reached as high as 20,000. In 2014, they changed their location to be more spread out, allowing more stands and a more spacious environment.

Before leaving Belgium, don't forget to hit up a few Trappist breweries to try some of the oldest and most sought after beers in the world.Shop Starter Kits

7. San Francisco

21A Wiki commonsWe're back in America to visit San Francisco, which has an exploding craft beer scene on the west coast. There is a long list of establishments that serve great craft beer, or even make it themselves in the ever popular brew pub setting. Some of the many brewpubs and breweries to check out include Cellarmaker Brewing, 21st Amendment, Magnolia Brewing Company, Gordon Biersch, and Speak Easy Ales.

In May, you'll be able to attend the San Fran Cisco International Beer Festival, which has over 55 breweries attending.

8. The Great British Beer Fest

The Great British Beer Festival (or GBBF), is out next stop on the 10 best beer places / events to hit up. It is put on by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). At this festival they serve a wide selection of cask ales and other alcoholic beverages. Typically there are 450 beers hailing from British breweries, and 200 from other countries such as the US, Germany, and Belgium.

 9. Boston

harpoon henryThe last American stop before we need our passports again is Boston MA. Boston is one of the few east coast cities which can hold a glass to the exploding west coast scene. Breweries have been popping up like fruit flies on an old banana, and amazing craft beer is always flowing. There are at least two bars that have roughly 100 taps (The Mead Hall in Cambridge, and Sunset Cantina in Allston), and even more selection for bottled beer.

The smaller bars are no slouch either, and tend to be picky with what they serve (Check out Row34, a very short taxi ride from Harpoon, and steps from Trillium Brewing). And, in Jamaica Plain (you may want a cab), there's the Sam Adam's brewery.

10. Montreal's Mondial de la Biere

The last stop on our 10 best list is in Canada. The Mondial de la Biere, is where you go to get your craft beer and grub on. Like many of the non-US festivals, you'll need tickets to taste the beers, and pourings range from 2-8 ounces. One of the big draws to this festival is its focus on food pairings to go along with the beer.

If all of this isn't enough for you, you may want to try home-brewing for yourself, if you don't already. It's as easy as picking up one of our equipment kits, and a little bit of reading in the learning center. You'll soon find that you can make any type of beer that you like at any time of year, and you don't even need a passport.

We also have a contest running now. Take a picture of your shirt on a grand adventure, or your basement I guess, and you could win a prize! More details here.

Photo Credits: Weihenstephan Brewery , Harpoon Brewery , GABF ,  21st Amendment photos courtesy of Wiki commons.

written by David Doucette

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