Written by Stefanie Collins, editor b&c

A record crowd of 27,600 people has attended the GABS Beer, Cider & Food Fest in Melbourne and Sydney over the past two weekends, beating last year’s record by 22 per cent.

While the 120 specialty festival beers made just for GABS were as popular as ever, cider fans also got a look in this year, with festival ciders introduced for the first time.

In Melbourne, the Yenda (Ferris) Wheel of Beer raised $10,000 for Motor Neurone Disease research in partnership with Brewmanity. While the charity drive was not able to be run in Sydney over height concerns, there are plans to bring it to the event next year after it was such a success in Melbourne.

The Beer & Brewer People’s Choice Award was again decided for the Australian GABS events. Queensland’s Bacchus Brewing Co following on from its successes in previous years, again taking home Best Festival Beer, this time for its Peanut Brittle Gose.

Best Festival Cider was taken out by The Hills Cider Company from South Australia, with its Barrel Aged Sour Cherry Cider impressing the festival attendees.

On the food front, Three Blue Ducks’ Brisket Burger won hearts in Sydney, taking out Best Food Dish, while The Local Taphouse’s Southern Fried Chicken won out in Melbourne.

GABS co-founder Steve Jeffares says that he and fellow founder Guy Greenstone were “absolutely thrilled” by the response to GABS 2016 in Melbourne and Sydney.

“There is clearly a growing appreciation and awareness of craft beer and cider across the country and we are very proud of the part GABS plays in that,” he says. “Our whole team worked so hard to raise our game again each year and it’s very gratifying that so many of the new elements and improvements went down so well.”

GABS Auckland will take place for the first time on June 18, 2016.

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