Beer festival

GABS, here I come

Like most beer fiends I’ve got a mental list of the beery events I’d like to get to.
Most of them are in the territory best-known as ‘‘pipe dream’’. I’m talking about attending the Great American Beer Festival, or even just going over to the US for a bit, and turning up at Beervana over in New Zealand.
They’re pipe dreams for me because I’m not a young man with spare cash and an absence of commitments. When you’re old you’ve got responsibilities dammit, you can’t just go gallivanting off around the globe to drink beer. Not when you’ve got a wife and child. Sure, my patient wife does make allowances for my beer obsession but saying ‘‘hey, lets all go to the US so I can spend three days getting drunk at a beer festival’’ just isn’t going to fly with her.

And rightly so.

But there’s one item on that list that I’m going to be able to check off – a trip to Good Beer Week in Melbourne and the Great Australian Beer Spectapular (aka GABS). For the unaware, that’s an event run by the Local Taphouse where a stack of brewers (it was 60 last year) make a beer they’ve never made before and it gets served at GABS for the first time. So it’s a beer festival, but for brand new beers.

There was a lot of serendipity involved in me going, not limited to realising that two weeks’ worth of holidays I’d randomly chosen coincided perfectly with GABS and getting media access to GABS.

So I’m pretty frigging excited – so much so that I’ve virtually been bombarding the poor GABS PR lady with loads of questions for an event that’s four months away. I’ve gone and booked my flights and hotel – ensuring it’s within stumbling distance from the GABS venue. I’ve contacted a few breweries about sticking my head in and saying hi, after catching up with a friend at the Great Northern Hotel. I’ve even been tweeting people from Melbourne to find out which places are worth a look – so far it’s been Mrs Parmas (which, according to Google Maps, is just 27m from my hotel) and Deja Vu Bar (which is a slightly less friendly 1.6km). It’s a bit of a toss-up here, though I’m leaning towards Deja Vu – but may even try to squeeze in both.

See, I’m only there for three days all-up, so a bit of squeezing things in will be called for. And some things I’ll miss altogether. But I’m going to GABS and that’s what counts.

5 replies »

  1. An all all-new beer festival sounds pretty great. Many breweries will bring a special batch or limited release to festivals in the States, but I’d love to see something like this. Sounds like tons of fun.

    • It sure does sound like fun. Nearly all the breweries release their GABS beer themselves but they have to wait til after the festival. Which makes GABS the first time these beers can be tasted.
      Last year they had 60 breweries participating. This year I hear it could be as many as 80.
      With numbers like that – and me likely only going for one day – there will certainly be some beers I miss out on.

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