Brisbane is home to one of the most vibrant, colourful and fun beer communities you'll come across. There's a growing number of great bars in all parts of the city, a brewing scene that's growing at a phenomenal rate and producing ever better beers and, in Brewsvegas, a beer week that brings the bars, the breweries, the beers and the characters that make the community what it is together for nine days of celebration.
This year is the fifth time Brewsvegas has taken over many of the city's venues. The program went live today – meaning you can start planning and buying tickets here – and is as eclectic as you could hope for. Block party? Got you covered. Classical music? Why, certainly. Brew days, tap battles, dinners, feasts, gaming, cheese, wild fermentation, hopfests... Come on in!
We're delighted to be bringing Pint of Origin back after its debut in 2017 too, with eight venues showcasing the best of the six Aussie states, New Zealand and the US.
The 2018 festival runs from March 10 to 18 (following the launch party on March 9) and is a leaner affair than recent years, trimmed to 70 events across 50 venues. This was a deliberate ploy by the organising team, this year led by Gillian Letham of The Mill and Oxford Tap House and Ben Nichols of The Scratch and Netherworld.
"We went down a bit of a quality over quantity path," says Ben, "and trimmed it back about one-third. We're trying to find what the appropriate size is for Brisbane.
"We've also made a strong push for venues to get involved with events at other venues. In the past, people often get to the end of the week and realise they've hosted four events but not made it out to anything else. The idea is to bring the community together."
As part of Pint of Origin, the team has also put together an epic competition. Head to any of the eight venues and buy a $20 flight of beer to enter. You could win one of three trips for two to GABS and Good Beer Week in Melbourne, including flights, accommodation, all session passes to GABS and, if you're still standing, a tour of some of Melbourne's Pint of Origin venues with The Crafty Pint crew on the closing Sunday. The more venues you visit, the more chances you have to win.
With so many new breweries and venues opening – and South East Queensland's brewers doing so well in the recent Hottest 100 poll – it's an exciting time for beer in and around Brisbane.
"It's really strong," says Ben. "We had 17 new breweries open in the state last year and most of these [in the city] are in suburban areas, which is perfect. They're getting great support from their local communities. That's healthy and the best thing that can happen to the Brisbane community."
In the next couple of weeks, we'll put the PoO Brisbane Hub on Crafty into full force here. We'll also be listing all PoO-related events (meet the brewers, dinners, launches etc) at the eight venues in our Events Diary.