Pint of Origin 2016 Preview Pt II

Good Beer Week 2016 sees The Crafty Pint's little pocket of the festival spread its tentacles further than ever before. Pint of Origin lands at 12 of Melbourne's best beer venues, with both Victoria and New South Wales split over two locations, Canada making a first appearance, regional showcases taking place in both Geelong and Bendigo and first appearances in Melbourne for many breweries and many more beers.

You can read part one of our preview here, featuring the plans for Canada, Melbourne, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand and Geelong.

Other things to look out for are:

Anyway, on with the venue-by-venue previews, featuring Europe, Sydney, Bendigo, South Australia, USA, Victoria and New South Wales!


SYDNEY – The Rainbow Hotel

The Rainbow is one of the Melbourne venues that has been involved in Pint of Origin since day one. Taken over and renovated by the brothers that previously ran Fitzroy's trailblazing beer bar Lambs Go Bar, it's a class inner Melbourne boozer with strong echoes of the pubs of the UK. And, after four years as the NSW venue, this time it focuses (almost solely) on Sydney.

You're one of the Pint of Origin originals – what does PoO mean to you five years on?

Owner Jason King: We’re very proud to have been a host venue for PoO since its inception. Each year, Good Beer Week gets bigger and bigger and we’ve grown along with it. Each year, it’s our biggest week and each year we’ve been able to showcase more ales and more brewers than the year before. Whilst it's certainly a lot of work putting it all together, the event is a highlight for staff and punters alike (both old and new).

What can people expect to see from you and your brewers?

JK: We’ve got 17 different brewers lined up with over 50 different ales to showcase over the nine days. An eclectic mix of styles from sours to stouts, from black to white, from sessionable to the not so sessionable, with quite a few making their first ever appearance in Victoria. There’ll be plenty for everyone.

This year's brewers include Akasha, Wayward, Young Henrys, Batch, Stockade, The Australian Brewery, 4 Pines, Modus, Nomad, Shenanigans, Riverside, Ekim, Nomad, Lord Nelson, Grifter [plus a couple of sneaky outsiders in] Thirsty Crow and Stone & Wood.

Any special guests dropping in or events to look out for?

JK: We’ve got our annual eight course beergustation dinner on May 17. It’s our fifth year in a row and it’s a real highlight of the week. MC’d by comedian Dan Willis, our head chef Marty Searle matches eight courses with eight different ales with a representative from all eight different breweries on hand to have a chat about their beer. Tickets are $120 per person and I still have a few spots left (contact the venue). 

We’ll also be hosting a meet the brewers session on Thursday and offering a complimentary pot of the customer's choosing with the purchase of any main meal. We’ll be opening every day from 12pm and, of course, there is live music on both the Saturday Nights and Sunday afternoons.

PoO Bus door prize: $100 bar voucher

Crafty Cabalista GBW Special: Free pot with a lunchtime main meal, Mon to Thurs


EUROPE – Forester's Hall

For the second year running, Forester's Hall takes on Europe, the sort of task that only a venue with a massive amount of taps can do true justice.

Taking on Europe is a mammoth task; how did it go in year one?

Owner Russell Griggs: Yes, Europe is a rather large place isn't it? It's hard work for our cellarman but worth it when there's 24 awesome European beers on at any time during the week. Last year was a mad scramble but an amazing week and, to be honest, we expect it to be similar this year. 

This year we are really going to make the most of our late license. We're open til 4am at weekends and there'll be bands and DJs til late to keep the Good Beer Week party going til the early hours.

What special guests have you got visiting in 2016?

RG: The highlight will be the BrewDog Masterclass on Wednesday night. BrewDog master brewers Stephen Allerston and John Allen will be taking us through a tasting of five prototype IPAs. Not surprisingly, the event is booked out but the beers will be on tap after the event finishes for everyone to try.

What beer(s) are you most excited about tapping?

RG: If there's a more exciting beer to be tapping than the St Bernadus Abt12 someone should tell Ratebeer because it scores 100 for both style and overall. Indisputably one of the best beers in the world, we can't wait to put it on. We only have one keg so we don't expect it to last long.

