Few places do beer like Germany. Beer is part of the nation’s culture and, as anyone that has paid a trip to Germany will know, the bigger the stein the better.
As the host of the Oktoberfest, where six million people fly in from around the world to partake in a month-long celebration of beer, Munich may be Germany’s beer capital. However, the International Berlin Beer Festival provides a good warm up ahead of the main event.
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If you’re in the German capital this weekend, here’s everything you need to know about one of Berlin’s biggest beer celebrations:
What is the International Berlin Beer Festival?
The International Berlin Beer Festival is a celebration of one of the many things that Germany excels out: quality beer.
The festival is held every year on the first weekend of August, attracting thousands to what the Guinness World Records recognised in 2011 as the “longest beer garden in the world”. According to the Daily Mail, the festival welcomes approximately 800,000 thirsty guests each year over the first August weekend.
Where does the Berlin Beer Festival take place?
The name is a bit of a giveaway. The International Berlin Beer Festival takes place in the German capital, Berlin.
To be a little more specific, the main part of the festival is held along a stretch of Karl-Marx-Allee, the famed boulevard named in honour of German philosopher Karl Marx. This stretch was built from the rubble of World War II, welcoming in a new era for the European nation.
Home to many of Berlin’s luxury home, shops, restaurants and hotels, Karl-Marx-Allee will transform into a 2.2km-long beer garden this weekend.
The festival will stretch between two of the road’s many squares, from the Frankfurter Tor to Strausberger Platz.
When is it?
The Berlin Beer Festival got underway today (Friday, 3 August). It will run over the weekend, reaching its conclusion on Sunday, 5 August.
The festival got kicked off at 11am London time. The festival’s first day will officially end at 11pm tonight, but there are likely plenty of pubs that will keep the party going into the early hours. If not, you could always check out Berlin’s party scene. The famous Berghain nightclub is just around the corner.
The festival will get started at 9am the following morning (Saturday, 4 August) and close again at 11pm.
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Sunday, the final day of the festival, will run from 9am until 9pm.
Please note: all times recorded are London time (BST). Germany is one hour ahead (CEST).
How much is entry?
That’s the best part – it’s completely free. The beer, of course, isn’t.
How many different beers are there to try?
More than 350 breweries from 90 different countries will be presenting their products in the German capital.
In total, there will be approximately 2,400 different varieties of beer to try at Berliner Bierfestival.
That’s approximately 800 a day if you want to get through them all, which we definitely do not advise. If you want to get through as many as possible, guests can buy a glass and pay a small fee to sample a variety of beers.
You will undoubtedly find some of the best beers that Germany has to offer among the picks. However, the Berlin Beer Festival isn’t exclusive to German brewers. “Beer from the other side of the world” is the motto of the 22nd International Berlin Beer Festival, with New Zealand set to take centre stage.
There will be everything from those familiar names like Stella Artois, Erdinger and San Miguel, to lesser known beverages from around the world.
Other than drinking beer, what else is there to do?
A total of 18 stages line the streets at Berliner Bierfestival, which will be graced by various musicians, tribute bands and performers throughout the three day festival. There will be everything from an Austrian playing an accordion, to cooking shows, to a group of older gentleman playing 70s power ballads.
These performances are free to spectate and open to everybody. A few beers might make the experience a little bit, but that is by no means a requirement.
Are there any rules?
The International Berlin Beer Festival is an inclusive event. The festival is all for diversity and everyone is welcome to attend.
It should go without saying that racism, extremism and violence is a big no-no. That includes the use of offensive language, as well as the wearing of offensive symbols on clothing, or in tattoos.
The Berlin Beer Festival is all about having a good time. Grab a beer, appreciate the music and enjoy yourself.