Well, the title reveals everything. It’s all about the beer at this outdoor festival. Take a large number of brewery stands, give people plenty of seats and tables, and wait for things to take their natural course…
- Numerous Austrian breweries present their products to an adoring audience
- Food also available, as well as musical and other entertainment
- Good way to taste your way through the regional beers of Austria without leaving the city
- 2020 dates: TBA (May 22-26 in 2019)
- See also: Craft beer festival | Events in Vienna | Festival of Beer Culture
The Wiener Bierfest
Austria is a land of mountains, lakes, and snow. And what do all the folk do when they come down from the mountains, out of the lakes, and off the snow?
They go for a beer.
Beer is part of the country’s fabric and always with a heavy dose of regional loyalty. Local breweries brew for the local population, even if some of those regional beers can be found throughout the land.
And once a year, many of these breweries club together for the Wiener Bierfest (Vienna beer festival) on the Am Hof square in the city centre.
The list of breweries represented at the festival typically reads like a who’s who of the Austrian beer scene: the big “corporate” breweries like Gösser, major private breweries like Ottakringer, and smaller craft brewers from Vienna and the provinces.
The breweries showcase dozens of different beers, varying from non-alcoholic versions through to hefty specialist creations with over 9% alcohol content…from simple Pils and Pale Ales to honey, chestnut and Earl Grey beers.
And while sales of the golden nectar form the centrepoint of the festival tents and stands, there’s plenty else to keep us visitors happy.
For a start, you cannot live from beer alone (and believe me, I’ve tried). So there’s plenty of food to go with the local beers. I spotted sausages and spiral chips, spare ribs, pulled pork, hamburgers and more on my visit. Typical bar food, really.
Second, there’s musical entertainment for the mornings and evenings. Among the highlights in 2019 were the Wieselburg brewery band and the blues band of the municipal transport authority.
Third, enjoy the occasional show on stage, such as a cooking segment, a guest appearance by Austria’s champion beer sommelier, and various official tappings of a new barrel. Cheers!
2020 dates and tickets
I don’t have 2020 dates, yet, but the event is normally around five days at the end of May. By way of comparison, here the 2019 times:
The beer festival opened its doors Wednesday, May 22 to Sunday, May 26, 11 am to 10 pm (8 pm on the final day).
There is no entrance fee – just wander around the stalls at your leisure.
You have to buy your beer, of course. Prices are not dissimilar to those in your standard city centre bars, but be prepared to pay a deposit on glasses.
How to get to the beer festival
The earliest rulers of Vienna made their home on Am Hof, which tells you just how central (and old) the square is. It’s a few bites of a Sachertorte from the cathedral, for example, and a popular location for markets and festivals.
Subway: Pop on the U3 line to Herrengasse and walk across. It’s also not far from Schottentor (U2) or Stephansplatz (U3 and U1)
Tram/bus: The centre is tram-free, but the 1A and 3A buses go to Schwertgasse (or take the 1A or 2A to Herrengasse)
Address: Am Hof, 1010 Vienna | Website