Thirsty? You look like you needed another excuse to drink. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best drinking festivals around the world.
From the classic Oktoberfest to the competitive wine-soaked battle in Spain, you’re sure to find a reason to pack your bags and head to the best vacation you’ll never remember.
When: September 22nd – October 2nd, 2018
Where: Munich, Germany
Once a year the world’s largest beer festival takes over the streets of Munich, filling patron’s bellies with beer, brats, and Barbarian fare at the one and only Oktoberfest.
Over 6 million beer-loving visitors make the pilgrimage to this German city for 18 days of boozy eats, drinks, carnival rides, and parades. Come early, while the 14 themed beer halls offer plenty of sights and delicious drinks to quench your thirst, they fill up quickly.
When: October 1st – 7th, 2018
Where: London, England
Pinkies up, London is showing us the proper way to party. If you’re looking for crazy innovative concoctions like the flaming marshmallow cocktail, look no further. London Cocktail Week features over 200 bars, a cocktail village, master classes, tours, tastings, and just about any cocktail you can imagine.
One ticket grants you access to the participating bars and the £5 special cocktail they’re offering. With over 200 locations to sample, planning ahead is recommended (but not required – stumbling through the streets of London may or may not be on our bucket list).
Official Website: Drinkup.London
When: September 12th – 16th, 2018
Where: Bardstown, Kentucky
If barrel races, cowboy boots, and bourbon sounds like your kind of party, you’ve come to the right place. For one week every fall, Bourbon aficionados and distilleries gather just a half hour southeast of Louisville to celebrate the storied history of Kentucky’s most renowned industry.
Join more than 53,000 people from all over the world to taste the finest Bourbon, two-step your way onto the dance floor, and cheer on your favorite teams in the festival’s famous Bourbon Barrel Relay Races. And that’s just the start to a full week of fun!
Official Website: Kentucky Bourbon Festival
When: June 29th – 30th, 2019
Where: Haro, Spain
If fancy tastings aren’t your thing, maybe shooting wine at your friends through a Nerf gun is. Haro Wine Festival is not for the faint of heart, before drenching your friends with the sweet Spanish nectar, you must make the trek up a mountain 5kms away.
All night parties both before and after the fight take place in the city. Once at the battleground, patrons are granted access to the trucks, water guns, and buckets filled with wine, no need to BYOW. Make sure to pack a white colored shirt (and some Advil).
When: October 20th – 22nd, 2018
Where: Denver, Colorado
Taking place in the unofficial microbrew capital of the world, the Great American Beer Festival boasts the largest collection of U.S. beers under one roof. Competitions for over 96 categories of beer take place during this jam-packed 3-day festival.
Hundreds of breweries offer tastings, educational presentations, food pairings, and multiple hangout areas, including a silent disco.
Official Website: Great American Beer Festival
When: August 7th – 11th, 2018
Where: London, England
Across the pond, our British friends are gearing up to celebrate 40 years of the Great British Beer Festival. To celebrate, the festival is offering an online beer finder. Check in weeks before the festival for an online directory of all the beers available, so that you can plan out your perfect tastings beforehand.
In addition to sampling the largest collection of English beers, shop & book signings, food stalls, and tutored tastings are available during the festival.
Official Website: Great British Beer Festival
When: June 14th – 18th, 2018
Where: Bordeaux, France
The Bordeaux Wine Festival, taking place every two years just an hour from the coast of France, is about as close to a true sommelier experience as you can get.
Vineyard passes, fireworks, and a multimedia light show take place every evening. A digital tasting pass grants you access to 13 tastings, and plays a part in their eco-friendly implementations.
Official Website: Bordeaux Wine Festival
When: July 20th – August 26th 2018
Where: Qingdao, China
Dubbed the “Asian Oktoberfest,” this month-long celebration is filled with plenty of beer drinking and parties. Taken straight from their website, “As a foreigner, you’ll be swamped with offers of free beers to “GanBei 干杯.”
I’ve gone to the beer festival in the past and not had to buy a single beer. The Chinese are generous and kind, they are happy to show foreigners a good time.” In addition to free beer, a bikini contest, parades, and carnival events are held during this month long festival.
Official Website: That’s Qingdao
When: December 9th, 2018
As if you needed any more of a reason to visit the Caribbean, the Rum & Beer Festival taking place at the Rockley Golf and Country Club in Barbados is the perfect opportunity to quench your thirst.
This festival offers over 100 different tastings and a highly competitive Rum & Cocktail Wars. Caribbean music, cocktails, and incredible beaches make this the perfect vacation opportunity for rum & beer lovers.
Official Website: Caribbean Rum and Beer Festival
When: September TBA 2019
Where: Seattle, Washington
Get your limes and salt ready; the largest Northwest Tequila Festival is returning this fall. 170+ bottles of tequila and local grub await your taste buds.
A cocktail competition (winner gets a trip to Mexico!), speakers, and an exhibit hall bring the best tequila in the world to Seattle, Washington for a festival you’re sure to love.
Official Website: Northwest Tequila Fest
Feature image credit: Bordeaux Tourisme
Rad's top 10 action sports, adventure events and music festivals in 2019
Rad's top 10 bars & nightlife guides