What do Tasmanian jam, toasted marshmallows, rhubarb, Skittles, ice cream, yuzu, gin, Bertie Beetles and snails have in common? They’re just some of the quirky ingredients you’ll find in the unique ‘Festival Beers & Ciders’ at the upcoming GABS Beer, Cider & Food Fest!
Renowned as one of the world’s leading beer festivals, GABS is coming up soon in Melbourne (18-20 May), then in Sydney (2 June), before landing in Auckland (30 June).
When the event began at The Local Taphouse in Melbourne in 2011, it was built around the idea of inviting the best breweries around the country to brew a new beer, all to be released on the same day at the same event. That year, 22 breweries took part. This year, over 160 unique beers and ciders have been brewed especially for the event by breweries and cideries from Australia, New Zealand and around the world.
Here are some of the quirky festival beers you must-try this year!
BLACKMAN’S BREWERY (VIC)
Perhaps one of the most unusual beers to grace GABS, the team at Blackman’s Brewery in Torquay have crafted a dry-hopped Gose style beer with Great Ocean Road snails, parsley, thyme and pine nuts. Will you ‘Gose’ there?
PACT BEER CO (ACT)
Specialty Beer 5.2%
Inspired by the Japanese tradition of Nomihodai (all-you-can-drink sessions), Pact have ‘packed’ all you can drink into one beer, including organic black rice and Tasmanian seaweeds. Umami!
SHIFTY LIZARD BREWING (SA)
Ordinary Bitter 4.5%
Looking for more protein in your beer? Infusing ground edible crickets (as loved by most lizards), this well rounded bitter is the perfect side dish to any meal.
THE BELGIAN BREAKFAST
COCONSPIRATORS BREWING COMPANY (VIC)
Belgian Quad 9%
With a whiff of waffle and a flash of figs, this dark, complex malt-driven number makes for the perfect breakfast beer.
DAINTON BREWERY (VIC)
New England IPA 7%
Drink the rainbow! Life can be ‘all beer and skittles’ when it comes to GABS. Combining the sweet juiciness of a New England IPA with a Skittle blast of fruit aplenty (with extra cherry)!
NEW ENGLAND BREWING CO (NSW)
Belgian Dubbel 6%
Here’s a beer to chew on! Brewed with real bubble gum, this beer presents a rich malty body and smooth finish. Guaranteed safe to swallow.
WHITE RABBIT (VIC)
Belgian Tripel 8.5%
Marrying a Belgian style with Japanese culture, this beer is brewed with toasted sesame seeds, Sansho peppers, Yuzu peel and served on nitro for a creamy mouthfeel.
RACER ‘RED BULL IPA’
BRIDGE ROAD BREWERS (VIC)
American IPA 6%
As some questionable 80s rock god once said, sleep when you’re dead. This IPA has been made with half a pallet of imported Thai Red Bull (you know, the good stuff with the gold label). Good luck getting to sleep after this one.
SMOKED CHERRY DOUBLE CHOC BROWNIE
AETHER BREWING (QLD)
Sweet Stout 8%
Decadent and delicious with rich dark chocolate, subtle smoke and oak aroma, gentle lingering cherry and vanilla laced bitterness.
ANGASI COFFIN BAY OYSTER STOUT
BEER GARDEN BREWING (SA)
Specialty Beer 7.5%
While the popular Pacific Oysters are in global shortage (due to the Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome), the Coffin Bay Angasi Oyster has proved resilient, and now the Beer Garden team are giving it a chance to shine in this flavourful Oyster Stout.
APEHANGER IPA GRRRR’APEFRUIT
BOOTLEG BREWERY (NZ)
American IPA 6.3%
Award winning NZ brewery Bootleg have won numerous plaudits for their Apehanger IPA. Now the team looks to remix the brew with the addition of grapefruit, balancing tartness with piney hops.
HOP NATION (VIC)
Mixed-Fermentation Sour Beer 6%
Hop Nation’s winemaking background comes to the fore here with this sour beer that has been fermented and aged for five months in seasoned French oak wine barrels.
