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. Unfortunately, the coronavirus is still very much with us and many organizers of the larger events have decided to cancel the 2021 festivals and are now planning for 2022.
If you’re planning on any Belgian beer festival visits, below are some of the dates for 2021/ 2022.
Note: 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 popular Belgian Beer Festivals 2021/2022
Brugs Bier Festival 2022 (Bruges)
February 5 & 6, 2022: The 2022 Bruges Beer Festival is at the Markt. 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: Markt Bruges
For Bruges Hotels: See here.
And try the Bruges Beer Experience and Beer Tasting at other times: BOOK HERE
Special Beer Weekend 2021 (Sohier)
Cancelled: 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 2021 ( Leuven)
Cancelled: 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.
Unfortunately this popular beer festival was cancelled again in 2021. Organizers are hoping that the festival can take place in May 2022.
Address: Brabanthal, Brabantlaan 1, 3001 Leuven
For Leuven Hotels: See here.
Beer Festival of Bouillon 2021 (Bouillon)
April 2021 (Cancelled): Bouillon shopkeepers display all beer products, including local producers of specialty beers. There are tasting sessions.
Mons Beer Festival 2021 (La bière en fête – Mons)
May 2021 Cancelled (Scheduled for May 2022): 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 (Itterbeek)
April 27, 2018: 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 2018 is the year.
Oktoberfest Belgium 2021 (Asberg Kasterlee)
May 2021 (tbc): Normally held in May, in Kasterlee, but at this stage there’s no information as to whether Oktoberfest Belgium will take place in 2021. Check back later for updates.
Address: Asberg Kasterlee (near the Turnhout-Kasterlee roundabout)
Summer Beer Lovers’ Festival 2021 (Liège)
May, 2021 (tbc): At this regional beer festival in Liège , some 20 breweries will be presenting the fruits of their labour and their know-how on place Saint Lambert in the heart of Liège. As an added treat for your taste buds, there is a gastronomic festival being held simultaneously at Espace Tivoli.
Bierpassie 2022 – Beer Passion Weekend, Groenplats Square (Antwerp)
July 1-3, 2022: Bierpassie 2021 has been cancelled. The 20th Bierpassie Weekend will be held in Groenplats Square in Antwerp in 2022. This summer festival offers over 200 beers and more beers are added each year.
Address: Groenplaats, Antwerp
Festival of International Special Beers 2021 (Stembert)
July 2021 (tbc): Now in its 27th 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 2021 (Luxembourg)
July 2021 (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 2021 (Ostend)
August 2021 (tbc). The 2020 festival was cancelled and it is likely that the 2021 festival will share the same fate: An interesting festival on the north coast of Belgian. Beer lovers can enjoy more than 150 Belgian beers from over 30 breweries and then enjoy Leopoldpark or head for the beach.
Address: Leopoldpark, B-8400 Oostene
La Grande Choufferie 2022 (Wibrin)
August 12-14, 2022: Once again, the 2021 event has been cancelled, but La Grande Choufferie will be back in 2022. 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 2021 (Anvaing)
August 2021 (tbc): 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 2021 (Archennes)
August 25 – 26, 2021: 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
BXLBeerFest Brussels (Brussels)
August 25-26, 2021: This newest of Brussels beer festivals has the aim to make Brussels one of the best beer cities of the world. With the number of beers that the Belgians produce, this should be an achievable task. Over the two days, visitors can taste 350 beers from 60 breweries. If this is not enough, hang around for the Brussels Beer Weekend on the following weekend.
Address: Tour & Taxis ‐ Havenlaan 86C ‐ 1000 Brussels (Belgium)
Brussels Beer Weekend 2021 (Brussels)
From September 3 – 5, 2021: Brussels’ Grand’Place – Grote Markt hosts the 20th 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 400 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.
Due to the Coronavirus, the event can be changed at last minute. Please check before making your travel arrangements.
Address: Grand-Place, 1000 Bruxelles
Beer, Bread and Cheese Festival 2021 (Durbuy)
From September , 2021: At this 22nd 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 2021 (Erquelinnes)
From September 2021 (tbc): Great hops festivity in the town of Erquelinnes. Learn about the history of hops and join in some hops picking. The hops are weighed and prizes awarded for the best hop and fastest picker. There’ll also be entertainment throughout the weekend including music, guided tours of the brewery, parachute jumps and craft exhibitions.
Address: Brasserie d’Erquelinnes, Rue de Maubeuge 197, 6560 Erquelinnes
Poperinge Beer and Hop Festival 2022 (Poperinge)
Oct 29&30, 2022: Poperinge is the charming hop metropolis in the southwest of West Flanders. This is a triennial hop and beer festival has been postponed to October 2022 due to the coronavirus.
Belgian Beer Museum / Beer Collectors’ and Exchange Market 2021 (Lustin)
1st Sunday in Oct 2021: 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)
Liège Beer Festival – 2021 (Liège)
Oct 15-17, 2021: At the Liège Beer Festival “Hoppy Days” you can taste 100 Belgian and foreign beers.
Address: Liège Convention Center, Esplanade de l’Europe 2
Oktoberfest Brussels 2021
October 2021 (tbc): Good news for lovers of Oktoberfest – Oktoberfest Brussels will take place at the Sheds of Tour & Taxis this year.
Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86C, 1000 Brüssel
Metro 2+6 (Haltestelle/Arrêt/Halte Yser/Ijzer)
Bus N° 88 (Haltestelle/Arrêt/Halte Tour & Taxis) – S8 Gare du Nord/Noordstation
BLES Bierhappening 2021 (Zottegem)
October 9&10, 2021: 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 2021 (Gaume)
From October 16 & 17, 2021: 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 2021 (Poperinge)
October 29&30, 2022: The 2021 festival has been cancelled and rescheduled for 2022. This 25th festival of very special beers is an annual event in Poperinge. It features 25 breweries which produce 100 local Flemish beers, mainly brewed in small quantities, but with special aromas.
Address: Maeke Blyde Event Hall, Doornstraat 43, 8970 Poperinge
OBER Kerstbierfestival Christmas Beer Festival 2021 (Essen)
December 18&19, 2021 (Confirmed) – Yes, we’ve had confirmation that this year’s Kerstbierfestival will take place. At this two-day OBER (Objective Beer Tasters of Essen Region) Christmas Beer Festival, Belgian beer fans can taste more than 200 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.
Online ticket pre-sale starts on October 15 at 12 am, and there’s a limit of 900 tickets for each day. The €25 entry price includes 7 beer tokens, a Festival glass and a guide with full tasting notes. You can buy more €2 when you’re there.
To ensure the safety of visitors and exhibitors, organizers will check the following before you’re allowed entry:
- your EU Digital COVID Certificate or
- proof of a negative test, or
- proof that you have recovered from Covid-19 recently
Visitors from non-EU countries will need to check with your local authorities as to what proof can be used.
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.