This weekend in Berlin, beer rules

O.K., this post will only be helpful to those currently tooling around Germany, or elsewhere in the vicinity (so, France, Denmark, Czech Republic, Poland, Austria) who might be looking for something to do this weekend.

If you’re thinking about checking out Berlin, this is a great weekend to do so. The 12th annual International Berlin Beer Festival starts today at noon, Central European Time, and runs right through Sunday.

Germans know how to do festivals in general. If you’re a beer fan, the IBBF is a much more authentic beer party than the larger, and infinitely more kitschy and touristy, Oktoberfest in Munich, which will kick off later next month. At the IBBF, Berliners are in much greater abundance than tourists, so you get the feeling that you’re sitting at one really long, full beer garden with the local and out-of-town Germans on any typical summer day.

Organizers of the festival claim it is the world’s longest beer garden: It stretches 2.2 kilometers (1.4 miles) down Berlin’s imposing Karl-Marx-Allee, from Frankfurter Tor to Strausberger Platz. This year, 260 breweries from 86 countries will be present, offering 1,800 different beers. Turnout is expected to hit 800,000.

While the festival always draws a lot of international beers, its main focus is usually on German beers.

Not so this year. For the first time, the festival is throwing its spotlight on a foreign beer producer: The Czech Republic. Thirty-two Czech brewers will be here, and many of them small breweries that are not always easy to find even in the Czech Republic.

So, make sure to check the festival out, especially if by luck you’re just now passing through Berlin.

Hours are:

  • Friday: Noon – Midnight
  • Saturday: 10 a.m – Midnight
  • Sunday: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

All times local.