May 13, 2013 by Crafty Pint

Where do you go after scaling up an event you’d previously run for a few hundred people at your pubs to an epic featuring almost 60 brand new beers in a heritage listed building that attracted around 11,000 visitors? Why – bigger still, of course!

From May 24 to 26, the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular returns to the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne with no fewer than 92 unique new beers lined up for its container bars, many from top international brewers too. They won’t be the only beers pouring this time either, with the organisers, Guy Greenstone and Steve Jeffares of The Local Taphouse, also introducing the Dan Murphy’s Beer Market for the first time, at which a number of Aussie and international breweries will be pouring beers from their core ranges.

Add in live entertainment, the return of Craft Beer College and a range beer food-serving stalls and you’ve got one heck of an event. Given we called it “the most crazily ambitious thing ever attempted in Aussie craft beer” last time we’re out of superlatives, so thought we’d go straight to the source to find out a little more about GABS 2013. Here’s what Guy had to say – as well as a downloadable version of the program for those who haven’t got their hands on one yet.

What can people expect on the beer front?
There will be 92 specially brewed beers by 95 different brewers. The beers and breweries doing these are listed on the website here and in the Official Guide.

Plus there are the breweries represented in the beer market [which you can find here on the GABS website].

Which beers are you most excited about sampling?
If it’s anything like last year, I may only get to sample a fraction of what I’d like to! But I’m really excited about many of them. There are always some beers that are amazing and some that are unexpectedly brilliant. And then there are the serial high achievers. I’m looking forward to some of the collaborations like the AIBA collaborator (Wig & Pen with Feral) and the Moon Dog / Nogne O collab, Both sound amazing. I’m looking forward to trying some of the new sours especially.

Now that everything’s finalised, what changes can previous GABSters expect?
Great question! This year we have redesigned the container bars in a more conventional fashion. Each side of the containers will be split into three separate bars with each serving about 15 beers (e.g. Bar 1 will sell beers 1-15, Bar 2 will sell beers 16-30 etc). People will approach the bar from the front as you would any other bar. So, whereas last year there were really only a few access points to the container bars, this year there will be more than 40.

On top of that, we have introduced the GABS Beer Market where about 25 breweries will be selling their regular beers from their own stalls. It’s a great opportunity for people to engage with brewers and vice versa. It’s also a great opportunity for people who are newer to craft beer to taste some amazing beers that are available all year round. Hopefully we can permanently convert a few!

No event can guarantee no queues but with dozens more access points to bars at GABS 2013, people will have many more options and will certainly be able access a beer quickly.

You can download the official program below and buy tickets through Ticketmaster here


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