Draughts in Deutschland – German beer festivals of 2015
Germany may be considered one of the economic powerhouses of Europe but that doesn’t make it a dry place to visit. In fact, Germany has a rich regional gastronomy and an even more renowned brewing heritage. A visit here would be much the poorer for not sampling some of the many types available. With the recent resurgence in interest in craft and foreign beers, it’s easier to come across brands like Oettinger, Paulaner and Erdinger outside of the country but for the best experience, you really need to head to the source.
With around 1,300 breweries producing over 5,000 brands, Germans take great pride in their beer. So much so, that there are numerous festivals celebrating this refreshing alcoholic beverage. While most have heard of the famous Oktoberfest in Munich, there are plenty of other German beer festivals in 2015, held all around the country and all marked by the same genial cheer but probably less crowds!
The Flexicover Team lists some of the best beer festivals in Germany to attend and enjoy this year
Kulmbacher Bierwoche (25th July – 2nd August)
Established in 1939 and unlike other German beer festivals, which generally include parades and rides, this festival is all about the beer (although you’ll find some bands performing in the evenings). It’s unsurprising that this is the focus, since it’s held in the Bamberg region of northern Bavaria, considered to have the highest concentration of breweries in the world. For one week each year, the breweries of Kulmbach put up pavilions in the town and serve their best brews – famous amongst them being Kulminator 28, considered to be one of the world’s strongest beers!
Berlin International Beer Festival (7th - 9th August)
Also called the Biermeile by locals as it extends over 2.2km in the Friedrichshain region of the capital, the Berlin International Beer Festival is probably the longest beer garden in the world. Around the first weekend of August, you’ll be able to sample over 2,000 different kinds of beer from 86 countries and 320 brewers. This offers quite a different experience, as traditional German beer festivals tend to celebrate only local or regional brews. And there’s plenty of live music and performances to enjoy as you’re sipping your way from Adelscott to Zunft-Bräu.
Bamberg Sanderkwa (20th - 24th August)
This beer festival (actually a kermis, or church founding festival) in the Bavarian town of Bamberg is organised every year in honour of the St. Elizabeth Church in the oldest part of the town. This isn’t just about sampling beers from the region’s numerous famous breweries, though. Here the entire Old Town is converted into a non-stop street party with a fairground atmosphere. Enjoy live music, cultural shows, firework displays and the Fisherman’s Joust on the Regnitz River. This sees locals aboard their boats attempt to displace their opponents with the one staying aboard for the longest crowned the winner!
Stuttgart Beer Festival (25th September – 11th October)
Also known as Cannstatter Volksfest or Wasen, this one is the second largest of its kind in Germany. It began in 1818 as a harvest festival and has grown into a massive event offering amusements, live entertainment, oompah bands in traditional costumes, numerous varieties of wurst for you to try and, of course, great volumes of beer across the 7 huge marquees. Spanning two weeks, the Stuttgart Beer Festival in 2015 is one place where you’ll be able to truly gain insight into German beer culture, mingle with locals and enjoy in the shared camaraderie of a good drink well-made.
Munich Oktoberfest (19th September – 4th October)
An important fixture in the Bavarian cultural calendar, the Munich Oktoberfest in 2015 will have more than 14 beer tents this year and enough varieties to have you sampling umpteen steins on all days of the fest. Not only the world’s largest beer festival but also its biggest funfair, celebrations have been held since 1810. All beer denoted as Oktoberfest Beer must be brewed within the city and meet strict requirements (the Reinheitsgebot). This year, the 6 official breweries will serve around 7 million litres of beer to visitors looking to celebrate with food, drink, traditional costumes and much more!
There has been a lot of publicity and, subsequently, confusion surrounding the terms within travel insurance that relate to alcohol consumption. The Flexicover policy wording states: “We do not expect you to avoid alcohol on your trips or holidays but we will not cover any claims arising because you have drunk so much alcohol that your judgement is seriously affected…”
Essentially, you needn’t avoid alcohol on your holidays – drinking responsibly shouldn't pose a problem; after all it can be relaxing. Just make sure to check the exact terms of any policy so you’re aware of the insurer’s attitude.
Whether you’re a true beer enthusiast or would simply love to join in on the celebratory spirit of Germany’s beer festivals in 2015, we at Flexicover are committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.