Beer Fests of the Month

The 14 Best Beer Fests To Visit in 2015

Published February 10th, 2015

There are many things that rock about this country, but one of the coolest things is how big the U.S. is. With its size, comes the benefit of living in a country where at any given moment you could travel to a heat-fueled desert, the arctic tundra, the bayou, or one of our many beloved cities. Road trips and traveling are a part of the the American fabric. Coincidentally enough, so is craft beer, which is why it only makes sense - as your civic duty - that you embark on a road trip (or heck, fly clear across the country) to soak in the wild wonder that is the American beer fest. Here are some of our favorite beer fests worth packing your bags for.

The Festival (St. Petersburg FL & October 16-17)
Put on by the Shelton Brothers (an East Coast alcohol-distribution company), The Festival (coincidentally enough) is more than just a festival – it's a cultural event that helps to breathe life and vibrance into the local craft beer community. Featuring rare beers beyond the standard IPA, The Festival brings beers from the world-over to their festival, alongside the hardworking brewers who create the magic. Breweries like Cantillon (including head brewer Jean-Pierre Van Roy), Hill Farmstead (and brewer Shaun Hill) and other rock stars of the craft beer world made time to come to The Festival (2014) in L.A. Who knows what the Shelton Brothers have in store for 2015? We'll keep you posted. Click here for more info

Northern Lights Rare Beer Fest (St. Paul, MN, March 28)
Craft beer loves typically foam at the mouth at the chance to sip rare beers, in the same way that record collectors get excited over first-press vinyls. If rare beers is your cup of tea (or keg of beer), then the Northern Lights Rare Beer Fest is your Holy Grail. Featuring rare, vintage, and one-off speciality beers, this Minnesota-based festival is akin to gliding down a rainbow, landing in a pot of gold, and getting carried off into the sunset atop of unicorn. In other words, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. If you blink you'll miss it. So stop blinking. Click here for more info

East Nashville Beer Festival (Nashville, TN, April 11)
Put on by Rhizome Productions, the East Nashville Beer Festival is now in its fifth year, and remains the lone beer festival in East Nashville. The festival is held in honor of Curtis McArthur, a TN-based craft beer lover and advocate who passed away in 2014. Folks throughout the country who are active in craft beer grew to know and love Curtis, and this year's festival will help pay homage to his legacy. During the event, there'll be a festival-wide toast in his honor. Proceeds from this event will go toward Ride for Reading. Click here for more info

Sly Fox Bock Festival and Goat Race (Pottstown, PA, May 3)
Held on the first Sunday of May every year, this has become one of the most famed and favorited beer fests in the region. Nearly 3,000 beer lovers flock to the Sly Fox Production brewery grounds in Pottstown to take part in a stellar German affair, including one of the largest offerings of bock-style beer in the US, complemented by German food to die for. Brewmaster Brian O'Reilly cooks up killer beers (Slacker Bock, Instigator Doppelbock, and Helles Bock to name a few), for the event. And, in what has become an annual affair, the festival marks the release of Maibock, which is tapped immediately after the goat race.

Oh, what, you want to know more about those goats? Yup, actual goats race each year (in fact, the festival was moved to Pottstown this year to provide more room to run), and the race is even displayed on a jumbotron for your viewing pleasure. Beer. Goats. Food. Family fun. Satisfied? Click here for more info

Powderkeg Beer & Chili Festival (Exeter NH, Oct 3rd)
When late September and early October hit, the eyes of the world fall onto New England, for the best in fall foliage. It just so happens you can enjoy your leaf-peeping in between sips of craft beer and spoonfuls of chili, thanks to the annual Powderkeg Beer & Chili Festival. This year's event coincides with the 16th Annual Fall Festival, making this a bonafide authentic New England experience you can't miss. Sample craft beers while trying out (and voting for) chili creations offered by local restaurants, and come see why New England invented the concept of fall. Click here for more info

Belle City Brewfest (Racine WI, May 9th)
Racine's beer festival is unique for so many reasons. For starters, the beer at the festival is poured only by the actual representatives of the breweries, meaning you get first-hand access to the people behind the potions. The festival also features a home-brew contest. The winner of the contest gets their beer produced by a professional brewery for a year (a once in a lifetime opportunity). Be sure to check back for the details. Click here for more info

All Ale To The Queen Beer Carnival (Charlotte, NC, March 28)
Superfly Fablous Events is no stranger to organizing unforgettable beer festivals, and they've really given it their all with All Ale To The Queen. The name itself should give you an idea of how unique this event is. Nowhere else will you find things like the "Queen's Twin Cloning Challenge" or the "Joker's Wild Strain Brew Off" as well as a 10-station Mixology Bar and Mobile Infusers that infuses everything from apple pie to chocolate.

