Austrians drink more beer than all but the Czechs. And they have plenty of brews to choose from, as you’ll discover at the Craft Bier Fest (craft beer festival) in Vienna.
- Two-day showcase of the best craft beers from Austria (and beyond)
- Held twice-yearly in spring and autumn
- Yep, you get to taste the beers
- That’s all you need to know, frankly, but, for the record, there are other stands there, too (think street food, brewing equipment and advice)
- Next dates: Nov 22-23, 2019
- See also: Beer in Austria | Wiener Bierfest | Festival of Beer Culture
The Craft Bier Fest
Austrians are fairly loyal to local beers, so the craft beer movement of recent years is a natural fit with regional drinking habits. According to the Brewery Association, Austria now boasts over 1000 varieties of beer and almost 300 breweries.
You could take a road trip through the country to track down and taste all these varieties. Or you could simply drop into the Craft Bier Fest in Vienna, a two-day celebration of specialist beers.
Dozens of breweries present their best efforts to turn water, yeast, hops and (mostly) barley into a golden nectar, with tastings a central feature of the event. On top of that, various other stands offer all the technology and know-how that goes into the craft.
I have no programme details just yet of the November event.
Around 70 breweries participated in the May event earlier this year.
The lineup included festival debuts for Pivovsky (from Poland), Mad Cat (Czech Republic), First Craft Beer, and the Krois Brewery (both Hungarian), cementing the Craft Bier Fest’s traditional focus on Austria and its eastern neighbours. But you could also find beers from, for example, Germany, the UK, Poland, Hong Kong, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, and the US.
Various new beers made their debut at the last festival, too. A highlight was the “Barrel Born” Belgian Dubbel (a strong brown ale), created through a cooperation between Brew Age and Ottakringer Brewery.
(Ottakringer is Vienna’s home brewery, whose delights have found their way into my fridge on numerous occasions.)
Other debuts included two beers produced according to the recipe of the home brewers who won the 2018 Austrian Beer Challenge.
2019 dates and tickets
The date for the autumn craft beer festival is Friday, November 22nd and Saturday, November 23rd, from 4pm to 11pm. You can buy your tickets on the door or in advance from the website (see below), once available. I expect online day tickets to cost around €8 (€10 on the day); a 2-day festival pass around €14 online (€16 on the day).
The ticket price includes a free beer tasting glass, which you make good use of at the festival. Once there, buy tokens to exchange for samples of the brewer’s art.
How to get to the Craft Beer Festival
The Marx Halle is in the third district, not far from the centre (but not really on any traditional tourist trails).
Subway: Take the U3 line to Erdberg or Schlachthausgasse and it’s a short stroll to the exhibition hall
Tram/bus: Take the 18 tram or 74A bus to Viehmarktgasse (the tram also passes Schlachthausgasse if you want to combine subway and tram). Alternatively, ride the 71 tram to St. Marx or the 80A bus to Neu Marx or Maria-Jacobi-Gasse
Address: Karl-Farkas-Gasse 19, 1030 Vienna | Website