PoO Bus door prize: $50 bar voucher

Crafty Cabalista GBW special: Free pot (up to $7) with a pizza


VICTORIA – The Cherry Tree Hotel

After years of "Will they? Won't they?", the former team behind Richmond's legendary GB Hotel had to move on. They didn't go too far, however, taking over the nearby Cherry Tree in Cremorne and instilling it with their "relaxed and merry" vibe and more beer than they'd ever had on tap at the GB. And now they're back with more PoO action at their new home.

Why have you got involved with Pint of Origin for the first time?

Manager Toby Kingsley: Well... We used to do Pint of Origin for Victoria when we were at the GB. It was such a good week, meeting heaps of punters from all around Australia and the world literally beating down the door trying to taste everything. Like the slogan says: "Bigger than Xmas." 

When we moved to the Cherry Tree Hotel, the Victorian baton was passed to the Terminus Hotel, and we did our own little proto-Pint of Origin event, "East Meets West" where we sourced beers from both the East Coast and West Coast of Australia. 

We spoke to a number of brewers from far out places well off the beaten track and we heard a similar story... It can be hard brewing in the bush, where the biggest market is in the city but transport costs are higher, and many pubs in their local areas are locked in with anti-competitive contracts with the big breweries. So we thought that Pint of Origin for Regional Victoria might be a good idea, and happily the good crew at The Terminus were happy to share Victoria with us. 

What can people look forward to?

TK: A really wide variety of beer styles. We're up to about 60 different kegs and we've aimed to include as many unique varieties as possible. We've recently installed a "randaliser" so we're looking forward to mucking around with a few beers with hopefully positive results. 

What beers are you most looking forward to?

TK: Ah, where to begin... Bridge Road is bringing us a Sangiovese Golden Ale, Brookes is brewing four different varieties of Brown Ale, the Belly Button Beer from 7 cent (after GABS of course), but really, I don't know, everything we're getting hasn't been on here before, so you never really know what your favourite will be, and therein lies the beauty of PoO.

PoO Bus door prize: $100 bar voucher

Crafty Cabalista GBW special: $50 sharing slab of pizza for just $20


SOUTH AUSTRALIA – The Palace Hotel

Last year was the first time we had a PoO venues south of the river. It was the Palace Hotel and its owners were concerned in the run up as to whether people would cross to the less crafty side of the Yarra to check out South Australia's wares. Before they opened at midday on the first Saturday, customers they'd never met before were waiting outside.

They'll have new customers at opening time this year too as it's first stop for our bus tour and has such a good opening tap list we're struggling to work out which four beers to start with...

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Owner Jess McGrath: We are looking forward to all the good beer we will be pouring! We have a couple of newbies to PoO for us this year, 17 breweries in total! And we've organised a couple of internal events that we are pretty excited about...

What can people expect to see from you and your state?

JM: We'll be pouring Pirate Life, Big Shed, The Wheaty, Vale's Fox Hat, Pikes, Little Bang, Lobethal, Woolshed, Mismatch, The Hills Cider, Coopers, Prancing Pony, Vale Brewing, Brewboys and Smiling Samoyed with a couple still to be confirmed.

Any special guests dropping by?

JM: As well as the PoO Bus, we've got Pirate Life & Burger Day on Tuesday – first time that all six of their beers are available in cans in Victoria. MC and the lads will be here to buy a beer or two and have a chat. 

Wednesday is Meet The Brewer Night from 6pm onwards: door prizes & giveaways all night. It's also $15 Steak Day and will be a very laid back affair: good beers, good company, good food. Thursday we've paired up with Prancing Pony to pair our pies with their beers for lunch and dinner and the closing Sunday is BBQ, Beers & Ciders: join the guys behind Big Shed, Mismatch, Little Bang and The Hills Cider for a kicked back, relaxed end to Good Beer Week. Live graffiti and lots of good beer!

