By David Ward – Australian Brewery sales manager and craft beer enthusiast.
Craft Beer has been given a shot of adrenaline over the last few years in Australia by the internationally famous Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular Festival.
Begun in 2011 by publicans and craft beer pioneers Guy Greenstone and Steve Jeffares at the Local Taphouse in St Kilda, Victoria. Twenty brewers were invited from around the country to brew a one-off beer to be specially tapped at the event, and the concept was born.
Fast forward to 2018 and things have gone into overdrive. The event is now kicked off in Melbourne before travelling to Sydney and finishing across the ditch in Auckland. These days around 180 beers are specifically brewed for the event and it has food trucks, live entertainment and is attended by tens of thousands of thirsty punters.
While the excitement for GABS is always high, the event has wide ripples around the hospitality industry. With the expectation that festival beers stylistically push the brewing envelope, this is often a nervous time for sales reps and venues, and with the nation’s brewers all brewing a one-off beer at the same time, taps grow sparse as the seasonal market is flooded. Some of these brews may work well for the event, but don’t work in venues, after it has been tasted by the craft beer masses.
However, every year does have stand-out beers that enter the craft zeitgeist and even make it as far as a brewery’s core range. A good example of this is 2015’s Golden Stout Time by Big Shed Brewing Concern that is now a year-round release and still highly sought after. The hallmark of most of the still popular festival beers is that while there may be a novelty component, they are all very good, well-made beers.
The Australian Brewery will have a stand at Sydney and Melbourne GABS and will be tapping collaboration beers like Revenge of the Pith, If you Like Pina Colada and core range standouts like the All-Star Session IPA and Australian Pale Ale. Make sure you pop past for a beer.
Our festival beer is a 6 per cent brown ale brewed with organic coco, Mudgee bush honey and golden syrup It’s the way it Shatters that Matters. A tribute to the legendary Violet Crumble coming back under Australian ownership. Only packaged in a limited number of kegs.
Gabs 2018 events:
FRI 18 – SUN 20 MAY
Royal Exhibition Building
SAT 2 JUNE
SAT 30 JUNE