Only a handful of pubs and publicans are known internationally. The White Horse, under the guidance of Mark Dorber, deserves its worldwide reputation for beautifully kept cask ale, as well as imported beers, outstanding food, and great special events like this one.
Toronado Barley Wine Festival, San Francisco, CA
San Diego Strong Ale Festival, Pizza Port, Carlsbad, CA
And in 2004…
Tummien Oluiden Tori (Marketplace for Dark Beers), Tampere, Finland
Finland is the best place to try winter beers in their most challenging setting!
Great British Winter Ales Festival, Manchester, UK
Great festival with a fine array of heartier English ales. Less crowded and hectic than the Great British Beer Festival and at a time of year when travel is cheaper.
The Great Alaskan Beer and Barleywine Festival, Anchorage, AK
Alaska is one of America’s under-appreciated brewing states, and Anchorage in the dead of winter is a perfect time to enjoy barley wine-style ales, doppelbocks and winter warmers from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. The festival is small and not widely publicized, but is well known to beer writers and other cognoscenti. Anchorage’s compact downtown offers several brewpubs and an excellent beer bar called Humpy’s.
Friday the Firkinteenth, Grey Lodge Public House, Philadelphia, PA, www.greylodge.com
A cask-conditioned beer festival held every Friday the 13th in this tiny neighborhood bar in northeast Philadelphia. The timing is entirely at the mercy of the calendar. Really fun, with nine to 11 casks from different regional craft breweries. Another Friday the 13th occurs in August 2004.
Chicago Real Ale Festival, Chicago, IL, www.realalefestival.com
America’s premier cask ale event, bigger and better every year.
Helsinki Beer Festival, Helsinki, Finland
Held in a former cable factory, where Nokia manufactured huge spools of underwater cable before the company turned to cell phones. Great range of beers, especially from Scandinavia and the Baltic region, and always a chance to taste the indigenous sahti.
Starkbierzeit, Munich, Germany
A Lenten tradition in this strongly Catholic city, Starkbierzeit is a two-week period when several of Munich’s breweries serve potent doppelbocks. The original festival venue is Paulaner Keller. Centuries ago, the Paulaner monks brewed the first Lenten strong beer, known today as Paulaner Salvator. Lowenbrau offers its own extra-strength beer, Triumphator, and serves it up in the enormous Lowenbraukeller along with an evening of traditional Bavarian entertainment.
8th Annual Boonville Beer Festival, Boonville, CA, www.avbc.com
“The bahlest steinber hornin’, chiggrul gormin’, frattey seepin’ tidrick in the heelch of the Boont Region n’ further on.” That’s Boontling (the local Boonville dialect) for “a great party with a whole lot of really good stuff to eat and drink.” Boonville is a small hamlet nestled in the middle of the picturesque Anderson Valley, described as one of the West Coast’s most beautiful places. Anderson Valley Brewing Co. sponsors this outdoor celebration of beers among the redwoods, inviting over 50 brewers from all over the West Coast (and around the USA) to come to Boonville and pour their wares. Quintuples the population of Boonville.
Tour de Geuze, various sites in Pajottenlandl, Belgium, www.come.to/horal
Organized by HORAL (High Council for Authentic Lambic-beers). During this event, several authentic lambic brewers and coupeurs/blenders open their breweries to the public. A shuttle bus travels from one brewery to another, situated all over the area southwest of Brussels.
31st Cambridge Beer Festival, England, www.camra.org.uk
Cambridge, beautiful city, Jesus Green.
San Diego Real Ale Festival, Carlsbad, CA, www.pizzaport.com
13th Spontaneously-fermenting Beer Festival, Buggenhout-Opstal, Belgium, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lambic, kriek-lambic, faro, gueuze, kriek, frambozen, with many rare examples; also homebrewed Opstalse Tripel. Venue: Tapperij Beukenhof, Broekstraat 18, Buggenhout-Opstal, a 20-minute walk from Heizijde station.
Danish Beer Festival, Copenhagen
Certainly a winner, especially because they have the good sense to bring All About Beer news editor Gregg Glaser on board each year. Puts that fest right over the top.
Caledonian Beer Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland, www.caledonian-brewery.co.uk
Annual beer festival at Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh. The brewery is highly traditional with direct-flame boiling coppers.
12th Fête de la Bière et de la Musique Festives, Lausanne, Switzerland, www.fetedelabiere.ch, www.abo-ch.org, email@example.com
Every June, the beer consumer group, l’Association des Buveurs d’Orges (ABO), organizes the biggest beer-related event in Switzerland. It takes place under tents on the splendid lakeshore near Lausanne, complete with a panorama of the French Alps opposite. The fest itself is pretty much a free rock festival with over 200 different beers, including no global brands and quite a few rare beers from Europe and Canada. The afternoon sessions are family oriented.
Beerpassion Weekend in Antwerp, Belgium, www.beerpassion.com
Brouwer-beerfestival, Oudenaarde (between Ghent and Courtrai), Belgium
Featuring brown ales from the renowned local breweries of Oudenaarde.
La Fira de la Cervesa, Barcelona, Spain, www.firagirona.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vermont Brewers Festival, Burlington, VT, 802-244-6828, www.vermontbrewers.com
At the Waterfront Park in Burlington, a wonderful site, with views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. Very family friendly.
Oregon Brewers Festival, Portland, OR, 503-778-5917, www.oregonbrewfest.com
The Royal Stumble, Nodding Head Brewpub, Philadelphia, PA
A fun and entertaining beer fest. Beers are from regional breweries. The event is based on wrestling, with brewer’s encouraged to come costumed. The first brewery to run out of beer wins the “belt” for the year.
Through the summer, watch for the Bierborse, a traveling festival that sets up in a different German city every weekend (www.bierborse.com).
Beer lovers planning to visit Great Britain should consult the CAMRA website, as there are dozens of festivals listed every month (www.camra.org.uk).
September 16-18 2005—Poperinge Hop Festival, Poperinge, Belgium This village hop festival is held once every three years.