If you have ever seen wine tasters at work, you will notice that they do not actually drink the stuff. After swilling it around their mouths for a few seconds, they spit it out. What a waste that is. They should take a leaf out of beer tasters books and actually drink what they are tasting. If you are lucky enough to get to some of the world’s largest beer festivals, you will see what I mean.

In fact, anybody caught spitting the beer out would probably be escorted to the door, and rightly so. Beer festivals are a wonderful invention. You get the opportunity to join up with loads of other people who share your tastes. You can try a whole variety of different beers while enjoying the entertainment. The entertainment usually includes the live bands that festival organizers recruit. It also includes other festival attendees who have slightly over-sampled and might be unintentionally putting on a show by making fools of themselves.

There are famous and great beer festivals all over the world. Here are a few of the better known ones:

  • The Great British Beer Festival, London (United Kingdom)
  • Pilsner Fest, Pilsen (Czech Republic)
  • The New England Beer Festival, Auckland (New Zealand)
  • The Great American Beer Festival, Denver (USA)
  • Quindao International Beer Festival, Shandong Province (China)
  • Belgian Beer Weekend, Brussels (Belgium)
  • National Winter Ales Festival, Manchester (United Kingdom)
  • Mondial del la Biere, Montreal (Canada)
  • Biermeile Berliner, Berlin (Germany)
  • Wasen Cannstatt, Stuttgart (Germany)
  • Great World Beer Festival, United Nations of Beer, New York (USA)

The largest of all beer festivals by a long shot though is the Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. After a few beers, people have been known to get a little befuddled. Clearly the originators of Oktoberfest did, bless them, because most of the festival takes place in September. Oktoberfest is not really about sampling beer. It is all about having fun drinking it. If you get the opportunity to visit this festival, grab it with both hands. It is an unforgettable, fun-filled experience.

Every year, Canadians get a great chance to try out a range of beers at our Edmonton Beer Festival. We are on a smaller scale than Munich, but definitely worth a visit. In 2013, festival-goers could choose from over 200 beers and we hope to add more this year. How many of those could you get through in 2 days?

If you are traveling to a beer festival, don’t forget to carry at all times a piece of paper with the address of your accommodation written on it. In a strange place, remembering where you are living temporarily after a “few” drinks can be tricky.