BEER FESTIVALS THAT MAKE BELGIUM THE BEER CAPITAL OF THE WORLD:
Munich Oktoberfest is without doubt the king of all beer festivals. But for the discerning beer lover, it is not the size of the beer festival that counts. The Belgian Beer Festivals are not as well publicised internationally as Munich Oktoberfest, yet Belgium has a tradition of beer making and produces some 500 different varieties of beer, including some world famous brands.
Looking at their annual calendar of events, there’s a major event or beer festival almost every month of the year and below is just a sampling of them. If you’re planning on any Belgian beer festival visits, below are some of the dates for 2017.
Note: Some festival organisers have yet to come up with dates for their 2017 beer festivals, especially those in the second half of the year. Before you book any flights, it is advisable to check the beer festival websites closer to the event date as many of the dates are either not yet confirmed or may change.
Some Belgian Beer Festivals 2017
Brugs Bier Festival 2017 (Bruges)
February 4 & 5, 2017: The 2017 Bruges Beer Festival will be held at a new location, yet to be announced. The festival features more than 350 beers from 80 breweries, including quite a number of new beers and exciting ones such as Flanders Field, Gulden Spoor Blond, Hippoliet, Houblons, Indian Summer and Keyte Kriek Magic to name a few. Apart from beer tasting, you can watch some top chefs cooking their gastronomic delights with beer, and you can taste the food as well.
Address: Downtown Bruges (to be announced)
For Bruges Hotels: See here.
Special Beer Weekend 2017 (Sohier)
February 2017 (tbc): Those who like traditional beers will enjoy Sohier’s 3-day beer festival, known as “The WEBS” to the regulars. Set in the town of Wellin, Sohier has more than 130 different beers, many of which are from traditional production and also some “exotic” beers.
Address: Rue Basse, 6920 Sohier (Wellin)
The Zythos Bier Festival – ZBF 2017 ( Leuven)
April 22 – 23, 2017: This great beer festival takes place in the modern Brabanthal event centre in Leuven where there’s plenty of space for brewers and visitors. There are approximately 500 beers from the Belgian breweries and beer firms featured. There is no entry fee and no pre-booking is required. Just buy your beer-tasting tokens from one of the 88 stands staffed by the brewers. Please leave your pets and cigarettes at home. The venue is smoke-free as cigarette smells get in the way of good beer tasting. Opening hours are 12:00 to 23:00 on Saturday and 11:00 to 21:00 on Sunday.
Address: Brabanthal, Brabantlaan 1, 3001 Leuven
For Leuven Hotels: See here.
Beer Festival of Bouillon 2017 (Bouillon)
April 2017 (tbc): Bouillon shopkeepers display all beer products, including local producers of specialty beers. There are tasting sessions.
Mons Beer Festival 2017 (La bière en fête – Mons)
April 2017 (tbc): This is an annual event where the Party Service and tradesmen of the Grand-Place organize a weekend dedicated to beer. Visitors can taste traditional beers from the numerous stalls which includes the big brands that made Belgium famous as the World Center of Beer.
Address: Grand-Place, 7000 Mons
De Nacht van de Grote Dorst 2018 (Eizeringen)
April 21, 2018 (tbc): This one-evening event includes Lambic breweries and Geuze blenders of the Payottenland and the Senne Valley. The Night of the Great Thirst is a smallish event offering naturally fermented Lambic and Gueuze beers. This event takes place every two years and the next festival is in 2018!
Address: Frans Baetensstraat 45, 1750 Eizeringen
Oktoberfest Belgium 2017 (Asberg Kasterlee)
May 2017 (tbc): Normally held in May, in Kasterlee, but at this stage there’s no information as to whether Oktoberfest Belgium will take place in 2015. I’ll keep a lookout.
Address: Asberg Kasterlee (near the Turnhout-Kasterlee roundabout)
Bierpassie 2017 – Beer Passion Weekend, Groenplats Square (Antwerp)
June 23 – 25, 2017 (tbc): The 18th Bierpassie Weekend will be held in Groenplats Square in Antwerp. This summer festival offers over 200 beers and more beers are added each year.
Address: Groenplaats, Antwerp
Festival of International Special Beers 2017 (Stembert)
July 16 – 21, 2017 (tbc): Now in its 23rd year, there are more than 200 Belgian and foreign beers to discover here!
Address: Salle Chanteloup, rue des Champs 9, 4801 Stembert
Gathering of the Breweries in Belgian 2017 (Luxembourg)
July 2017 (tbc): The breweries of the province of Luxembourg gather in Hotton for beer tastings, explanation of different brewing methods, music, raffle for a basket with regional products, and street animations.
Address: Hotton L’ile de l’Oneux
North Sea Festival 2017 (Ostend)
August 25 – 27, 2017: An interesting festival on the north coast of Belgian. Beer lovers can enjoy more than 150 Belgian beers from over 20 breweries and then enjoy Leopoldpark or head for the beach.
Address: Leopoldpark, B-8400 Oostene
La Grande Choufferie 2017 (Wibrin)
August 2017 (tbc): An event to celebrate the birth of the famous La Chouffe Belgian beer. This event takes place on in early August where you can discover the art of beer, learn how to serve and taste a Chouffe and how to match it to your meals.
