February 11th, 2014 by Crafty Pint
The beer scene in Brisbane is unrecognisable from just a couple of years ago. First, a wave of new craft beer-supporting venues opened up to give locals an alternative, and more recently they have been followed by a spate of brand new breweries: Green Beacon, All Inn, Newstead, Fortitude/Noisy Minor, for example.
The city’s rising tide of craft beer awesomeness is set to peak next month with the arrival of the first Brewsvegas festival. A week-long cavalcade of events taking place at breweries and venues all across the city, it has been put together over the past few months by a committee drawn from a number of the city’s bars and breweries with the aim “to promote innovation, creativity and collaboration to help nurture and grow a local beer scene already replete with passionate contributors.”
Remarkably, for a festival in its first year, there will be 80 events taking place across 35 venues, a tally that exceeded all expectations. The program is now available online here; you can browse events and buy tickets for those events that require them too. Expect more events to be added between now and the festival kicking off on March 23.
In anticipation of the biggest week for craft beer in Brisbane, we posed a few questions to one of the festival’s founders, Andrew Sydes of Green Beacon Brewery.
Why did you create the festival?
We felt that Brisbane deserved a celebration of craft beer all to itself. I guess there are two reasons for that: firstly, the scene up here has really come of age in recent years and, secondly, as a result of that we are able to band together and create something like Brewsvegas as a grass roots movement. Exciting times we live in!
Who’s behind it?
The committee members hail from Archive, Bitter Suite, Green Beacon, Scratch Bar and Tipplers Tap.
What’s the goal?
We aim to raise the profile of good beer in Brisbane, to show off our unique culture and to celebrate our city’s best and brightest. We also all genuinely love seeing people fall in love with good beer.
Are you happy with the response for year one?
Very happy, with the number of venues keen to be involved, the different types of businesses taking part and the variety and creativity of the events in the lineup, Brisbane really has stepped up!
Why should people check it out?
This is an opportunity to see Brisbane’s bars, bottleshops and restaurants at their best, and a chance to see each venue’s take on their part in Brisbane’s craft beer culture. It’s not every week that you have such a bewildering array of beery delights to choose from.
What are you most excited about?
I’m pretty keen to get out to some venues I’ve never been to before, I guess we all are at Brewsvegas. Special mentions also go to Broga (bro yoga) with bacon sandwiches at The Mill and the braised camel shank burgers being offered up at Hoo Ha bar’s Aussie Hoo-ha-beque.
How would you describe the past two years for beer in Brisbane?
It’s been an explosion of sorts. A couple of years ago there were a handful of venues flying the craft banner in Brisbane, a couple of years before that the scene was far, far smaller again.
What we’ve seen is something of a snowball effect. Queensland has been slowest state on the Eastern seaboard to accept and embrace good beer; I guess that goes some way to explaining the flurry of openings and refocussing we’ve seen in the last two years.
Check out the Brewsvegas website for more. Then book your flights, of course.