If you're reading this in Melbourne on the Friday it was published, glancing around at an empty room and thinking, "Where the hell is everyone?", they're probably at the Local Taphouse in St Kilda which is currently pouring 19 beers from America's beloved Sierra Nevada, 13 of which are believed to have never poured in Australia before.
That's not the only tap takeover happening either. Far from it. Just take a tram a few minutes down the road and round the corner to Hawthorn and you'll soon be supping away at ten beers from Hargreaves Hill, including several new or rare treats. Head across town to The Terminus and you can exercise your right to vote for one of ten Victorian brewers which are bringing their best beers for a day long showdown where the grand prize is a fight with some of the world's best breweries in May.
Up in Sydney, the arse end of King Street is the place to be as KAIJU! spends an evening dropping hop bombs to counter the old world class of La Sirène at The Union Hotel. Over at The Rocks, Team Akasha will be pitching up and sharing their souls at Harts Pub along with a newly released beer that'll be kegged on the day, plus the last of a small batch Simcoe IPA that's really quite lovely.
Feral is upping the stakes when it comes to IPAs by hosting a nationwide showcase, pouring 16 of the beasts on one day, at eight different venues in six states. Not to be outdone, Tom Delmont is doing something similar, albeit singlehandedly and with just the one IPA. Still, people gotta get their Fix.
In the birthday department, in defiance of general believability, Pirate Life is about to turn two (yes, only two) and will be doing so with a street party launching three new beers – and only one involves any great degree of hops. One of Sydney's favourite gypsy brewers, Shenanigans, will soon be turning three and doing it in style, pouring 12 beers at Bitter Phew. We know the list but have been sworn to secrecy – safe to say the [REDACTED] alone sounds like it'll be worth the trip, the launch of [REDACTED] will make a lot of people happy and the four beers in the [REDACTED] series ought to result in quite the unique experience.
On a rather more serious and solemn note, the team at Newcastle's Grain Store has locked in most of the details of what is rapidly becoming a substantial fundraiser: Cheers 4 Noah. Twenty-one brewers have donated karma kegs and countless others have donated some very impressive prizes in order to start a trust fund for soon to be three year old Noah, the son of the Grain Store's former head chef who died on Australia Day. If you're not in Newy, the Royal Albert Hotel in Sydney is getting on board for the cause too. Either way, get along on February 28 and throw a fistful of cash towards a very worthy cause.
A fundraiser of a more jovial nature is the Big Bashes 2017 where you'll be able to enjoy the Maestros of Malt (a team of brewers and other industry folk) take on the Hop Hounds (staff and punters from the Local Taphouse) in an event where the quality of beer is high and the quality of cricket is very likely not.
There are a couple of highly unique experiences on offer in Nowra over the coming weekends as Tim Thomas from HopDog BeerWorks dips into his personal cellar for some special tastings. The first is a four vintage vertical tasting of the SuperBeast barleywine and the other will showcase many of the wild or spontaneously fermented beers that have spent time in the brewery's barrels.
Of a slightly more refined nature is the Beer Class at Redoak. The Sydney beer cafe has been pairing beer and food in a serious way for longer than most Aussie breweries have been around, so their beergustations tend to be guaranteed winners. One of the few places doing beer dinners for longer than Redoak happens to be just down the road and just happens to have a beer dinner coming up; The Lord Nelson is hosting a special thirtieth celebration of Brewing One Eyed.
In the loosest of segues, the brewery responsible for producing The Lord's packaged beer will be involved in a beer dinner of its own – Stockade is heading south to the Ladrop TAP for a five course feast. There's also the small matter of Vines and Hop Bines at White Rabbit which will see the launch of the brewery's 2016 Grand Cru – an unblended, barrel aged sour red ale that's been fermented on Shiraz grapes.
Back where we started, in St Kilda, the eponymous BeerFest is bringing an almost terrifyingly long list of breweries – not to mention music, comedy and beer masterclasses – to the Catani Gardens – and there's just three Crafty Cabal signup bonuses worth $70 left to snap up for it (we've already notified the 30-plus existing members who picked up free tickets from us).
Meanwhile, with Good Beer Week just around the corner, the annual GBW Gala Showcase is imminent and selling fast and, finishing off with more things of a Good Beer Week bent, entries are open for the AIBA awards – all brewers and media types have until March 24 to be in to win.