Address: Brasserie d’Achouffe, Rue du Village 21, 6666 Wibrin
Festival of 100 Beers 2017 (Anvaing)
August 2017: Usually held on the third weekend in August, the Festival of 100 Beers is like a “Beer Games” with bike races, card games, culminating in the tasting of 100 beers. There’s also a family day with barbeque, entertainment for children and music.
Address: Petit château “Norbert”, Drève d’Anvaing, 7910 Anvaing
Arch’en Biers 2017 (Archennes)
August 22 – 23, 2017 (tbc): Held in the town of Grez-Doiceau, the aim of this festival is to acquaint people with lesser-known beers in Walloon Brabant. Each year, the organizers endeavour to present new products to visitors and there will be numerous tasting throughout the weekend.
Address: Maison Coullemont, Rue des Moulins 10, 1390 Archennes
Brussels Beer Weekend 2017 (Brussels)
From September 1 – 3, 2017 (tbc): Brussels’ Grand’Place – Grote Markt hosts the 19th Belgian Beer Weekend with a multitude of stands offering the opportunity to discover some of their best Belgian beers. Many small, medium-sized and large Belgian breweries will present their best selections of beers – in total some 350 different Belgian beers. Entrance is free and beer prices are very reasonable! Entertainment such as jazz bands, brass bands, activities for children will accompany your beer tasting.
Address: Grand-Place, 1000 Bruxelles
Beer, Bread and Cheese Festival 2017 (Durbuy)
From September 12 – 13, 2017 (tbc) : At this 21st Fete de la Biere, you can go on a sampling trail all weekend and discover regional beers, breads and cheese.
Address: Place aux Foires 25, 6940 Durbuy
Hops Festival in Val de Sambre 2017 (Erquelinnes)
From September 4 – 6, 2017 (tbc): Great hops festivity in the town of Erquelinnes, with amazing entertainment throughout the weekend including music, guided tours of the brewery, hot-air balloon rides, and craft exhibitions.
Address: Microbrasserie d’Erquelinnes, Rue de Maubeuge 197, 6560 Erquelinnes
Poperinge Beer and Hop Festival 2017 (Poperinge)
September 15-17, 2017: Poperinge is the charming hop metropolis in the southwest of West Flanders. This is a triennial hop and beer festival so if you miss this one, you’ll have to wait another three years.
Belgian Beer Museum / Beer Collectors’ and Exchange Market 2017 (Lustin)
1st Sunday in Oct 2017: This beer event takes place in the town of Lustin (Profondeville) with displays of beer glasses, bottles, labels, coasters, old ads, clocks, mirrors, pints, jugs and other collector’s items. It claims to have available 850 varieties of beer (that’s what they’re claiming!), including meals cooked with beer.
Address: Belgian Beer Museum, Rue de la Gare 19, Lustin (Profondeville)
BLES Bierhappening 2016/2017 (Zottegem)
October 15, 2016 (October 14, 2017)(tbc): This festival takes place from 2 p.m. in mid-October and features 23 brewers who will present more than 100 beers. Beer connoisseurs will have to opportunity to meet the beer makers and discuss their favourite brews. A special BLES beer is brewed for the festival each year and this is matched to a cheese that is also specially made. The BLES Bierhappening location is within walking distance to the train station and is wheelchair accessible.
Address: Sporthal Bevegemse Vijvers, Bevegemsevijvers 1, Zottegem
Brassigaume – The International Festival of Small Breweries 2016/2017 (Gaume)
From October 15 – 16, 2016 (October 21-22, 2017)(tbc): This takes place in the heart of Gaume, on the third weekend in October, where you can visit different stands and meet 26 Master-Brewers and taste their products consisting of more than 80 different beers. Also, enjoy local cuisine made from Belgian beer.
Address: Complexe du bois des Isles, Marbehan
Poperinge Beer Festival 2016/2017 (Poperinge)
October 29 – 30, 2016 (October 28 – 29, 2017)(tbc): This festival of very special beers is an annual event in Poperinge and features 100 local Flemish beers, mainly brewed in small quantities, but with special aromas.
Address: Hotel Belfort, Main Square 29, B-8970 Poperinge
Weekend Der Belgische Bieren 2016 (Hasselt)
November 11 – 13, 2016 : This is the 23rd and last edition of beer weekend by De Limburgse Biervrienden offers a careful selection of 100 Belgian beers for beer lovers. Not to be missed!
Venue – Cultural Centre of Hasselt.
International Christmas Beer Festival 2016 (Stembert)
From November – December 2016 (dates to be confirmed): Enjoy 70 Belgian beers whilst you look around at the Christmas cribs of about 20 exhibitors.
Address: Salle Chanteloup, rue des Champs 9, 4801 Stembert
OBER Kerstbierfestival Christmas Beer Festival 2016/2017 (Essen)
December 17 – 18, 2016 (December 16 – 17, 2017)(tbc) – At the two-day OBER (Objective Beer Tasters of Essen Region) Christmas Beer Festival, visitors can taste more than 150 Belgian Christmas and winter beers in the small village of Essen, near the Dutch border. They say that their beer list is one of the best in the world, so you’ll need to go and check this out yourself.
Address: Heuvelhal, Kapelstraat 7, B-2910 Essen
So, if you love a good brew, Belgium may be a good stop for your next holiday itinerary.