The People Of Pint Of Origin

May 14, 2023, by James Smith

The People Of Pint Of Origin

In one sense, Pint of Origin is all about the beer, the brewers and the venues hosting them. But it's also about bringing people together to embark on shared adventures.

Here, we celebrate some of the people who help make it what it is, from the man who's been leading annual bike tours since its early days in Good Beer Week to the winner of this year's pre-festival Golden Passport competition and a beer miler embarking on her first #PoO in earnest.


MARK FRANK – CRAFT BEER RIDING

The Craft Beer Riding crew outside The Park in Abbotsford, hosting brewers from Queensland in 2023. Also pictured at top of article on a past adventure.

 

What's your connection with the craft beer world?

None! And that's great. Very happy to be outside looking in. But lovely to see the growth in industry, talent and recognition over the last few years.

When did you first get involved in Pint of Origin?

In my mind, Pint of Origin was synonymous with Good Beer Week*. An opportunity and an excuse to get around the city and try new things.

How did Craft Beer Riding come about?

As with all things, because of a terrible pun. In February 2014, Craft Beer Rising took place. A one-day summertime festival of good beer around country [created by The Crafty Pint] that lent itself to repurposing as Craft Beer Riding. 

I think I took a Sharpie to some signage and co-opted the event.

What's the purpose of it?

The tagline has become: "Costumes Optional. Fun Compulsory. No Dickhead Behaviour." That feels like it sums up the vibe.

How do you decide where to go?

Last year, I made the valiant yet perhaps misguided effort to encourage people to start in the west. I don't think this will happen again.

Usually, the route begins in the south, and then squiggles to the north towards Fitzroy-ish, which we are doing this year. Or begins in the far north, and squiggles south towards Fitzroy-ish. The last few pubs are always walkable, and a vortex throw from The Catfish.

Who is part of the group? Have you met some people through this and do people come back every year? 

It grows every year and it kinda stresses me out. People who turn up on the day are always wonderful. The venues are rad (despite our quick turnaround time and use of a cowbell to signify our departure) and everyone leaves with a smile and a Jehovah's Witness approach to recruitment for the following year.

What are you most looking forward to in Melbourne's big two weeks of beer?

Seeing people I seem to only see in May.


KARLOS PARMA – GOLDEN PASSPORT No.1 WINNER

Karlos (right) on his epic 2022 adventure, here stopping at The Windsor Alehouse.

 

What's your connection with the craft beer world?

I’ve had a connection to the craft beer industry since about 2015. It started in the US when I was helping a friend with her fried chicken food stand that she would take to various breweries in San Diego.

Then it expanded to New Zealand where I actually started taking my passion specifically for independent craft beer a little more seriously to now, here in Australia, where I try to only bartend at places that tap independent craft beer as their predominant trade.

I discovered Pint of Origin last year, I can’t remember exactly where, but I thought what a cool concept to show this part of the world what the world has to offer and also what’s in their own backyard. I went to all 17 venues. 

How do you decide where to go? 

I go everywhere. I’m all about perspective and mine isn’t the only one. Every bar I go to has its own entity. I’m always looking for new beer and interesting food. I’d definitely say Mr West, Benchwarmer, and Carwyn are some of my favourites.

Brewery wise, hands down Mountain Culture; I’d throw in Henry Street and their Monsieur Grey, which I discovered at GABS last year.

I’m always excited about finding the smaller guys. Oh, and how could I forget The Cherry Tree and Royston – two absolute gems.

Have you met some people through this and do you recognise the same people every year?

It’s literally all about networking and treating everyone the same because you never know who you're talking to and you never know who they know. I’d say I definitely recognise faces from Pint of Origin and GABS last year.

What are you most looking forward to in Melbourne's big two weeks of beer?

This year, I’m looking forward to the people I’m going to personally impact with the world of craft beer. It’s such an exciting family to be part of.

I can’t tell you how many people in the last two months I’ve told about Pint of Origin. I want them to experience the same joy I get out of what people put their lives into to make this vast array of beers that's being showcased.


Rhiannon Rowbotham – Aussie Beer Miler

 

What's your connection with the craft beer world?

I like to run and drink good beer! I'm a run leader at the weekly Bridge Road Brewers social run from their pop-up bar in Brunswick East.

I have been taking part in the Aussie Beer Milers monthly brewery runs from various venues for years. They also host a beer mile – drink a beer and run 400m as fast as you can four time – and I'll be giving the Winter Solstice event a crack. The rules specify that beers need to be 355ml and 5 percent ABV minimum, so I'm on the hunt for an Australian brewer doing a tasty, slammable bottled beer that meets the specs!

When did you first get involved in Pint of Origin?

This will be the first year I give it a good proper go! Very keen to run and explore some new venues, then refresh with a PoO beer.

How do you decide where to go? Do you have any favourite venues or breweries that you seek out?

I'm super lucky to live close by a few PoO venues in the inner north, so I'll hit those up after my regular runs. Others will either be on-the-run fuel, or I'll run long to the venues that are further away and commute home.

Regular fave spots include The Park Hotel Abbotsford, Beermash and newbie legends Local Brewing Co. I'm super keen to get to Carwyn Cellars, The Catfish, Mr West and Near & Far. Also, having lived in SA and regional WA, I have to get to the Palace and Royston Hotels and revisit some faves.

Have you met some people through this and do you recognise the same people every year?

A large group of the people I run with are beer fans, so I'll be lucky to run or cycle with them to some venues.

What are you most looking forward to in Melbourne's big two weeks of beer?

The flavours! Keen to try anything and everything, and have seen quite a few interesting brews on The Crafty Pint and GABS social media that caught my interest. The GBW scavenger hunt at the Fox Hotel, and Mr West PoO Sunday run are also on my must-do list!


Pint of Origin 2023 runs from May 12 to 21, leading into GABS Melbourne and Good Beer Week. You can find full details, and sign up for a #PoO Passport that unlocks bonus beers and prizes, via the festival website.



* Pint of Origin is still part of the Good Beer Week 2023 program. We went ahead solo last year after GBW was cancelled due to COVID. The GBW organisers decided to move their event a week later in 2023 to align with the Australian International Beer Awards but we wanted to stick to how we'd always done Pint of Origin. No beef between the parties as one rep asked me! – Editor

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