Six of the world's best beer festivals

Oktoberfest has attracted millions of visitors from all over the world since it began in 1810. Photo / 123RF
Oktoberfest has attracted millions of visitors from all over the world since it began in 1810. Photo / 123RF

Beervana might be over for another year, but there are plenty of other festivals around the globe celebrating the amber thirst quencher.

1. Whistler Village Beer Festival

Held in September, this five-day festival of craft beer in the mountains attracts some of the best breweries in British Columbia. There are more than 120 beers on tap from 60-plus breweries, as well as cask nights, seminars, foodie nights and more. As well as great beer, there's plenty to do in Whistler during the warmer months. Try out one of its four incredible golf courses, or hit the lakes, beaches and spas for some relaxation.

2. GABS Beer and Food Fest

Sometimes known as the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, GABS started out as a celebration of creativity in craft beer.

Held in Melbourne in May, before heading to Sydney, GABS made its premiere in Auckland this June. The festival showcases the best brews in Australia and New Zelaand, alongside local food vendors and entertainment.

3. Oktoberfest, Munich

This list wouldn't be complete without acknowledging the granddaddy of all beer festivals - Oktoberfest. Festivities traditionally take place from late September to the first weekend of October and entry is free. The 16-day event has attracted millions of visitors from all over the world since it began in 1810.

4. The Great British Beer Festival

Held in London every August, this is the largest beer festival in the United Kingdom. The festival focuses on real ales served straight from the cask, but also serves bottled beers and ciders. It's best to arrive thirsty - with more than 900 drinks to try, there's bound to be something for every taste. Pub snacks and traditional games are also on offer to break up the drinking.

5. Christmas Beer Festival Essen

Belgium is known for its beer and the village of Essen has put itself on the festival map with this annual Christmas celebration. Held in winter, it breaks the standard beer festival mold and offers a wide range of Belgian Christmas and winter beers. The festival offers around 200 brews to sample, including a selection of special wood-matured beers. It's grown over the years from a small local affair, to an international event that attracts visitors from all over the world.

6. Pyongyang Taedonggang Beer Festival, North Korea

It might seem like a strange location for a beer festival, but North Korea's inaugural event was launched last week. The festival aims to showcase local brews and to promote its government-owned Taedonggang Beer Factory. Taedonggang beer has been described by the New York Times as "full-bodied lager a little on the sweet side, with a slightly bitter aftertaste" and "one of the highest-quality beers on the [Korean] peninsula for several years". While it's not an easy country to visit, Koryo Tours brought 100 visitors to the festival this year.

- NZ Herald

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