Boys n the Hub

May 14, 2015, by Crafty Pint

Boys n the Hub

Things have gone full circle for Good Beer Week. Just a few short years ago, Beer DeLuxe provided the setting for a shared twinkling in the eyes between a group of friends – all of whom were passionate about craft beer. Fast forward to 2015 and the biggest Good Beer Week yet will see this central Melbourne beer mecca host the Festival Hub.

As anticipation reaches fever pitch in advance of tomorrow night's Opening Party, The Crafty Pint caught up with venue managers Jimmy Curran and Derek Cowe to find out what's in store at the Hub and Good Beer Week itself.

CP: First of all, thank you, James and Derek for taking time out from what must be a busy schedule to chat with The Crafty Pint.

DC: No worries, it's a pleasure!

JC: You're welcome.

CP: First of all, to be the Festival Hub must be a tremendous honour while also being highly involved. [So] why did you pitch for the Good Beer Week Hub?

DC: It's a great opportunity to give us a bit of an insight – as well as a chance really to show off what we do here and what we have to offer. We try to cater for every beer drinker, not just the nerds and not just amateurs – we like to cater for everybody and get some great beers on, which we're always excited to do.

CP: What can punters expect from The Festival Hub experience?

DC: Whatever you can think of! We've got just about everything – we've got a cask ale coming today from Mornington [Peninsula Brewery] that'll be put on this Friday night: a Russian imperial stout. A whole array of cellared beers are coming through as well – some pretty exclusive stuff from a couple of years ago.

[There are] some mega-fresh IPAs that we are pretty excited about as well; they literally came into Australia just this week.

CP: What does Good Beer Week and the Hub mean to Beer DeLuxe and its staff?

Jimmy Curran Beer DeLuxe

JC (pictured right): It's a massive honour. As not everybody might know, this is where Good Beer Week started back in the day. We have come to get to know the guys [running the festival] pretty well and we know what it means to them especially. We've seen it grow across Victoria over the past few years and it's turned into an amazing festival. We're very proud to be the Hub.

The staff absolutely love everything that is beer. And what better way to get more involved by showcasing what we do, as Derek said, than to be the Hub. It's very exciting!

What can the uninitiated expect to experience from the Hub?

DC: We're always very welcoming here. If people aren't all that familiar with everything that's on offer there'll be staff to try and talk them around it and explain everything that's going on.

JC: On top of that we've got the launch on this coming Friday, we've got two beer and food matching events – one is Grandad's Supper next Monday night and also the Hair of the Dog breakfast, which is pretty iconic with Good Beer Week now, next Friday following the after party [of the Australian International Beer Awards]. We're the official after party venue so that's very exciting too.

On top of that, as Derek said, we've got some cracking beers coming on over the week so it's definitely something to get involved in.

CP: What is exciting you the most about Good Beer Week at large?

JC: That's a tough question!

I guess from a venue's perspective we get to showcase what we can do as a venue and also show off our ability to get some really cool beers in. Because craft beer has become such a really big thing now it's pretty competitive so it's our chance to shine.

CP: Without divulging too much, are there any big surprises that punters can expect throughout the week?

DC: We've always been pretty keen to cellar beer here that we save for special occasions. We figured that this being the first year acting as the Hub it would be a pretty good time to bring out these cellared beers – very rare, very exclusive beers that you won't see again essentially. We're pretty stoked to be able to offer them.

CP: Good Beer Week is as much about involving the punters as it is industry. How else will you be engaging both the brewing and service industries?

JC: It comes back to our knowledgeable staff. They're trained up and willing to engage anyone whether they are a regular everyday punter or a geek from way back. The guys have got a beer for everyone and we will try to keep the place as welcoming and as exciting as possible. We'll try to keep that going across the week.

[NB for much of the week, upstairs at the Hub is becoming the Cryermalt Business Suite, which is a series of industry-focused events – Ed.]

CP: What has driven Beer DeLuxe's selection of beers for Good Beer Week?

Derek Curran Beer DeLuxe

DC (pictured right): We've got 17 different beers on tap. Customers will come up and ask for a certain something so we always make sure that we have something that is as close to it as possible. We're always going to have a big IPA on, we're always going to have a big imperial stout on, so we'll be catering to those guys.

We're going to have pale ales, your good ol' session amber ales so that we're ticking all the boxes. We'll be making sure there's not a bad beer in there, that there will always be something exciting and interesting.

CP: Good Beer Week is as much about food as it is beer. What is the ultimate food pairing?

JC: That's a big question!

DC: I love a good cheese board with a nice Belgian golden ale or anything similar with high carbonation and also a bit dry. I'm not against having a cheese board with a big IPA or stout either.

Finally, what would be your number one Good Beer Week survival tip?

JC: [Laughs] Don't peak too early! Try and space the events out across the week – especially the big nights. By the time the Hair of the Dog breakfast comes around next Friday there will be a few sore heads!

DC: Just get on with it! [Laughs] It only lasts a week!

CP: Thank you ever so much again for chatting with The Crafty Pint.

There is a small number of tickets for the Hair of the Dog Breakfast available here and you can still get a seat at Grandad's Supper here.

Pouring throughout the week will also be beers from the GBW Official Festival Beer Partners: Holgate Brewhouse, Boatrocker Brewery, Mountain Goat and Feral Brewing.

The author of this article is Graham "Stoutwhiskas" Frizzell – "Legally blind beer writer and brewer in the making." You can find his beer writings at Blind Taste Test.

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