Good Beer Week returns for its tenth outing from May 14 to 23 – and that means Pint of Origin is back too.
First introduced to the festival by The Crafty Pint way back in 2012 as a means of making it easier for breweries outside Victoria to take part, it's grown into a central element of the festival. The concept remains the same: some of Melbourne's best pubs and bars become showcases for different regions of the world and you get to soak up what they've got to offer at your leisure.
You'll find details of what's on at half the venues below, with the remainder in part II. You can pick up #PoO21 Passports at each venue as the festival approaches; they contain maps featuring all 14 venues as well as a chance for you to collect stamps as you go – visit enough venues and there's free beer awaiting you. If you're posting on socials make sure you use the hashtag #PoO21 so we can find and share!
There's heaps of other events on top of the showcases too, which you can find on the Good Beer Week Pint of Origin Hub, and The Crafty Pint and participating venues' Facebook event pages, as well as the Crafty Events Diary. Keep an eye on our Instagram Stories for updates too.
And, after a sellout debut in 2019, our Pint of Origin IPA Blind Tasting returns on May 21. With Big Shed winning in 2019, we're hosting it at the SA venue, The Palace Hotel, and you can check it out and buy tickets here. There's a bonus for Crafty Cabal members too.
In 2021, the number of venues is down a little due to issues sourcing beers from some parts of the world. Some venues aren't open from midday every day either, due to the ongoing challenges for hospitality caused by COVID (see individual venue entries for details), but otherwise it's as you were.
The Rainbow – Sydney
The only Pint of Origin venue to be there from the start is the Rainbow in Fitzroy (as you can read here). Originally the home for NSW brewers, in recent years it's been solely focused on Sydney after we split NSW and Victoria across two venues each – one for brewing companies from the capital, one for the rest of the state.
They'll be lining an array of beers that ranges from the sessionable to the sour, the pale to the pastry, the fruity to the funky from the likes of established favourites like Akasha, Young Henrys, Grifter, Batch and Philter alongside newer and lesser seen brewers like Slow Lane, One Drop and Willie The Boatman.
The Rainbow crew also run The Woodlands Hotel in Coburg, which is where you'll find brewers from the rest of NSW over Good Beer Week.
Miss Moses – The Territories
The first time we ran Pint of Origin as part of Good Beer Week – waaaaaaay back in 2012 – there was an ACT venue: The Courthouse Hotel in North Melbourne, at the time one of the best places in Melbourne for good beer (as well as great food and wine). The options there were limited to the now-defunct Wig & Pen and the still-operating Zierholz.
Nine years on and things are rather different, with Brunswick's Miss Moses amassing a lineup for Territories that features breweries from Darwin and Alice Springs plus a gluten-free brewing company and one specialising in alcohol-free beer (plus two of the country's most successful breweries in BentSpoke and Capital).
Add in stacks of themed events – tap showcases galore and a GF parma night among them – and the smallest regions of Australia by population look set to create one big week in Brunny.
Whitehart Bar – UK
A newcomer to Pint of Origin for 2021, Whitehart Bar in the heart of Melbourne's CBD has taken on the mantle of the UK and has some big names from the Mother Country set to hit their front bar taps this May. Look out for Brick Brewery, Cloudwater, Fierce Beer, Tiny Rebel, Overtone Brewing, Verdant, Left Handed Giant and Burnt Mill.
They're building to a crescendo over the week too, with the closing weekend featuring an England vs The Rest of the UK tap takeover, UK style fish, chips and mushy peas from the Northern Soul Chip Truck, Northern soul DJ sets and a projection show too.
NB If you're working your way through a #PoO21 Passport and Whitehart is your sixth stamp, you might get a free 150ml glass rather than pot due to the nature of the beers they've secured!
The Catfish – New Zealand
One of the busiest pubs each and every Good Beer Week is The Catfish in Fitzroy, which returns as the home of Kiwi brewers for 2021. They've amassed an array of beers from the likes of Hallertau, Garage Project, 8 Wired, Duncan's, Urbanaut and Deep Creek and will be putting on pop-up events and showcases throughout the week too.
It all kicks off with a huuuuuge Garage Project Garage Party on the opening Saturday, while you can join Ale of a Time for a live podcast – West Island Vibes – on the Tuesday when they're promising "prizes, chaos, and jokes about how bad Australian accents are".
The Royston – WA
The Royston has been a home from home for many WA brewers for pretty much as long as there's been Pint of Origin at Good Beer Week. They're back in 2021 with plenty of familiar faces, some more recent arrivals, and all manner of tap takeovers, the biggest of which feature Rocky Ridge and Feral.
Look out for mini-showcases from the likes of Beerfarm, Blasta and Nowhereman as well as beers on tap from Boston, Bright Tank, Innate and Nail.
NB Due to the unique challenges of the current time, The Royston is opening from 4pm, not midday, Monday to Thursday AND they're closed on Friday, May 21, due to a wedding booked before they knew Good Beer Week 2021 was going ahead.
The Lincoln – Tasmania
They don't do things by halves at The Lincoln, the award-winning pub on the edge of Melbourne's CBD in Carlton. That's no different with Pint of Origin, for which they've been home to Tasmania for a few years now. And it's certainly no different as Good Beer Week returns in 2021.
They've lined up 53 different beers from no less than 21 Tassie breweries, from the better known like Moo Brew, Two Metre Tall, Hobart Brewing Company, Bruny Island and Van Dieman, to those you rarely if ever see on the mainland – the likes of kicksnare, Miner's Gold, Du Cane and The Winston.
They'll be serving Tassie beef, oysters, mussels and cheese too, ensuring a real taste of the south.
Carwyn Cellars – USA
It's fair to say Carwyn Cellars have taken ownership of the USA wing of Pint of Origin over the past few years. Eye-watering tap takeovers, brewery battles and much more besides have decorated the Good Beer Week program spectacularly since they took on the mantle of the world's biggest craft beer market.
The pandemic has thrown up its challenges for Pint of Origin hosts, and Carwyn's plans for the week have been in state of constant flux, but it's still one heck of a beautiful lineup to look forward to, kicking off with a showcase of rarities from The Bruery on the opening weekend then never letting up.
They've got more than 100 unique kegs ready to hit taps, with special events over the week including a Lords of American Farmhouse & Sour Showcase featuring Jester King, Fonta Flora, Oxbow, Firestone Walker and Jolly Pumpkin, and a Forward Hops tap showcase starring Toppling Goliath, Adroit Theory, Against the Grain, Black Project, Funk Factory and Parish.
Check out the other seven venues in part II!