If you missed the world's largest beer drinking festival, that does not mean you missed your chance to join the Germans in an epic drinking event. The country is littered with great Volksfests (folk festivals) throughout the year.
Often centered on the brews and weins (wines) that shaped important aspects of the country's culture, these celebrations are more than just an excuse to imbibe. While some are straight copies of Munich's Oktoberfest and even go by the same name, our listing of a year's worth of German drinking festivals will help you delve deeper into Germany deep connection to the Fest.
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Starkbierzeit translates to "Strong Beer Time" and is a love fest for some of Germany's strongest beers. Started in the 17th century by Paulaner monks, expect to find hearty bocks on the getränkekarte (drinks menu). While it is still too cold to get outside, the strong beers help fortify the drinkers through the last cold gusts of winter winter.
Unlike Oktoberfest, this Munich festival is largely ignored by outsiders making it a (mostly) local-centric event.
- When: March 4th - April 8th, 2017
- Where: Munich
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Better known within Germany as the Stuttgarter Frühlingsfest or simply Cannstatter Wasen by local Swabians, this is the largest Spring Festival in Europe with its fall event on the same grounds second only to Munich's Oktoberfest.
Started in 1818, this event also has brass bands, rides (including the world’s largest mobile Riesenrad) and plenty of beer. Fans of the festival say it offers a more authentic experience than its more well-known rival.
Munich also has a Spring festival worth checking out.
- When: April 21st to May 13th, 2018
- Where: Stuttgart
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Baumblütenfest (“Tree Blossom Festival”) is the ideal kick-off to summer. Just 30 minutes away from the capital, this agricultural mecca offers dozens of varieties of fruit wines.
The festival began as a simple celebration of local goods but has grown to welcome thousands of visitors into its festival grounds and directly into the orchards that provide its sweet, tart and totally fresh wines.
- When: Begins April 28th, 2018
- Where: Werder (Havel)
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Bayern doesn't have a monopoly on great German drinking festivals, but it does hold more than its fair share. The Bergkirchweih is the third largest in the region with the biggest open-air beer garden in Europe. Around one million people (roughly ten times the city’s population) flood into Erlangen each festival season and overfill its many kellers to create a giant party atmosphere.
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- When: May 17th to 28th, 2018
- Where: Erlangen
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In the beer-laden Bamberg region, Kulmbach's “beer week” is all about the brew. Established fairly recently in 1939, the popular Kulmbacher brewery hosts the event with features on specialty beers like their mighty "Kulminator 28", one of the strongest beers in the world.
- When: July 29th to August 6th, 2017
- Where: Kulmbach
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Every August and September, over a million wine aficionados pour into the city of Stuttgart to celebrate the "Stuttgart Wine Village", one of the largest and most charming wine festivals in Germany. At 120 traditionally decorated alcoves, you can try over 250 regional wines, including Trollinger, Riesling, Kerner, and Müller-Thurgau, complementing Swabian delicacies such as Spaetzle and Maultaschen.
- When: August 2nd - 6th, 2017
- Where: Bad Dürkheim
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The Internationales Berliner Bierfestival is leaps and bounds away from the German tradition of only featuring local beers. The "Mile of Beer" welcomes beers from around the world. From the mainstream best-sellers to a growing microbrew scene to beers that are downright weird (banana beer anyone?), the mile-long offerings along Karl-Marx-Allee have something for every type of beer drinker.
- When: August 4th to 6th, 2017
- Where: Berlin
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It's not all about the Wurst (sausage) at this festival. Taking place along the German Wine Road, this is billed as the world's biggest wine festival with more than 600,000 visitors. Celebrated for almost 600 years, wine enthusiasts can sample everything from local rieslings to Eisweins.
- When: September 8th - 12th & 15th - 18th, 2017
- Where: Bad Dürkheim