The 2016 Great Australian Beer (& Cider) SpecTAPular will take place this month, with the obligatory expanded line-up of events set to entertain Melbourne and Sydney beer lovers.
Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Hall will host GABS 20-21 May and the Australian Technology Park will host Sydney’s GABS 27-28 May. Tickets are on sale for both, offering pre-sale discount.
This will be the fifth year for GABS, following its inception over a beer in 2012 by Local Taphouse (Melbourne & Sydney) owners Steve Jeffares and Guy Greenstone.
Touting a range of events and drawcards that grows every year, this year will see more than 400 beverages on offer, including – for the first time – a selection of ciders.
As always there will be a lot of one-off brews* created specifically for the festival, this year constituting 120 specially-brewed beers and 10 ciders.
GABS was ranked as one of the top twenty beer festivals in the world by the prestigious American Beer Connoisseur magazine, largely due to its goal to educate attendants on the craft beer and cider industry. Educational sessions and experts punctuate the festival, “enriching every person’s experience”.
There are also a non-beverage attractions, such as roaming musicians, performers, and for the first time in Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Hall illustrious history, the southern capital will this year boast an indoor Ferris Wheel.
Dubbed the Yenda Wheel of Beer, courtesy of sponsor Australian Beer Company, the Yenda Ferris Wheel will offer patrons a unique view of the insightful festival, and all proceeds from the ride will go to Brewmanity in the name of raising money for Motor Neurone Disease.
Another new feature this year will be ‘Glownet’ wrist bands, which allow patrons to ‘tap’ to make payment via pre-loaded credit. The new events payment system is expected to bring huge benefits to queue and crowd management.
There will also be a selection of food providers at both festivals, bringing complementary morsels to accompany the boutique brews.
This year is expected to attract more than 30,000 people to the two events, demonstrating the continued drive for experiences involving artisan brewing.
*Some of the ‘Festival’ beers to be found this year include the ‘Jam Donut’, the ‘Smore’, the ‘Mexican Chocolate Stout’, using ingredients such as marshmallows, cinnamon, jam, cocoa nibs and chipotle spices.