As sure as the arrival of Spring means the nation’s venomous reptiles begin to unfurl from their Winter slumbers in preparation for a full scale invasion of your shoes, the warm weather brings with it the promise of a long and busy beer festival season.
Indeed, the events calendar has already started to fill out with one, two and many day celebrations: the Beer InCider Experience takes over the Albion Park Raceway in Brisbane; the Great Southern Beer Festival makes a case for beer in Yarra Valley’s wine country; the Royal Melbourne Show puts craft beer in its pavilion; the Port Macquarie Beer & Cider Fest brings several small brewers to the city for the first time; The Australian Hotel closes down streets in The Rocks for a twelfth time; Sydney’s brewers and publicans start flexing their limbs in preparation for Sydney Craft Beer Week 2016; the Abbotsford Convent prepares for a literal and metaphorical feast of Victorian brewers; and the Freo Beer Fest kicks off WA Beer Week with some 350 different local drinking options.
[We’ve got – or have lined up – free tickets for some of the above festivals to give away to Crafty Cabal supporters – check your members area or the individual event listings for details. If you’re not a Cabal member, get in on the action here.]
Then there’s Oktoberfest. If you’re keen on dusting off your lederhosen or dirndl, there are opportunities abound as 4 Pines brings beer to match the sausage at The Bridgeview, Newstead shuts its doors to the public for some private oom-pah-pah, Bridge Road has made a Marzen as part of its twelfth annual Bavarian affair, Oktoberfest in the Otways brings in ten regional brewers for its ninth celebration, and Hobart Brewing makes it unnecessary to travel to the other side of the world for a German fix.
On a smaller scale, the King Street Brewhouse is handing out a lesson in how beer should be served when they invite Speigelau in for a tasting evening while Boatrocker is making a busy old time of it, starting with a month-long residency at Estelle which puts beer front and centre and aims to prove wine ain’t the only one deserving of the spotlight at fine dining tables.
Very much along the same lines, following the ninth anniversary of the death of Michael “The Beer Hunter” Jackson, the Braeside brewery will be paying tribute to the legendary beer writer by pouring seven beers he regarded rather highly. Simultaneously, on Father’s Day they’ll be treating people to a few beers of their own at a six beer tasting and simple-but-oh-so-good lunch at The Hungry Peacock.
Somewhat unusually, there isn’t a great deal of tap takeovers lined up for the next few weeks. No matter because the few are sizeable: The Wheaty's annual Font of Hoppiness is underway with 60 hoppy beers from 30 brewers and Rocks has an 18 beer beauty at the DOG Hotel in Randwick.
Across town their sister venue, the Dove & Olive, is taking Craft Beer Fight Club back to its roots with the help of BrewCult, Mountain Goat and four of their limited release beers. Also limited – though for different reasons – is any beer from Kooinda in their old labels; the brewery is relaunching its core range and you’re invited to head along and check out the new look.
Putting a focus on food as well as beer, La Sirene is heading to Panama (the restaurant, not the country) for a Farm Feast, Rocks is celebrating Spring at the brewery with a follow-up to their sell-out Winter beergustation, Hargreaves Hill is getting cheesy with Two Tall Chefs (an event that will feature their new maibock), Two Birds will be pecking at bread during their SMASH bash and single origin beer release, the Grosvenor Hotel is going bonkers with bingo and burgers and Modus Operandi is doing something of a reverse tap takeover when they invite the chefs from Black Bunny Kitchen into their own kitchen to take over for the day (while roping them into brewing a beer).
And, if you haven’t got a Father’s Day gift sorted – and live in Newcastle – be very quick to grab the last tickets for the Brewers Breakfast at Grain Store which will feature the beers of super-dad, Lachlan MacBean from Grainfed.
Lastly, if you fancy joining us for the Crafty Cabal launch in Sydney next Thursday, get in quick!