Celebrator Home



The “Berlin Mile” : An Open-Air Brewfest with 1,700 Beers!
By Don Scheidt

Belgium, the U.S.A. and England are renowned for excellent annual celebrations of all things beer, but what about Germany? Sure, Germans put on some big party-time festivals, like Munich’s annual Oktoberfest, but Oktoberfest is hardly all about the beer; only six big Munich brewing names (two of them Belgian-owned!) are allowed to pour, and they all pour “Fest lager,” pretty much the same style of beer. In a country with 1,200 breweries and a well-regarded range of brewing styles, Oktoberfest just isn’t very representative of what German brewers have to offer. This has been common in Germany; regional beer festivals have been easy to find, but festivals featuring a wide range of German beers have been thin on the ground.

The first International Berliner Beer Festival was planned and held in the reunited city of Berlin in August 1997, featuring 115 breweries from 44 countries with more than 500 different beers. The outdoor festival stretched 1.2 kilometers (0.7 miles) down the wide sidewalk of Karl Marx Allee, near the center of the city. Over the course of three days, at least 200,000 visitors sampled the widest range of beers ever gathered in one place in Germany. The festival, organized by PRÄSENTA GmbH, was wildly successful, exceeding the organizers’ estimates, and it’s been an annual hit since then, sprawling for at least a mile down the Allee, earning the nickname “Berliner Biermeile” or “Berliner Beer Mile.” German brewers are prominent at the festival, but beers have been featured from other European countries, Africa, Asia and the Americas.

Astonishment at the sheer variety of beer on offer will quickly give way to happy beery enjoyment.

The ninth edition of the International Berliner Beer Festival takes place August 5–7, 2005. The “longest beer garden in the world” hosts more than 240 breweries from 80 countries, pouring more than 1,750 different beers. If the growth trend in attendees continues this year, PRÄSENTA GmbH is looking at festival attendance in excess of 600,000 visitors. This year’s festival will highlight beers from Thuringia, the German state just north of Bavaria, but there will be plenty of beers from other German regions as well.

Can’t make it this year? Save up and plan for a 2006 visit to the “Beer Mile,” which begins on the first Friday in August and continues throughout the weekend. The location is easy to reach via Berlin’s excellent public transportation system. Underground trains stop at three stations along the “Beer Mile,” so there’s no need to worry about driving. From the U.S., flights to Berlin usually require at least one connection at another gateway city, such as London, Amsterdam or Frankfurt.

Some savvy travelers fly to a gateway city and then catch flights on low-budget carriers, such as EasyJet, Ryanair or Air Berlin. However you get there, if you haven’t had the chance to sample this impressive brewfest, put it on your calendar. Astonishment at the sheer variety of beer on offer will quickly give way to happy beery enjoyment, sampling from the widest range of German (and other) beers you’ll ever see in one place. I’ll be there this year for my second “Beer Mile.” Maybe I’ll see you there too. Prost!

Ninth International Berliner Beer Festival
Karl Marx Allee
(From Strausberger Platz to Frankfurter Tor stations)
Berlin, Germany
View Website

Don Scheidt is an associate editor of the Celebrator Beer News and author of the Northwest BrewPage (nwbrewpage.com). He also writes about beer for the Seattle Weekly (seattleweekly.com) and can be reached via e-mail at dgs1300@hotmail.com.


You will be redirected to the Real Beer Search Library and then back to this site.
© 2005 Celebrator Beer News. All rights reserved. SUBSCRIBE | ADVERTISE | CONTACT US | WHOLESALE | THE ARCHIVES