With Good Beer Week 2021 upon us, time to wrap up our Pint of Origin preview. If you're new to it, the concept remains the same as it's been since 2012: 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 I here.
You can pick up #PoO21 Passports at each venue; 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 too for regular updates.
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 Palace – South Australia
Ever since The Tramway Hotel switched their focus more towards music, The Palace Hotel in South Melbourne has been home to South Australia's brewers during Good Beer Week, establishing long-running friendships and events. For 2021, they're mixing some familiar faces with a few brewers seldom seen outside their home state – look out for beers from the likes of Uraidla, Shapeshifter, Suburban Brew, Left Barrel and reigning Indies Best SA Brewery Loophole appearing over the week.
Aside from the tap showcases, they'll be hosting a Meet The Brewers session on the Wednesday, Pirate Life will be bringing their annual party, and it's the venue for The Crafty Pint's IPA Blind Tasting Championship – can a South Australian brewer back up Big Shed's win in 2019?
Cherry Tree – regional Victoria
The Cherry Tree in Cremorne is, quite simply, one of Melbourne's great boozers. Since the crew from the nearby GB Hotel moved in, bringing that cult icon's unique spirit with them, they've ensured it does everything you want from a modern community pub – then sprinkled their madcap personality into every nook and cranny.
They were leaders when it came to innovating during the COVID lockdowns and have embraced being the host for regional Victorian brewers over the years, not only bringing some lesser-seen names to the city for GBW but then keeping them on tap throughout the year.
This year, you'll see well-established brewers like Bridge Road, Bright, Blackman's, Red Duck and Hargreaves Hill rubbing shoulders with smaller operations like Dollar Bill, Ocean Reach, Bandicoot, Valhalla and TWØBAYS. They're also hosting another Regatta with Sailors Grave plus a Life Drawing event featuring beer reps, and the ever-popular Brewin' Transfer.
The Park – Queensland
You'd have had slim pickings as the Queensland host venue when Pint of Origin first ran as part of Good Beer Week in 2012, but things are far different now. Not only are there breweries of all shapes and sizes from the states southeast right up to FNQ, but many of them have made a habit of sweeping major awards too.
The Park in Abbotsford will be featuring heaps of them, with a lineup including the likes of Range, Balter, Black Hops, Lost Palms, Currumbin Valley, Your Mates, Moffat Beach, Heads of Noosa, 10 Toes, Brouhaha, All Inn, Sea Legs, Brewtal and Helios. Head in on Thursday, May 20, and they're hosting a Range showcase too.
NB Due to the unique challenges of the current time, The Park is opening from 4pm, not midday, Monday to Thursday.
Mr West – Canada
Much attention – deservedly, of course – has been lavished on the US craft beer scene over the past few decades, yet there's been incredible beer coming out of Canada for years too. The crew at Mr West are well aware of this and have been showcasing some of its very best – even collaborating with brewers there – at Good Beer Week as part of Pint of Origin.
They're back at it again in 2021 – collaborating and showcasing heaps of great Canadian breweries – with an epic lineup featuring 2 Crows, Bellwoods, Blood Brothers, Burdock, Brasserie Dunham, Collective Arts, Dieu du Ciel, Les Trois Mousquetaires, Revel Cider, Superflux, Third Moon and Twin Sails.
Add in a Collective Arts showcase on the opening Saturday, a Dark Beer Showcase with beers matched with Tim Tams (seriously) and a Best of the Fest showcase on the final weekend and you've got plenty of reason to add a stop in Footscray to your week's plans.
NB The bar is opening from 4pm midweek, with the bottleshop open all day with tables set up inside and out front so guests can still drink in from the epic selection in their fridges.
Beermash – Scandinavia
We suspect many a beer geek heading to Good Beer Week inks in a visit to Beermash early in the planning of their schedule. Since joining the Pint of Origin party, the Collingwood venue has gone hard in its hosting of Scandinavia's brewers, air-freighting in phenomenal arrays of beers from the region's finest – and the results have been there for all to see. I recall in their first #PoO21 year, one of the owners telling me their midweek afternoons had become like Saturday nights as he scrambled to get extra staff in.
In 2021, it's no different with events on top of the weeklong showcase including Amundsen Dessert In A Can, an Omnipollo showcase, a pop-up bar from Stockholm's Bränneri, the Australian launches of Paranormal Brewing and Morgondagens Bryggeri, plus a Mikkeller + Baghaven showcase.
You can also look out for beers from Duckpond, Cervisiam, Brewski, To Øl, Fermenterarna and Amager, which should ensure plenty of people making a beeline for Beermash.
The Woodlands – Regional NSW
The unique beast that is The Woodlands Hotel in Coburg is making its Pint of Origin debut in 2021, yet comes with a fine Pint of Origin pedigree. If that sounds paradoxical, don't worry – since the last Good Beer Week, the venue has been taken over by the team at Fitzroy's Rainbow, the only pub to have been part of Pint of Origin since 2012.
The sister venues are sharing duties when it comes to showcasing NSW, with the Rainbow focusing on Sydney and The Woodlands on regional brewers. Call in and you'll be able to pick from beers from the likes of Tumut River, Thirsty Crow, The Welder's Dog, New England, Badlands, Six String, Hope Brewery and Stone & Wood.
If you've not been to the pub in a while, you'll find even more to like as they recently opened a superb beer garden at the rear.
The Terminus – Melbourne
Last for this year's #PoO21 preview, but very much not least, is The Terminus. The iconic Melbourne pub has a heritage like no other when it comes to Good Beer Week: it hosted the first ever event back in 2011 and was the first Festival Hub in 2013.
Since taking on the mantle as home of the host city's brewers, they've made the most of the array of talent on offer and created some of the most fun and popular events on the program too. The 2021 lineup features the likes of Boatrocker, Hop Nation, Deeds, Future Mountain, Mountain Goat, Bonehead, 3 Ravens, Bodriggy, La Sirène, Dollar Bill and Tallboy & Moose, with many of them hosting mini-tap showcases too.
Add in the epic One Keg Stand on May 19 (their Meat The Brewers dinner is already sold out) and you've got plenty of reasons to head to Fitzroy North's finest – and that's without mentioning the massive beer garden expansion and other renos that have taken place in the past year.
Find part I of the preview here.