Credit: Karen Ali Photography.
The USA has a culture that lives and breathes craft beer, with a whole variety of Bars, Events and Breweries. Gone are the days when you would walk into a bar in the US and be transfixed by 36 different beers on tap… now there are some with 100 plus! With this in mind, why not think of this on a much larger scale… BEER FESTIVALS! With thousands of different beers ready to wrap your lips around! The count appears to be unknown as to how many there actually are, BeerFests.com (one of the biggest beer festival websites in the US) estimates to have 3033 festivals listed… but we’re pretty sure that there are many more! So which ones are the best to attend? Well down at the Yeti Cave we’ve compiled the ultimate list of the Top 10 Beer Festivals of 2018 and to pen in the diary (or Google calendar) for 2019. It’s been a tough gig but we’ve whittled them down to this list, so here goes!..
1. WILD WEST BREWFEST // Katy, TX – May
Credit: Karen Ali Photography.
BeerYeti’s top spot goes to Wild West Brewfest (WWBF) which is held in Katy, West of Houston. Now in its 7th year, the festival has over 100 different brewers and 600 beers! The event that spans over an EPIC 140,000 square feet… OF BEER, includes a VIP climate-controlled tent and an outdoor patio where the VIP patrons can chill out and enjoy rare and barrel-aged beers. WWBF also boasts a game zone, sports zone, multiple beer garden tents and much more! We love these guys because not only do they serve amazing beer, but they have raised over $500,000 in the past 6 years, giving back all of their net profits to charities. Run 100% by volunteers, we feel that this is a great advert for the brewing industry and these guys should really be commended for all the effort that they put in, NOT JUST for the love of beer, but for the enjoyment of beer lovers and most of all for a good cause!
2. Great American Beer Festival // Denver, CO – September
Founded in 1982, GABF has become one of the main pillars of the American beer scene. It’s a beer festival and competition wrapped into one, showcasing the largest collection of U.S. beer. The event takes place at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver offering over 3800+ beers, 102 different styles and some fantastic vendors to find the perfect pairing for your brew!
3. Oregon Brewfest // Portland, OR – July
One of the US’s longest-running craft beer festivals, Oregon Brewers Festival is the destination that 80,000 craft beer lovers hit up annually. Situated on the west bank of the Willamette River, the event serves up more than 80 different beers from 80 independent craft breweries. It also features an International Beer Garden, live music, beer-related vendors, homebrewing demonstrations, an assortment of food and handcrafted sodas which are free for minors and designated drivers.
4. SAVOR // Washington, DC – May
SAVOR offers the best opportunity for guests to mingle with the brewmasters. The dress code is pretty plush, which makes this event the creme de la creme of beer festivals. The event is orientated very much so around a beer and food experience that invigorates your senses! With 90 breweries from across the US, pouring over 180 beers, this experience is limited to a small number of guests in a truly unique atmosphere.
5. Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers // Chicago, IL – November
Taking place in November, this is the largest celebration of barrel-aged beers in the US, with over 200 breweries. It’s a unique tasting experience, trying beers from the wood that you wouldn’t normally buy in a bottle shop. The festival also boasts the “Best in Show” awards, which includes only wood-aged beers.
6. Where the Wild Beers Are // New York, NY – June
Founded in 2008, Where the Wild Beers Are is a celebration of all things sour and wild! When the festival started out, it was limited to classic European brewers and the few American breweries regarded as slightly spontaneous. 10 years on and many of these styles are regarded as great! A handful of breweries are at the event pouring, however the biggest attraction is the “Where the Wild Beers Are bottle share” that kicks off an hour after the start of the event, where festival goers bring their own bottles of beer to share.
7. Extreme Beer Fest // Boston, MA – February
Hosted by Beer Advocate (the legendary beer rating website) this festival showcases over 120 brewers and 400 beers. The 16th annual invitational Extreme Beer Fest (EBF) is held at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. The event spreads across two days in three sessions, with plenty of exclusive brews on the go, with brewers pushing the boundaries creating SERIOUSLY cutting edge and uber sessional brews.
8. Surf and Suds // Ventura and Carpinteria, CA – May & August
In it’s sixth year, these two events are absolutely awesome! Presented by Trek Bikes of Ventura, this is a Beer Festival with a Surf Twist, which is what makes it so cool! Benefiting the Young and Brave Foundation, over 50 craft breweries will hit up both Ventura and Carpinteria. Ventura Surf ‘n’ Suds takes place in May at San Buenaventura State Beach and Carpinteria Surf ‘n’ Suds takes place in August at Carpinteria State Beach. Along with all of the breweries, they also have local surfboard shapers, hand selected vendors, food trucks, plus guests can enjoy craft beer by the beach!
9. Dark Lord Day // Munster, IN – May
Credit: Photo of 3 Floyds brewer Rob Goesel by Travis Schoening.
3 Floyds Brewing Co. hosts a celebration that embraces the most sought-after brews, paired with a rotating lineup of metal bands. Dark Lord Day is the only time and place where festival goers can acquire the legendary 3 Floyds’ demonic Dark Lord Russian-Style Imperial Stout and rare barrel-aged Dark Lord variants. Almost 15,000 people hit up this festival, where you can even enjoy beer slushies and 22% homebrew!
10. Festival of Dankness // San Diego Waterfront Park, CA – August
Presented by Modern Times Beer, an army of beer lovers descend on San Diego’s epic Waterfront Park for a fantastic line-up of breweries. With a high calibre of amazing brewers in attendance, FOD offers insanely tasty beers and awesome waterfront views of downtown San Diego. All profits go to BikeSD, a non-profit at the forefront of making San Diego a better, more sustainable place to ride. Hats off FOD crew!
So there you have it guys, your definitive list of festivals in the US, to check out in 2019. Don’t forget to tag us in your pics!