Pint of Origin returns to Melbourne for an eleventh time from May 12 to 21, kicking off a massive fortnight for beer lovers that incorporates GABS, Good Beer Week and the Australian International Beer Awards.
Over the ten days of Pint of Origin, almost 1,000 different beers will be hitting taps at 20 of the city's best pubs and bars. They come from every Australian state and territory as well as countries across the globe, including collaborations between local brewers and their peers everywhere from the USA and Canada to Japan, Romania, Portugal and Estonia.
There are epic tap takeovers, dozens of new beer launches, heaps of brewers pouring beers outside their home turf for the first time, beer pairing events at brunch, lunch and dinner, meet the brewers galore, our IPA Blind Tasting Championship, and plenty more besides.
You can sign up for a free Pint of Origin Passport here, which unlocks bonus beers and a chance to win prizes during the festival. We're giving away four GABS Booster Packs each week to people who sign up for Passports too: they include a ticket to any Australian session of your choice plus $50 to spend there.
Or go a step further and enjoy 2-4-1 beers at every Pint of Origin venue you make it to between May 12 and 21 by joining The Crafty Pint's beer club, The Crafty Cabal. More on that here.
But back to the stars of the show: our host venues and the beers and brewers they'll be showcasing as we invite you to travel the world of beer without needing to leave the one city. In part one of our 2023 preview, we're focusing on those hosting our international brewers; next week, we'll turn our attention to the Aussies.
BEERMASH – SCANDINAVIA
If you've attended Pint of Origin over the past half dozen or so years, there's a good chance you'll have made it to Beermash – and very possibly struggled to leave. Ever since persuading us to break Scandinavia away from the rest of Europe – a decision that was easily justifiable given the region's unique and idiosyncratic approach to modern craft brewing – they've been one of the most popular PoO venues.
“For us, it’s like Christmas to retailers, Valentine's Day to florists, or St Paddy’s Day to Irish pubs,” says Dayvid Clark, who has steered the ship at the Collingwood venue for a number of festivals.
In 2023, they've lined up – and air-freighted over – another insane selection of Scandi's finest. Look out for the weird, wonderful and out there from the the likes of Omnipollo, Mikkeller, Brewski, Duckpond, Amager Bryghus, O/O and Stigbergets.
BENCHWARMER – ASIA
You can swing by this West Melbourne bar any time of the year and enjoy some of the best izakaya-style cuisine on offer in the city, and for #PoO23 it's upon Japan they've trained their focus. And how!
While host venues tend to go above and beyond for Pint of Origin, there's an argument to be made that in 2023 Locky and his team have gone the abovest and beyondest. They've lined up no less than eight collabs between top Aussie brewers and breweries in Japan, each of which will be tapped as part of a showcase of the Japanese breweries' beers.
And if that's not enough, Locky is returning the favour via a festival celebrating the Aussie brewers in Japan later in the year called Hops On Oz.
CARWYN CELLARS – USA
You just know the Carwyn crew will leave nothing in the locker when it comes to their showcase of American beers for Pint of Origin, and in 2023 it's no different.
Look out for everything from the Aussie debuts of hype breweries, a bottleshare brunch featuring rarities from NYC's Other Half, a deep dive into the vaults of deadset icons Sierra Nevada, and a massive lineup of collabs between Mountain Culture and some of their favourite US brewers.
There's parties, a masterclass, insane showcases, and more top quality beer than you could ever wish for.
THE CATFISH – NEW ZEALAND
After a couple of COVID-hampered Pint of Origins as hosts of our neighbours across The Ditch, The Catfish team have been particularly eager to spread their wings further than ever before in 2023. So while you can expect to find a delicious array of beers from NZ's finest familiar faces, thanks to a helping hand from festival sponsors Konvoy, there will be some new faces – maybe even beers from a face familiar to many Melburnians who has swapped pen for mash paddle...
More breweries are being added as the festival approaches, but already they're promising special guests, banging bands, and a salivating lineup of kegged, canned, and bottled brews. Plus, of course, their annual Garage Party – brought to you by Garage Project – featuring a full tap takeover showcasing old favourites, new favourites and some special surprises.
MR WEST – CANADA
Mr West will once again be turning their slice of a Footscray mall into a celebration of the best of the Canadian beer scene. They're bringing over some of the country's very best – and have collaborated with some of them once more – and are putting on arguably the most diverse lineup of events of any #PoO23 host venue.
You can enjoy a Canadian-themed lunchtime BBQ feast with Bluebonnet Barbecue, a fun run sponsored by Brasserie Dunham, a dark beer tap takeover coinciding with a flight night featuring pairings from Pie Thief, who are creating two new pies for the week, and collab launches.
WESTSIDE ALE WORKS – EUROPE
When American expat-owned brewery Westside Ale Works put their hands up to become a host venue in 2022, we were a little taken aback at first as it had always been pubs and bars that did the hosting. But then the idea of a brewery that favoured American-style beers hosting Europe appealed to our sense of "Why the hell not?" – and didn't they just go and nail it, with four fundraising Ukrainian brews and an epic blend of old world classics and new world crafties.
They've raised the game again in 2023, brewing collaborations with folks in five countries. Owner Casey Wagner trawled Untappd late last year for the top-rated breweries in each country, asked if they'd like to collaborate on a beer, and ended up making beers with breweries from Estonia, Romania, Croatia, Greece and Portugal – who saw that coming?
As well as another mix of old and new, they've brewed the official festival beer, Frequent Frother, featuring ingredients from every PoO region which is hitting taps at the 20 venues the weekend before it all kicks off. Massive thanks to Bintani and NZ Hops for sponsoring the beer with hops and malt.
WHITEHART – UK
Few venues in Melbourne know how to get the party started – or keep it going late into the night – better than Whitehart in the heart of the CBD. And for Pint of Origin 2023, they'll be pairing bangers from some of the UK's very best brewers with bangers from the DJs on their decks.
Cloudwater, who won the 2022 PoO Blind Tasting Championship, are putting on a tap takeover, while there will also be three-day showcases of some of the finest sours and hazies from the British Isles. Look out for beers from the likes of highly-rated Beak, Brew By Numbers, Brick, DEYA, Left Handed Giant and Overtone.
Who cares about the Coronation – the real British celebration everyone wants to get onto started six days later.
THE WINDSOR ALEHOUSE – NO ORIGIN
Now, let's be honest here: the vast majority of beers pouring at The Windsor Alehouse are from Aussie brewers – those without a brewery of their own, AKA No Origin. But they've got some international flavour too in the shape of Hong Kong's wanderers Gweilo. And including them here gives us an even number of venues, which is good for the site founder's OCD...
Wherever the beers have come from, there's plenty of colour to the week at this Windsor boozer, from their opening night, "super-tacky-carnival" part with The Boys to free pots for mums on Mother's Day – and a lineup that also includes Frexi, SURE, The Zythologist, Warrandyte Brewing, Firehouse 51 and AVNGE, plus arcade basketball and live music – you'll find plenty to enjoy on Punt Road.