Venues and events

Tap Takeover is tops


It is perhaps a sign of my beer obsession that I was first in line to get into the 20 Tap Takeover at the Illawarra Brewery yesterday. Arrived there 15 minutes early and stood outside the venue doing my best not to look desperate to be let in (I’m sure I failed).

Then again, it could also be in part due to my eternal worrying about not turning somewhere late that I actually arrive far too early. Actually, it’s probably the beer.

No, it’s definitely the beer, because I know was stupidly excited to have been the first person to drink a beer on the day (yeah, I know exactly how that sounds – sad). It was a Nail Ale, by the way – I’d targeted those beers from the Western Australian brewery because I’d not had any before.

Second in line was the Nail Oatmeal Stout – not the easiest style to drink at 10.20am but it had to be done as who knew when some would cross my paths.

Hang on, I probably should explain what I’m talking about here. The 20 Tap Takeover is the first of its kind in the Illawarra. It sees all the taps at the brewery turned over to beers from across the country. Some, like the Nail beers, which have never been on tap in the Illawarra before.
Others included beers from Feral, Holgate, Bridge Road Brewers, Red Duck, Six String and Red Hill. There were even some GABS beers in amongst them.

For Wollongong beer geeks it was truly a day to get excited about – which is why I was standing outside the brewery 15 minutes before it opened.As I had to work on the public holiday Monday, I chose to do just the day session, finishing at 3.30pm. That gave me some time to sober up at home before going to bed; I’m too old to be arriving at work with a hangover.

The day session was enough time to get through at least 10 beers – nine of which were uniques on Untappd (I am such an Untappd whore). All of which were served in middy glasses. The favourite for me was the Bridge Road Hop to It Honey IPA, a stronger sibling to the beer they took to GABS.

While, overall, the event ran very smoothly and there was a great vibe, there were a few teething problems – and you’ll have that any time you run an event for the first time. For instance, a better system is needed to let the punters know which beers are on tap and when a new one’s brought in. Perhaps next time they could have a big blackboard with all the taps listed and someone is charged with updating it. Maybe they could also ring a bell to let everyone know there’s a new beer going on. And the beer and food menus had a few typos which, being both a beer geek and a grammar pedant, stuck out for me. But hey, I’ll be happy to proof-read it next time if they want.

But overall, the event was a cracker and I truly hope this thing becomes an annual event (hell, I’d like it to become monthly, but that’s probably pushing things a bit). There’s absolutely no doubt the beer geeks – and those yet to be converted – need an event like this in town. And next time I’ll make sure I’m there for the whole day – I still ended up missing out on a few beers this time.

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