Fall beer and wine festivals of Europe: Eat, drink and be merry!
Fall in Europe is a gorgeous time of year, and Europeans do not hesitate to throw a festival to give everyone an excuse to let a little loose. Whether you say “Prost,” “Salute” or “Sante,” our guide to European beer and wine festivals will ensure your fall schedule is packed with trips to new places, where you can sample great food and beverages.
A beer-drinker's paradise
If you’re used to sipping on a Coors Light, venturing into the world of European-crafted beers such as Weissbiers (“white beers”) or Weizens (“wheat beers”), Dunkels (dark German lagers), ciders, stouts and porters will be quite an adventure. Bring your taste buds and a designated driver to these great beer festivals across Europe.
British ales for what ails you
Fancy a British ale or cider? Check out the Great British Beer Festival in London at the Olympia. More than 55,000 visitors are expected and you will be able to sample more than 800 real ales, ciders, perries and foreign beers.
Belgian beer weekend
The Grand Place square and the Stock Exchange building in the center of Brussels will transform into a beer-lover’s paradise for one weekend. Taste more than 250 beers from more than 50 breweries from all over Belgium, including Trappist beers, Pilsner beers, cherry lambics and many others. The festival is standing-room only, but you’re guaranteed to make new friends.
Of course, no guide to beer festivals would be complete without mention of the grand-daddy of them all – Oktoberfest! Join more than six million visitors in Munich for an experience like no other. You’ll need reservations to get a seat in one of the huge tents, or go during the week when crowds are lighter and wander around to the various vendors, games and rides.
Here’s a little insider tip: in Germany, if you are drinking beer, you’ll want to say Prost rather than Zum Wohl! (“to your good life!”) which is used when drinking wine. Also, be sure to make eye contact with your friends as you clink glasses.
Nothing to whine about
Since the time of the Romans, Europeans have made wine a part of their culture. Over the last 150 years, modern technology and demand for wine have resulted in an entire industry dedicated to the art and science of winemaking. Today, Europe produces more than half the world’s wine; with that in mind, you must try a glass or two.
German wine route day
Each year on the last Sunday of August, the Deutsche Weinstraße (German wine route) is closed to cars and open for fun as cyclists, hikers and rollerbladers take over the road for Erlebnistag. Wine and food booths are set up along the route, giving you the perfect excuse to sit back and relax for a bit. Sample a Riesling, nosh on a bratwurst and splurge with a piece of apple strudel. You’ll burn off the calories on your way to the next stop!
Wurstmarkt, Bad Dürkheim, Germany
Don’t let the name of this festival fool you – while called the Wurstmarkt (sausage market), this festival claims to be the largest wine festival in the world. You can taste more than 150 wines and a variety of great German food. Get there early to grab a table in one of the covered tents and stay late to ride all of the carnival rides.
Decanter Fine Wine Encounter
True wine enthusiasts will want to save up their money for this fine event hosted every year in London. Be sure to brush up on your knowledge of the “five S” steps for wine tasting: see, swirl, smell, sip and savor.
Do as the locals do
Beer drinkers and wine lovers alike will find plenty of events to keep busy this fall. Pull up a seat at a picnic table and meet some of the locals who can surely give you additional insight on the best brews, wines and more. Just make sure you bring a responsible driver and your camera!