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
- 2021 dates: TBA
- 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, around 40 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 producers like Gösser, major private breweries like Ottakringer, and smaller microbreweries and craft brewers from Vienna and the provinces.
(The general standard of Austrian beer is high with very few of the bland corporate-type beers you often find in the UK or USA.)
Breweries at the event 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 expect 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, musical entertainment typically appears mid-mornings and evenings.
Third, enjoy the occasional show on stage, such as a cooking segment or official tappings of a new barrel. Cheers!
2021 dates and tickets
The beer festival planned to open its barrels from May 27th to May 30th in 2021 but cancelled due to the uncertainty around COVID. Their website suggests they may shift to late summer or Autumn.
Opening times are normally something like 11am to 10pm (8pm on the Sunday).
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