Austrians allegedly 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 craft beers from Austria (and beyond)
- Yep, you get to taste the beers
- Includes street food stands, too
- Huge range of beers, often with weird and wonderful names
- Next dates: TBA
- Usually held twice-yearly in April & November
- Book a spot on a guided craft beer tour* of Vienna
- See also:
The Craft Bier Fest
(The craft beer festival inside the Marx Halle; photo © Craft Bier Fest / Max Garschall)
Austrians are fairly loyal to local beers, so the craft beer movement of recent years fits naturally with regional drinking habits.
You could, of course, take a road trip to track down and taste various varieties. That would take a while.
As an alternative, drop into the two-day celebration of specialist beers that is the Craft Bier Fest in Vienna.
Numerous breweries present their best efforts to turn water, yeast, hops and (mostly) barley into a golden nectar, most offering five or more different beers each.
Expect everything from standard IPAs and lagers through to exotic fruit-based sour beers, vintage beers and other unusual delights like white porters.
At the last event (November 2023), I tried a milk stout, a peach-flavoured sour beer, a prize-winning IPA from Sitzenberger, a Belgian-style Saison beer, an oat beer and more. (All in small quantities, if you’re concerned for my well being).
The Craft Bier Fest inevitably focuses on Austria and its eastern neighbours, but breweries from all over Europe and beyond sometimes attend, too.
At one event, for example, I spotted brews from Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Scotland, England, Ireland, Estonia, Germany, Wales, and the USA.
2024 dates, tickets & tips
The festival traditionally appears twice a year, but I don’t have 2024 dates yet. For the record, the 2023 events took place on April 14th & 15th and November 10th & 11th.
Ticket information is available from the website (see below): you typically buy online or on the door.
Your ticket 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.
(The glass from the spring 2023 event)
Most breweries sell 0.1 litres of beer for two or three tokens (which cost €1 each), so the per litre price is rather high compared to bars.
But brewery staff were often generous with portions. Plus, the more you want in your glass, the cheaper it gets: 2 tokens for 0.1 litres, 3 tokens for 0.2 litres, for example.
We put €20 into tokens and taste around eight beers, which makes for a fine couple of hours.
How to get to the Craft Beer Festival
The festival usually occupies the large Marx Halle venue that has come a long way since its days as a cattle market.
To reach the Marx Halle, jump on the U3 subway to Erdberg or Schlachthausgasse and then walk. Or travel to the St. Marx stop on the 18 or 71 trams.
Address: Karl-Farkas-Gasse 19, 1030 Vienna | Event website