There are some massive surprises install for beer lovers, when the GABS Beer | Cider | Food Fest kicks off in Melbourne tomorrow (20 May) at the Royal Exhibition Building (REB) in Carlton.
Probably the biggest surprise of all will be the giant Ferris wheel, which has for the first time been installed under the dome in the World Heritage listed REB. The ‘Yenda Wheel of Beer’ will tower 18m above the festival hall offering incredible views over GABS and inside the dome, with all ticket proceeds donated to Motor Neurone Disease, Brewmanity’s charity.
“A lucky few can ride the Gold Glass carriage for a private tasting with some of the leading brewers in Australia,” GABS co-founder Steve Jeffares told Beer & Brewer.
Of course, GABS is all about the 120 Festival Beers, which have been specially crafted for the event. This year has seen some truly weird and wonderful creations by brewers, from 7 Cent Brewery’s Belly Button Beer (crafted with real brewer belly button fluff), and 4 Hearts Brewing’s S’more Than a Feeling (based on the campsite treat) through to Big Shed’s Beery Ripe Porter (a beer version of a Cherry Ripe), there is a beer to tickle every fancy.
“As ever, there are a wide variety of beers that push the envelope both in terms of ingredients used and interesting brewing processes,” Jeffares said.
For the first time, GABS has introduced Festival Ciders, with 10 cidermakers from across Australia crafting one-off ciders just for the festival.
Food is another focus at GABS this year, with Beer Diva, Kirrily Waldhorn, hosting a series of free, fun-filled seminars at Steel’s Food & Drink Experience. Here you can find out why great chefs love craft beer and cider so much, experience the art of beer/cider gastronomy at its best and immerse yourself in these hands-on, interactive sessions.
“Steel’s Food & Drink Experience has a full programme of interesting cooking and pairing demonstrations but one of the highlights will be the TasteBugs seminar where delicious edible insect snacks are cooked up, and beer and cider matches are suggested!” said Jeffares.
The Local Taphouse will be presenting ‘Craft College’ at GABS, a popular series of free and educational seminars hosted by Pete Mitcham (aka Professor Pilsner). The popular Q & Ales will be back featuring panels of brewers and cider producers talking about their GABS Festival Beer or Cider along with other hot topics. Free beer and cider samples are provided!
With barrel ageing such a big trend at the moment, Feral Brewing will be demonstrating the effects of aging a beer in different types of barrels.
“The GABS Feral Barrel Experiment will showcase the same beer brewed by Feral Brewing in seven different ways as they have been aged in seven different barrels previously home to the likes of wine, sherry, bourbon, whisky and tequila. Brewers Will and Brendan will also be on hand to chat about the process,” Jeffares said.
For those wanting a beer with a view, the Cricketers Arms Bar is the place to be.
“At the Cricketer’s Arms Bar upstairs you will have the best view of the festival while you enjoy samples from their beer range (including their Festival Beer) from tasting paddles made from mini cricket bats,” said Jeffares.
The Dan Murphy’s Marketplace is back where breweries, cideries and related businesses will be showcasing their products.
Once you’ve found a favourite Festival Beer, Festival Cider or Food Dish at GABS, head to the Beer & Brewer stand or the GABS Official App to vote in the GABS People’s Choice. You could even win 10 cases of beer!
“Whether you’re a novice or nerd, our main aim with GABS (and The Local Taphouse and Stomping Ground, for that matter) is to educate people about the fantastic diversity of beer and cider in a welcoming, inclusive and fun way. If all you get from GABS is a hangover, then you’ve missed out!” said Jeffares.
The GABS Festival is on from Friday to Sunday (20-22 May) in Melbourne, with sessions already sold out so book your tickets here now. The schedule of all events and more can be found in the Official GABS App.
GABS will hit Sydney 27-28 May and we will have a wrap-up of what Sydneysiders can expect next week.