Beer festival

GABS beer list


Ever since the GABS beer list was finalised about a week or so ago, I’ve been trying to work out which ones I have to try.

At first glance, I ended up with at least 40 beers to try, but I thought that might be a bit ambitious given that I’m only at GABS for a day. So I decided to whittle the list down by 10. Next, because I have a tendency to overplan when I’m excited about something, I spent the time to rank the beers in order of how desperate I am to try them.

If I manage to get through all 30 beers, then I’ll just pick something that takes my fancy. Unless I’m too drunk, then I might find a corner and go to sleep.

So here’s the list with my top 30 must-try beers. And I can tell you it was a damned hard exercise to pick just 30. It was even harder to rank them, because I truly want to try all of the beers listed below.

1) BrewCult – Acid Freaks
It’s a balsamic baltic porter. That’s right, it’s a beer made with vinegar. Who the hell doesn’t want to try a beer made with vinegar? Hell, how do you even make a beer with vinegar.
Read more about the beer.

2) 4 Hearts – Cluster F@ck
This beer from the Ipswich, Queensland brewer is truly something different – it’s a mild IPA. While other brewers opt to boost the alcohol and go a bit crazy with their GABS beer, Wade Curtis went the other way and made a 3.5% beer. You ask me, making a tasty low-alcohol beer is more of a challenge than one of more than 5%.
Read more about the beer.

3) Feral Brewing and Wig and Pen – Pig Pen
Called a “free range ale”, this beer will only ever be available at two events; the Australian International Beer Awards held the night before GABS kicks off, and GABS itself. That alone is enough to warrant this beer making the list.

4) Old Salt – Like a Sunrise
It’s a porter with orange and coconut. How could I say no?

5) Two Birds – Taco
Inspired by trip the brewer took to San Diego, this is a hoppy wheat beer with corn, coriander leaf and lime. How do you fit those ingredients into a beer? I don’t know, that’s why I want to try it.

6) Young Henrys – Divine Manchu
Clocking in at just 1.5% this Kombuchu beer has the lowest alcohol of any GABS beer. It’s also fermented with a “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast”. Sounds heaps intriguing, so it’s on the list.
Read more about the beer.

6) Golden Bear – I Peach A
It’s an IPA made with peaches. Which probably means real stonefruit flavours.

7) HopDog BeerWorks – American Werewolf in Belgium
8) Illawarra Brewing Company – French Kiss

These two are breweries from my neck of the woods, so they’d likely kill me if I didn’t put them on the list. But HopDog’s is a Belgian IPA, and I like their previous Belgian-themed beers, while the IBC does fine work with the Saison style.
Read more about these beers here and here. Though it seems the IBC beer may have changed slightly since I did this interview.

9) Baird Brewing
This brewery is based in Japan and they’re using Japanese daidai fruit in the beer. I’ve never had – or even heard of – that fruit, so I want to try this beer.
Read more about the beer.

10) Thirsty Crow/William Bull
It’s an oak-aged American stout with orange zest and espresso and they apparently zested all the oranges themselves. That effort should be rewarded.
Read more about the beer.

11) True South
It’s called Killer Python, because it includes 10kg of the Killer Python lollies. They had me at “Killer Python lollies”.

12) Brooklyn Brewery
One of the US contingent, they’re bringing a Belgian Witbier called Grand Cru, with orange and lemon peel, chamomile and Indian coriander.
Read more about this beer.

13) Sierra Nevada – Return of the Red Eye
It’s an IPA made with Australian hops and it’s from Sierra Nevada. Nuff said.
Read more about the beer.

14) Red Duck
A Belgian wit flavored with orange and the hot new hop, Mozaic. And it comes from a brewer known for doing things a little differently.
Read more more about this beer.

15) Temple Brewing
It’s an amped-up version of Temple’s Scarlet Sour. I liked that beer, so this one is a no-brainer.
Read more about this beer.

16) Birbeck’s Brewing
A black version of a mid-1880s IPA. I like the history woven into this beer.
Read more about the beer.

17) Bridge Road Brewers
Bridge Road is one of my favourite breweries so I was always going to try their honey IPA.
Read more about the beer.

18) Mike’s Organic Brewery
Mike is bringing a milk stout. I love milk stouts.
Read more about this beer.

19) Victorian Home Brew Champion
A single-hopped pale ale with Centennial? Sounds tasty.
Read more about the beer.

20) Colonial Brewing
With the great name of Gary the Stout, this is a white stout. And I’m unfamiliar enough with white stouts to be intrigued by this.

21) Boatrocker Brewery
I’ve really liked the other Boatrocker beers and wanted to try their Hop Bomb IPA
Read more about this beer.

22) Garage Project
Called Death From Above, this beer has caused a bit of controversy in the Garage Project’s native New Zealand. And when I say “controversy” I mean “complete beat-up by a newspaper on a slow news day. Classed as an Indochine Pale Ale it includes Vietnamese mint, mango and chili. Gimme one now

23) Liberty Brewing
Called Citra Jr, it’s half the booze of their full-on double IPA, but still all the flavour.

24) Yeastie Boys
They won the People’s Choice Best Beer award last year, so they’ve got the runs on the board. This year they’re bringing a Belgian blonde with loads of beetroot.

25) James Squire
It’s a hefeweizen and I love a good hefe. And I’m curious to see what a relatively mainstream brewer brings to GABS

26) Murray’s Brewing
A smoked Belgio dark ale, the Caveman clocks in at 6.2%. It’s also from Murray’s, where they know how to make a great beer.
Read more about the beer.

27) Eagle Bay and The Monk
They’ve got a choc brown hefe – or a dunkel. I love a hefe, but I love a chocolate hefe more.

28) 4 Pines Dunkel Monkey
It’s an Infused double dunkel – so the same explanation as for 27 applies here.

29) Riverside Brewing
I’m trying this smoked coffee porter because I’ve been very impressed with every other beer from Parramatta’s Riverside.
Read moreabout the beer

30) Little Creatures
A barrel-fermented version of their Shepherd’s Delight Single Batch Red IPA. I liked that beer, so I have to try this one.

8 replies »

  1. If it’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that these lists become very fluid (no pun intended) once things get going. I hope you’re able to get all 30 before the beer runs dry!

    • Yeah, I know what you mean. I’m using this as a guideline and planning to enjoy the event rather than stressing out about getting to all 30. So if I miss some, that’s okay – I’ll still have had fun.

    • There were a number of other beers that didn’t make the final list either. It’s the downside of having so many unique beers and not enough time – some are going to miss out.
      I used 30 as the cut-off point because I figured that was how many I could get through in one day while still being able to hold myself together.

    • That beer only just missed the cut.
      I really love the story behind it – that it features hops chosen because they resemble the personality of the brewers.
      I reckon, if I can make it past 30, the Hassle Hop will be beer No31.

  2. So the order in this list is the order that you’ll tackle them?
    I’m trying to do the same, but really struggling. Especially allowing for the bar segregation.
    I must really try harder!

    • The order isn’t the way I’ll tackle them, precisely for the reason you pointed out – the bar segregation. While a good idea, it does mean you can’t drink beers in a 1-30 order.
      I’ll be going to each bar section and getting the five samples on my list that they have, trying them and moving onto the next bar. The closest I’m staying to my list is that I’m going to Section 2 first so I can get the No1 beer on my list – Brewcult’s Acid Freaks – while I’m clearheaded enough to marvel at a beer that features vinegar.

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