PoO Bus door prize: SA beer and merch

Crafty Cabalista GBW special: Two-for-one pots Monday to Friday


USA – Great Northern Hotel

The Great Northern is another venue lining up for its fifth Pint of Origin. Originally the home of WA, it's since taken on the mantle of USA, with its owner making regular trips to the States to secure beers never before seen in Australia. Another special shipment of Lagunitas is being air freighted for Good Beer Week (after a container of 183 kegs got delayed – gonna be one heck of a winter at the pub when that arrives!) while there are some aged specials in the cellar and one "last keg in the world" to be tapped too...

You've been a PoO regular for years now – what have been your highlights to date?

Each year we try to make the USA PoO bigger and better than the previous year. A definite highlight was getting the Lagunitas for the first time last year. A beer never before seen in Australia, it was great to see everyone's excitement about it, and their reactions when they had their first sip.

Any special American beers up your sleeve?

We've got a good selection of all the American beers available in Australia at the moment – some familiar, some not so. We've made sure to only order a couple of each keg, to keep the list interesting throughout the week.  

PoO Bus door prize: Six-pack of PBR and brewery merch

Crafty Cabalista GBW special: $14 lunchtime meal deal, Monday to Friday


CENTRAL VICTORIA – The Cambrian Hotel

The Cambrian Hotel has been making a mark as one of regional Victoria's best craft beer pubs since it was taken over by two brothers in 2013, picking up a range of awards along the way. For GBW, they're showcasing their local brewers.

Why have you got involved with Pint of Origin for the first time?

Owner Adam Carswell: We're huge fans of our local breweries and are keen to tell people about them at any opportunity! This isn't because of any regionalistic bias either, there's plenty of bloody good beers and breweries in these here parts!

What can people look forward to?

AC: It's going to be a big week of beers and cheers – nothing gets us going like a big old celebration. Our "We Love North Bendigo" block party on Saturday, May 14, is going to be so big we'll be bursting at the seams.

What beer(s) are you most looking forward to?

AC: Everything really, but we should mention that Tooborac have done something special just for the event, and we'll be unveiling a new Bendigo brewery that's been quietly getting ready for release for some time.


NSW – Brother Burger & The Marvellous Brew, South Yarra

Having cut its Pint of Origin teeth with Queensland at its Fitzroy venue, the Brother Burger crew decided to switch its focus to the south of the river and its second venue in Chapel Street. There it offers the same damn fine burgers and associated accoutrements in cool industrial-meets-US diner surrounds with no less than 15 taps of beer. For #PoO16 it's the home of regional New South Wales.

Why have you got involved with Pint of Origin for the first time?

Owner Marcelo Tummino: Actually, it’s always “good beer week” at Brother Burger, since we only tap up independently owned Australian craft beer, and we only ever buy one or two of most beers, meaning the tap list is continually changing. PoO provides us with the opportunity to focus in on specific areas, allowing us to cherry pick from what we think are breweries' best beers. 

We’ve also enjoyed the opportunity to connect, and form relationships with breweries that don’t usually do business in Melbourne – it’s pretty cool to be the first place to tap a great brew.

What can people look forward to?

MT: PoO events are very dynamic, because they’re free and always open, they are great meeting places, so they are great relaxed and very social. Enthusiasts can enthuse over rare and wonderful brews, exchange thoughts, ideas and many laughs. Importantly also, they’re like a regional brewery crawl, all in one spot.

What beer(s) are you most looking forward to?

MT: It’d be a shame to single out any, because we’ve some great brews being tapped up. But, we’ve been trying to get BentSpoke down at Brother Burger since it opened and, for this simple reason alone, we can’t wait to tap them up. They make some wonderful brews, as do FogHorn, Lovedale, Stone & Wood, Grainfed, Murrays, Six String, Pact, HopDog and Fixation, of course!

PoO Bus door prize: $80 voucher

Crafty Cabalista GBW special: Half price burgers


If you missed it, you can check out part I of our preview here. And you'll find all things PoO on the GBW site here.

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