5 Beer Fests Worth Traveling for in 2019

It’s a brand new year and that means you have 12 months to sample as many new beers (and some old favorites) in 2019 as possible. One of the best (and fastest) ways to mark a lot of unique beers and breweries off your to-drink list is by attending a beer festival.

With the skyrocketing popularity of craft beer, new beer festivals have been popping up at a steady pace. This means a lot of Americans may already have a craft beer festival in their home town or within a short drive. But there are some craft beer fests that are worthy of a road trip or mini vacation. These are the top beer festivals to look forward to in 2019.

Extreme Beer Fest

Boston, Massachusetts | February 1-2, 2019

The team at BeerAdvocate organizes Boston’s Extreme Beer Fest. The two-day affair is held at the Seaport World Trade Center and boasts more than 400 beers from more than 120 different breweries. Due to the popularity of the event, attendees buy tickets for a three-and-a-half-hour tasting session. Only independent craft brewers are invited to pour. VIP passes get you access to early entry, a private lounge and a swag bag of treats. But the real reason to come to Extreme Beer Fest is the beer, including insane exclusives like Dogfish Head’s Possibly the Next Top Rated Beer on BeerAdvocate, a beer described as a Double New England Maple Pastry Black Coffee Milkshake IPA. Yep, sounds extreme.

2018 Great American Beer Festival Dogfish Head Brewery Sam Calagione
Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival. Brewers Association


Washington, D.C. | May 17, 2019

Savor is a smaller event than others on this list, but by no means less impressive. Ninety breweries participate in this food and beer experience. Instead of simply refilling a tasting cup over and over, at Savor, you get to sample the beer along with a perfectly paired small plate. This makes it a double treat for beer fans and foodies alike. This is also a premiere venue to meet brewery owners and head brewers, and get insider info on your favorite beers.

Oregon Brewers Festival

Portland, Oregon | July 24-27, 2019

One of the country’s longest-running beer fests, Oregon beer fans party hard for four straight days. Up to 85,000 beer drinkers descend on the Oregon Brewers Festival to drink in the best beer that the state has to offer. The event is free to attend but requires a festival mug, and beer tokens are sold for $1 each. Those tokens are exchanged for sample pours. In 2018, the festival offered 80 beers from 80 different breweries across Oregon, Washington, California, and beyond.

2018 Great American Beer Festival
The turnout at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival. Brewers Association

Great American Beer Festival

Denver, Colorado | October 3-5, 2019

The Great American Beer Festival is the biggest party of them all. More than 4,000 beers will be available to sample. You’ll never be able to drink them all, so instead head to the festival website for a list of the breweries and a downloadable map. Then, formulate your battle plan. Pace your consumption by taking time out of your busy drinking schedule to visit the pavilions and get a deeper understanding about your favorite breweries and beer styles.

Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beers

Chicago, Illinois |  November 2019

Do you like your beer with a little extra? Wood and barrel-aging impart a wide range of wonderful flavors to beer, and if you like sort of thing, the Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beers is for you. Over 400 beers, meads, and ciders are poured ranging from funky wild farmhouse ales to sticky bourbon barrel stouts. It’s a mecca for the most unique and distinct brews on the planet.

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