Christmas Beer Festival in Essen

Christmas Beer Festival in Essen
Photo: kerstbierfestival.be
The annual Christmas Beer Festival (Kerstbierfestival) is one of the highlights of the holiday season in the municipality of Essen, Belgium. The festival has been organized by O.B.E.R. (Objective Beer Tasters Essen Region) since 1994. O.B.E.R. aims to promote Belgian beer culture and to support lesser-known brands and small breweries.

Brewing in Belgium dates back at least to the 12th century. There are approximately 180 breweries in the country, ranging from international giants to family microbreweries. For a relatively small country, Belgium produces an impressive number of different beers (more than 1,000 varieties), having more distinct types of beer per capita than any other country. No wonder that it also hosts some of the finest beer festivals, including the Christmas Beer Festival in Essen that takes place every December.

At the Christmas Beer Festival in Essen, brewers offer more than 170 Belgian Christmas and winter beers, some of which have been brewed specifically for the festival. The organizers offer special 150 ml tasting glasses to make the tasting as pleasant as possible. One of the festival’s hits is Glühkriek, fruit beer which is served hot. It helps to keep visitors warm and mellow during cold winter weather. Alongside an assortment of beers, there are other drinks and different kinds of food and snacks.

The festival’s entrance package includes a ticket, a tasting glass, a festival guide, a bottle of water, and seven tokens. Tokens are used at the festival instead of cash. Most beers cost only 1 token, but exclusive brews may cost 2 or even 3 tokens for a tasting class. Foods and snacks cost 1 to 3 tokens, they include beef stew made with Christmas beer, Christmas beer soup, sausages, cheeses, chips, toasted ham and cheese sandwiches. Additional tokens can be purchased a the cash desk.

Every year, Belgium’s Christmas Beer Festival attracts about 2,000 beer lovers, locals and tourists alike. The festival has an impressive international audience, coming from more than 25 countries.

Christmas Beer Festival in Essen


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