10 German Beer Festivals That You Absolutely Need to Experience

Germany knows beer. So much so that it has over 1,300 breweries and numerous beer festivals all over the country. Its best-known beer festival is Munich’s Oktoberfest but you’d be missing out on a lot if you’d solely focus on it. There are more beer festivals in Germany than Oktoberfest!

If you’re a beer aficionado and you’re ready to go on a great beer adventure, please consider this curated list of German beer festivals that you definitely have to check out.

1. Oktoberfest, Munich

This list will not be valid if Oktoberfest is not included in it. If you don’t have the luxury of time and you just need to pick one beer festival on this list, you should simply opt for Munich’s Oktoberfest. It is pretty legendary as it drives over 6 million tourists to Munich every year. The festival lasts for 16 days and you’d feel like you’re in beer heaven as beers are served in liters with all the best food, culture, and entertainment that Germany has to offer. Know more about it by checking out Thirsty Swagman.

2. Barthelmarkt, Manching

If you’re free around August, then you should check out Manching’s Barthelmarkt festival. It drives over 250,000 people every year to the center of Bavaria in Ingolstadt. It’s been celebrated since 1354 and was established by Romans. The festival is done in honor of St. Bartholomew, the patron saint of the town.

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3. Freimarkt, Bremen

If you missed Oktoberfest that ends in the first week of October, then you should consider the Freimarkt festival. It starts during the last days of October and lasts for 17 days. It’s been celebrated since 1035 and draws over 4 million beer enthusiasts and visitors every year. What’s amazing with Freimarkt is you can bring your kids here with you. You will enjoy the beer and your kids will enjoy many carnival rides. Freimarkt festival is all about beer, street parties, and carnival food. You’d surely enjoy it with your whole family!

4. International Beer Festival, Berlin

The International Beer Festival in Berlin is celebrated every first weekend of August. It drives in over a million visitors every year who flock at Berlin’s “beer mile.” Berlin’s “beer mile” is at Karl-Marx-Allee and is 2.2 kilometers long. It starts in Frankfurter and ends in Strausburger Platz. The beer festival is basically a massive beer garden that will offer you 2,000 varieties of beer. This festival is perfect for beer enthusiasts!

5. Starkbierzeit, Munich

Starkbierzeit literally translates to “strong beer time.” Now if that isn’t enough to persuade you, then I don’t know what else will. This beer festival is supreme because it showcases local craft beers. It’s been celebrated every first week of March since 1751. This festival is hardcore because local brew houses are mandated to produce their strongest beer before Lent with a minimum of 7.5% alcohol. Yep, it’s that strong. You’d even find beers here that are 19% alcohol! This festival is definitely not for amateurs!

6. Frühlingfest, Munich

This beer festival feels somewhat like a mini Oktoberfest.  Frühlingfest or “Spring Festival” is held on exactly the same grounds where Oktoberfest is held. It also involves numerous beer tents, rides, bands, and food. But then again, it is celebrated every April and May and only has over 80,000 guests. It’s pretty much a baby if compared to its big sister that entertains over 6 million guests.

7. Gäubodenvolksfest, Danube Region

Gäubodenvolksfest is celebrated every August and it lasts for 11 days. It is also family-friendly and is primarily an agricultural festival. What makes it quite a superb beer festival though is the fact that it especially features beers from the whole of Straubing-Bogen. Just like other German beer festivals, people also celebrate it wearing traditional costumes. There are also numerous rides, carnival foods, and massive beer tents. You can also enjoy horse carriage rides in this festival!

8. Schützenfest, Hanover

Schützenfest festival celebrates beer and marksmen every summer. It’s been celebrated since 1529 and welcomes 5,000 marksmen with beer tents, rides, and parades. This beer is known for its infamous Marksmen’s Parade that won the title of the longest parade for being 7.5 mile-long and having over 1.5 million spectators. The parade showcases marching bands, floats, and Germany’s top marksmen. You’re up for a treat and a once-in-a-lifetime experience if you’d experience this festival’s Marksmen’s Parade.

9. Bierfest, Kulmbacher

Kulmbacher’s Bierfest is solely dedicated to beer. It entertains and indulges over 130,000 people every year with the town’s four brew houses. The festival lasts for 9 days where people get delicious Bavarian treats, good beer, and numerous rides. It has one large beer tent place in the very center of the town. People who truly want to experience good Kulmbacher beer should not miss this fun and exciting festival.

10. Stuttgart Beer Festival, Stuttgart

This beer festival is the second biggest beer festival in Germany that drives in over 4 million people every year. It was established in 1818 by King Wilhelm to celebrate the end of the German famine. The festival showcases a massive open-air market with 70 brands of delicious beer. This one is for party lovers as it features live music, concerts, and performances. It has changed through the years but it still kept the heart of the tradition in full spirit. You should definitely check out this festival if you’re after the same Oktoberfest vibe!