Top North American Beer Festivals – Where to be for beer enthusiasts on both sides of the 49th Parallel

North America loves its beer, and the craft and independent brewing sector of the industry continues to grow as new breweries are opening their doors every year.  With hundreds of breweries across the both Canada and the United States offering new flavors, brands and styles, it is nearly impossible to try them all.  So, this is where beer festivals come in, as they are your best option to sample as many craft beers as possible.

We have researched and selected ten must hit festivals that are all about beer from coast to coast to coast in North America for craft beer enthusiasts residing on both sides of the 49th Parallel.  It may be impossible to catch all these shows in one year, but it makes for a pretty good bucket list.

Calgary International Beerfest

When: May 3rd – 4th, 2019

Where: BMO Centre – Stampede Park – Calgary, AB Canada

Why we selected this festival: The Calgary International Beerfest brings the beer world together at Canada’s largest beer festival. Rated as one of the best beer festivals in the world, with 700+ beers from 200+ breweries, and so many innovative destinations within the festival, your biggest challenge will be deciding where to start.

This amazing event allows you to explore the emerging craft spirit industry in Distillery District along with a wide range of ciders, meads, and other beverages to go with the beers and spirits – there really is something for everyone.

For more information on this event: https://albertabeerfestivals.com/festivals/calgary-international-beerfest/

Ticket Prices: $19.99 – $49.99 (CAD)

Follow on Twitter: @ABBbeerfestivals

Follow on Facebook: @ABBbeerfestivals

Follow on Instagram: @abbeerfestivals

Ottawa BeerFest

When: May 10th – 11th, 2019

Where: Aberdeen Pavilion – Lansdowne, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Why we selected this festival: The Ottawa Beerfest will be celebrating it’s 5th year and invites you once again to celebrate our growing brewing industry and taste more than 100 craft beers from across Ontario and Quebec in a bigger and better venue.

The Ottawa Beerfest offers three days of craft breweries (most from Ontario) alongside Beer School and Beer University for those inclined to learn how to brew and appreciate different beers.  Whether you are new to the world of craft beer, or a return visitor, we’ve got you covered for a great time!

For more information on this event: https://www.ottawabeerfest.com

Ticket Prices: $15.00 – $30.00 (CAD)

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Vancouver Craft Beer Week Festival

When: May 31st – June 9th, 2019

Where: PNE Fairgrounds, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Why we selected this festival: In the spring of 2010, just after the completion of the most successful Winter Olympic Games in history, a few craft beer enthusiasts gathered around a table over a pint and a timely idea: to create a week-long festival to showcase ‘real beer’ — and so, the first Vancouver Craft Beer Week was born with the first VCBW Festival hosting about 100 beer aficionados and 15 breweries. A lot has changed over the past 9 years, it has evolved from Canada’s first-ever craft beer week into a multi award-winning cultural engine that showcases music, food, art, and craft beer at events across the city, starting the last Friday of May.

VCBW festival now hosts over 100 craft breweries and cideries pouring more than 300 beers and ciders, plus live music and entertainment and is an event not to be missed this summer.

For more information on this event: https://vancouvercraftbeerweek.com/

Ticket Prices: $39.00 – $140.00 (CAD)

Follow on Twitter: @VCBW

Follow on Facebook: @vancouvercraftbeerweek.com

Follow on Instagram: @vcbw

Savor Craftbeer

When: July 24th – 27th, 2019

Where: National Building Museum Washington, DC, United States

Why we selected this festival: The event 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.

For more information on this event: https://www.savorcraftbeer.com/

Ticket Prices: $135.00 – $175.00 (USD)

Follow on Twitter: @savorcraftbeer

Follow on Instagram:  @brewersassoc

Oregon Brewfest 

When: July 24th – 27th, 2019

Where: Tom McCall Waterfront Park – Portland, OR, United States

Why we selected this festival: As one of the US’s longest-running craft beer festivals, this event sees 80,000 craft beer lovers annually.  For the first time in the festival‘s 32-year history, this event will feature 100% Oregon craft beers and ciders, with more than 85 of these being first-release products that will debut at the event!

From Allegory to Zoiglhaus, the Oregon Brewers Festival will pour 101 products from 93 breweries and eight cider houses in 34 cities––from the Pacific Coast to the High Desert, and the Cascade Mountains to the Willamette Valley. Participants range from the nano-est of nanos to some of the powerhouses of the craft brewing industry. 

Founded in 1988, the Oregon Brewers Festival is one of the nation’s longest-running and best loved craft beer festivals and is considered a craft beer destination.

There is no better place to sip independent craft beers, cider & wine with friends along the banks of the Willamette River, with the Portland skyline as a backdrop to the west and Mt. Hood towering in the east. Around 60,000 beer lovers annually make the pilgrimage to Beervana to drink up what the festival has to offer!

Whether you prefer Belgians or Blondes, Pales or Pilsners, Saisons or Sours – come to the Oregon Brewers Festival and discover all there is to love about Oregon beer and cider!