Beyond beer you'll get belly dancers, jugglers, aerial performances, costumes and more. If you ever wondered what it'd be like to walk through Wonderland with a cold craft beer in your hand, All Ale To The Queen is your best chance. Click here for more info

Philly Craft Beer Festival (Philadelphia PA, March 7)
Named one of the top 10 beer festivals in the entire country (by Forbes Traveler), The Philly Craft Beer Festival benefits from being housed on a former naval airstrip, at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. More than 75 breweries from Philly, the US and overseas make their way to Philly to offer the ultimate best in all of craft beer. And anyone who's been to Philly knows how much the city loves its food, which is why it's no surprise that Philly's best food trucks will also be on hand to keep you fed and happy. Proceeds from the event go to benefit the Philadelphia Committee to Benefit the Children. Click here for more info

North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival (Huntersville NC, May 8 - 9)
May in North Carolina is sort of like frolicking in the meadow at the Garden of Eden. Drinking craft beer, listening to live music, and spending time in North Carolina in May is even better. You can't beat a weekend of camping, craft beer, and concerts in the Carolinas, can you? Here's your chance to enjoy NC's outdoors, stellar music, and vibrant beer scene, at a pace you can really sink your teeth in. Click here for more info

Newport Beach Beerfest (Newport Beach, CA May 9)
West Coast craft beer lovers know firsthand how successful the events put on by Rock Star Beer Fests are. Newport Beach Beerfest is no exception. Get your hands on at least 100 favorite breweries' concoctions (including Stone, Bruery, Smog City and Pizza Port) as well as the best music a beer festival has to offer (including Joshua Tree - the U2 cover band) and False Puppet. This year's event will feature surprise musical  guests, food trucks, and three times the number of bathrooms from last year's event. Click here for more info

Pensacola Craft Beer Festival (Pensacola, FL Date TBD)
Many people cry into their craft beers when summer comes to a close, but didn't you know you can enjoy the perfect weather all year round with a quick trip to Pensacola? That's just one of the many reasons why it's worth your while to go to the Pensacola Craft Beer Festival, where you'll enjoy beer tastings, entertainment, food vendors, artwork, and a little thing we all like to call sunshine. Click here for more info

Firestone Walker Invitational (Paso Robles, CA, May 30)
The "Invitational" sounds pretty legit, doesn't it? And it should! Beyond just a beer festival, it's also an opportunity for leaders in the craft beer revolution to congregate and share their knowledge and passion with likeminded folks. Want to take part in this festival? The ground rules are pretty straightforward: bring a session beer and a special beer, accompanied by the artisan who created it. Live music will be playing all day as well. Click here for more info

Festival of Barrel Aged Beers (FOBAB) (Chicago, IL, Date TBD )
Come rejoice in the country's largest celebration of wood and barrel-aged beers. This is your opportunity to taste some of the rarest beers around, including one-off beers made specifically for this event. With 12 years under its belt, FOBAB has certainly enjoyed continued success, and last year expanded its festival to a two-day period. Come discover the unique flavor and styles that can only be found from barrel-aged beers, in one of the most exciting cities on the planet. Click here for more info

Great Taste of the Midwest (Madison WI, August 8)
You absolutely cannot consider a beer fest road trip without taking in the impressive Great Taste of the Midwest, held in Madison, WI. It's one of the premier beer festivals in the entire country, with more than a hundred brewpubs and breweries coming together in this Midwest city to take in the sights, sounds, and tastes of Beer Fest Mecca. With nearly 3 decades of experience at this, you can be sure that the folks behind Great Taste know how to put on a good time that's worth the drive or flight. Click here for more info

Get your bags packed, and help us pack ours!

We hope we've made it easier for you to plan out your next big trip, to coincide with the best beer fests this country has to offer. Now why not be a pal and return the favor? Let us know which beer fests we missed, that we ought to pack our bags for.

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