Top 10 Winter Beer Festivals for 2011
Winter beer festivals offer a welcome respite from the cabin fever that sets in this time of year for many folks. You can show off your endurance by sipping brews in February outdoors in Michigan, or take a road trip to festivals in warmer climes for a change from the snowy scenery in your home town.
Many of these festivals will feature the extreme, higher alcohol beers that craft brewers produce to help you stay warm even in the most frigid conditions. Most of the beer festivals benefit local charities – click on the links to find out more.
So check the weather forecast, put on the tire chains if needed, and hit the road to one of these Top 10 Winter Beer Festivals. (Except for the one in Hawaii; that might be a hard one to get to via the highway).
As always, drive carefully and drink responsibly.
Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines
Thursday, January 6, to Saturday, January 8, 2011. Vail, Colorado.
The schedule includes presentations by craft brewing heavy hitters Steven Pauwels of Boulevard Brewing (Kansas City, Missouri), Chris Bauweraerts from Brasserie d’Achouffe in Achouffe, Belgium, Sam Calagione of Delaware’s Dogfish Head and Adam Avery of Avery Brewing in Boulder, Colorado. And seeing as how you’ll be at one of the top skiing areas in the country, you might be able to squeeze in a few runs down the slope. http://www.bigbeersfestival.com/
Winter Warmer Beer Festival
Featuring many local breweries from Asheville, a.k.a. “Beer City USA,” and surrounding Southeastern states, this fourth annual festival will take place in a larger venue because of the success of last year’s event. Tickets include a souvenir tasting mug, unlimited beer samples, live music and food. http://www.brewscruise.com/beerfest/
Winter Brew Fest
Friday, January 28, 2011, Denver, Colorado.
Residents of this microbrewery-rich city on the edge of the Rocky Mountains love their beer festivals. There will be samples from both local and national craft brewers, and organizers promise live music, food and various other vendors in the historic venue of Mile High Station, once the home of Midwest Steel and Ironworks. http://www.denverbrewfest.com
Jupiter Craft Brewers Festival
Saturday, January 29, 2011, Jupiter, Florida.
In its fifth year, this South Florida beer festival will have more beers and more room at its Roger Dean Stadium venue than in previous years. More than 175 craft beers will be available to sample, along with live music and an intriguingly named “Silent Disco.” And being in Florida in January, there’s a good chance that T-shirts and shorts may be appropriate festival garb. http://www.jupitercraftbrewersfestival.com/
Saturday, February 12, 2011, Omaha, Nebraska.
This fifth annual celebration of big beers promises nearly 300 of the most extreme beers the world offers, including dopplebocks, barley wines, Belgian dubbels, tripels and quads, and rare and usual beer styles, with most of them coming in at more than 7 percent alcohol by volume. http://www.beercornerusa.com (Editors note: A previous version contained incorrect information on this event).
San Francisco Beer Week
Saturday, February 11 to Monday, February 20, 2011, San Francisco, California.
There will be hundreds of events scheduled throughout the Bay Area in this California celebration of all things beer, including a Double IPA festival and a Barleywine Festival. Special releases, beer-pairing events and luminaries from the craft beer world will fill the 10 days of this “week.” http://www.sfbeerweek.org/
Strong Beer Festival
Saturday, February 19, 2011, Phoenix, Arizona.
Expect a wide variety of styles and types of high-alchohol beers from dozens of craft breweries at this 11th annual desert city fest. It kicks off the statewide Arizona Beer Week, which runs through Saturday, February 26. Food will be available for purchase. http://www.azbrewguild.com
Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival
Saturday, February 26, 2011, in Comstock Park, just north of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
There will be plenty of fermented offerings to warm your bones at this outdoor winter beer festival. To be fair, there will be tents where attendees can seek warmth while sampling more than 250 different beers from more than 45 Michigan craft breweries. Hats, mittens, boots and long-johns are still recommended. http://michiganbrewersguild
Philly Craft Beer Festival
Saturday, March 5, 2011, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The City of “Beer-therly” Love (ouch!) knows how to throw a beer festival. This event at the Philadelphia Cruise Terminal, broken into two sessions, will feature beer samples from some of the finest craft brewers in the country, demonstrations and seminars from industry leaders, and complimentary shuttle bus service. http://www.phillycraftbeerfest.com
Kona Brewers Festival
Saturday, March 12, 2011, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
What better place to enjoy a winter beer festival than in paradise? This 16th annual celebration of The Aloha State’s craft brewing heritage will feature tastings from local and U.S. West Coast breweries, as well as plenty of island-style cuisine from 25 Hawaiian chefs. And, yes, at some point you may be called upon to hula. http://www.konabrewersfestival.com/
Also, check out this story from sister site Road Trips for Families: Top 10 Winter Festivals for Families