For more information on this event: http://www.oregonbrewfest.com/ 

Ticket Prices: $20.00 (USD)

Follow on Twitter: @oregonbrewfest 

Follow on Facebook: @OregonBrewFest

Follow on Instagram:  @oregonbrewfest

Toronto’s Festival of Beer

When: July 26th – 28th, 2019

Where: Bandshell Park – Exhibition Place, Toronto, ON, Canada

Why we selected this festival: This year’s event is more than just your average beerfest, it is more like a gigantic party, with over 90 brewers featuring more than 400+ local, national and international brews for you to discover.

From lagers to stouts, fruit beer to ales, we have something for everyone! TFOB features more than just beer; there are several non-malt based beverages available including cider and ready-to-drink beverages! Our food vendors are all well known Toronto food purveyors creating some great grub for you to enjoy! Whether you’re looking for oysters, poutine, or a burger, you’ll be able to find the perfect thing to satisfy your appetite!

For more information on this event: https://beerfestival.ca

Ticket Prices: $40.00 – $115.00 (CAD)

Follow on Twitter: @TOBeerFestival

Follow on Facebook: @TOBeerFestival

Follow on Instagram: @tobeerfestival

Seaport Beerfest

When: August 10th – 11th, 2019

Where: Cunard Centre, Halifax, NS, Canada

Why we selected this festival: This event is the largest craft beer festival on the east coast and is affectionally dubbed “Beer on the Peer.”  The events happen on the spectacular Halifax harbour and features over 110 producers sharing their beers and ciders from all over the globe.

This is the 13th annual Halifax Seaport Beerfest which is Atlantic Canada’s largest beer event and one of the top beerfests nationally.

Armed with their souvenir mug, attendees can sample from the over 300 craft beers, premium imports, seasonals and ciders from around the world in a fun and social setting.

The festival takes place inside the beautiful, spacious Pier 23 Cunard Centre along with Food Trucks and a 400’ waterfront patio to relax on plus this year’s event will have the “The Maine Beer Box,” which is a 40’ shipping container that contains 78 unique craft beers direct from Maine for your sampling pleasure.

For more information on this event: https://seaportbeerfest.com/

Ticket Prices: $51.00 – $79.75 (CAD)

Follow on Twitter: @SeaportBeerfest

Follow on Facebook: @HalifaxSeaportBeerfest

Follow on Instagram: @seaportbeerfest

Great American Beer Festival

When: October 3rd – 6th, 2019

Where: The Colorado Convention Center – Denver, CO, United States

Why we selected this festival: The Great American Beer Festival is the premier U.S. beer festival and competition and since in founding in 1982, GABF has become one of the main pillars of the American beer scene offering over 3800+ beers, 102 different styles.

Each year, GABF represents the largest collection of U.S. beer ever served, in a public tasting event plus a private competition. GABF brings together the brewers and diverse beers that make the U.S. the world’s greatest brewing nation.

This event showcases the diverse beers that make craft brewing one of the fastest-growing segments of the beer, wine and spirits industry. GABF was founded in 1982 and has been growing and evolving along with the American craft brewing industry ever since. The Great American Beer Festival is listed as one of the top 1,000 places in the U.S. to visit.

For more information on this event: https://www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com

Ticket Prices: $70.00 – $160.00 (USD)

Follow on Twitter: @GABF

Follow on Facebook: @Great-American-Beer-Festival

Follow on Instagram: @greatamericanbeerfestival

Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers

When: November 8th – 9th, 2019

Where: UIC Forum – Chicago, IL, United States

Why we selected this festival: The Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer, the world’s largest and most prestigious barrel-aged beer festival and competition.

More than 200 craft breweries from across the United States will showcase their rarest, most innovative wood and barrel-aged brews, competing for top honors in The National Barrel Aged Beer Competition.

Prior to the public tasting sessions, a panel of industry leaders and certified judges evaluate all beer, cider, mead, and perry featured at FoBAB, awarding Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals in 11 style categories as well as ‘Best in Show’ honors

For more information on this event: http://fobab.com/

Ticket Prices: $85.00 (USD)

Follow on Twitter: @fobabofficial

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Follow on Instagram: @fobab

Wild West Brewfest (WWBF)

When: April 26th – 27th, 2019

Where: Tom McCall Waterfront Park – Katy, TX, United States

Why we selected this festival: Spotlight on Business Magazine did not rank the festival but our research and editorial teams both have given top spot to Wild West Brewfest (WWBF) as the festival has over 100 different brewers and 600 beers with over 140,000 square feet of beer that happen this past weekend.  

The event has a VIP climate-controlled tent and an outdoor patio where the VIP patrons can chill out and enjoy rare and barrel-aged beers.

The 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 giving back all of their net profits to charities. The WWBF is run 100% by volunteers, and they could not be better ambassadors for the brewing industry.

This is not just a festival for the love of beer, but for the enjoyment of beer lovers and most of all for a good cause which makes it tops on our listing this year and it should be on the top of your bucket list for next year!

For more information on this event: http://www.wildwestbrewfest.com/

Ticket Prices: $35.00 – $641.67 (USD)

Follow on Twitter: @KatyBrewfest

Follow on Facebook: @Katy-Wild-West-Brew-Fest

Follow on Instagram:  @wildwestbrewfest

Please let us know if you have a favorite Beer Festival that we have missed that you think should be considered for next year’s Top Beer Festival List.

By Jamie Barrie