3. Decatur Craft Beer Festival, Decatur, Georgia
There’s still time because the Decatur Craft Beer Festival goes off in October. One hundred plus breweries serve from noon to 5 with proceeds going to fund grants for nonprofits. Thousands show up for this event in downtown Decatur. $40 gets you general admission, $100 VIP gets you complimentary snacks and the chance to sample beers made just for this festival. Only three hundred VIP tickets are available. Proceeds from the VIP tickets go to the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild.
2. The Beer Advocate’s Microbrew Invitational, Boston, MA
The Microbrew Invitational comes in at second place. This festival takes place in June and is hosted by the Alstrom brothers who created the beer-review website, which is so helpful. This fest is limited to microbreweries and attracts the likes of Banded Horn Brewing Co., Foundation Brewing Company, and Fiddlehead Brewing Company to gather in one fantastic place for a super event. And each brewery is charged with bringing a beer to debut. Tickets are $55 and who doesn’t want to hang out at a place like the Seaport Trade Center in Boston and have a beer?
1. The Great Taste of the Midwest, Madison, WI
Number one on the list of large brew fests, the Great Taste of the Midwest is the 2nd longest running craft beer festival and offers over a thousand beers to sample from about one hundred and fifty craft breweries and brew pubs. It overlooks Lake Monona and provides a great reason to visit the capitol of Wisconsin. The number of tickets is limited to prevent lines from becoming too long.
The brewers are typically there pouring so you can talk to them while sampling. The Brewfest runs in August and costs $60 per ticket and attendance can run six thousand strong. An interesting fun fact is the Madison Homebrewers and Tasters Guild, who run this fest, are a non-profit and do it out of a passion for beer and to educate people about beer.
Small Brew Fests Have Their Charms as Well
Of course, we also have opinions on smaller brew fests.
5. Hopped Up Caribou Brew Festival, Lutsen, Minnesota.
For third place, we head to the Lutsen Mountains in Minnesota for the Hopped Up Caribou Brew Festival. The annual event takes place on the mountain above Lake Superior in July. Watch live entertainment, eat and talk to the pros. There is a weekend package if you want to stay. Tickets for the Brewfest are $39 in advance and $49 at the door. The event is open from 3-6pm and features regional and local brewers.