FORTUNE FAVOURS (NZ)
Specialty Beer 8%
Inspired by The Marquês of Pombal (who demarcated Portugal’s Douro wine region as the home of all Port fortified wine), this Ruby Porter has been infused with both Portuguese Port and Australian ‘Port’ and aged in oak.
ORANGE MOCHA FRAPPUCCINO
STOMPING GROUND BREWING CO (VIC)
Cream Ale 5%
Is there more to life than drinking really, really, ridiculously good beer? Made with the finest English malts, Australian navel orange juice and rind, chocolate nibs and Proud Mary coffee, this one’s sure to wake you up before you go-go.
COLONIAL BREWING CO (VIC)
Experimental Beer 8%
Let’s get ready to rumble! Inspired by the Bertie Beetle (which was made from shattered Violet Crumbles in the Port Melbourne building that Colonial brew in today), think malt, hops, chocolate and a spike of rum.
WILLIE THE BOATMAN (NSW)
The Japanese influence continues with Marrickville brewers Willie The Boatman carrying their love of miso soup has over to this classic Gose beer, infused with miso paste and seaweed.
TOO MUCH FUNK & ATTITUDE
FORREST BREWING COMPANY (VIC)
Experimental Beer 6.5%
Among the hinterland alongside the Great Ocean Road, the Forrest team went foraging for their Festival Beer ingredients. Think wild hops, nettles, blackberries and pepperberry.
THE CRAFT & CO (VIC)
Double IPA 9%
Forget G & T. This is a G & B. As one of Australia’s only brewer distillers, The Craft & Co have combined both disciplines to create a bold Double IPA brewed with resinous hops and gin botanicals, and a dash of Collingwood Dry Gin.
ROCKMELON & RHUBARB FARM SOUR
Soured Fruit Beer 4.5%
From their own brewery garden, Beerfarm have picked rockmelons and rhubarb to add to this kettle-soured farmhouse ale. It’s a true taste of WA produce in a beer.
3YR AGED BOURBON IMPERIAL STOUT
AUSTRALIAN BEER CO (NSW)
Wood-Aged Beer 11.5%
Three years in the making, this chocolate stout was brewed in 2015, then transferred to bourbon barrels to wait patiently for this year’s GABS. It’s worth the wait!
WESTSIDE ALE WORKS (VIC)
Packed with pink Himalayan salt, sweet orange peel, coriander seed, as well as a tequila, oak and lime zest infusion, this Margoserita will have you dancing in no time.
KERERU BREWING COMPANY (NZ)
Specialty Beer 6.5%
Inspired by an ancient Egyptian beer recipe and Hathor, goddess of cows, love, hospitality and beer, this malty ale is infused with dates and pomegranate.
DAWN TIL D’HUSK
LITTLE CREATURES (VIC)
This big, dark lager has been brewed in collaboration with Perth chocolatier Sue Lewis, using cocoa husks (a byproduct of chocolate production), to marry complex chocolate aromas with the cleansing nature of a lager.
FRAMBOISE A TROIS
HAWKERS BEER (VIC) / WHEATY BREWING CORPS (SA) / LIBERTY BREWING CO (NZ)
Soured Fruit Beer 6.5%
A trans-Tasman collaboration between three of Australia and New Zealand’s most loved breweries has produced this delicious sour raspberry IPA, with a touch of lactose for a bit of je ne sais quoi.
CHEEKY MONKEY BREWERY AND CIDERY (WA)
Berliner Weisse 3%
We all know beer is good for you, but this one takes it one step further. Packed full of Vitamin C producing blackcurrants, this Berliner Weisse is delicious, and nutritious!
FURY & SON BREWING COMPANY (VIC)
Specialty Beer 4.8%
Laced with cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg and honey, this Greek-inspired treat is the perfect nightcap after a late night gyros!
BRISBANE BREWING CO (QLD)
Specialty Beer 6%
With malt driven toffee and caramel, this lactobacillus soured ale is infused with fresh pressed pineapple juice and aged in rum barrels for vanilla goodness.
EAGLE BAY BREWING COMPANY (WA)
Saison/Farmhouse Ale 6%
Brewed with locally picked Satsuma plums, local pecans and honey, this classic Saison is earthy and peppery with a hint of biscuit and fruit.
For tickets and further information, head to www.gabsfestival.com