This year, 2009, was the thirteenth Berlin Beer Festival and it ran from the 7th until the 9th of August. Themes for the beer festival vary and in 2008 the theme was a thousand years of Czech beer brewing culture. In 2009, the theme was all about the great beer brewing country, Belgium.
Of course, at the Berlin Beer Festival there are fine examples of beers from every brewing country, especially Germany, but in 2009, twelve Belgian breweries including Brouwerij Housebrouck and Ingelmunster were at the festival promoting their beers. Another of the Belgian breweries attending the beer festival was St. Louis Kriek, which was nominated as one of the two festival beers. The beer is renowned for its fresh cherries and distinctive flavour which includes the taste of almonds thanks to the cherry stones being part of the brewing process.
The other nominated festival beer of 2009 was Grimbergen Dubbel which is produced by Alken-Maes and is a beer that is full-bodied and dark due to the double fermentation during the brewing process. It is a beer that is brewed by Cistercian monks who drink it from goblets. It tastes good however it is drunk!
Other beers that marked out the 2009 Berlin Beer Festival was a beer from Sri Lanka called Lion Stout, a beer called Yebisu which comes from Japan, Lekkerbier which is brewed in Amsterdam and, from Laos, a lager beer called Beerlao. There were some breweries that took part in the Berlin Beer Festival for the first time including Old Speckled which is a beer brewed in Bury St. Edmunds in the east of England. Another first time beer at the festival was Ilmenau, which is produced by the Jäcklein Brewery. German beers making their debut at Berlin’s Beer Festival included Gröninger Brauhaus which is brewed in Hamburg, and Brewery Hops & Barley which is a beer from Berlin.
At the Berlin Beer Festival in 2009, more than three hundred breweries from eighty-six countries sold more than two thousand different beers along the “beer mile” which stretches from Frankfurter Tor to Strausberger Platz and was home during the festival to eight hundred thousand visitors. Three hundred musicians played music from twenty beer producing regions on eighteen stages and, apart from the cost of the beer, admittance to the festival was free.