Melbourne’s Good Beer Week is arguably the biggest annual Craft Beer Event in Australia. Running for 10 days, events engulf an impressive number of pubs, bars, breweries and restaurants across the city. Kicking off on May 10th, it’s only a few weeks away.
With so much going on, it can be a daunting minefield of hops to navigate, even for the most hardened of GBW’s returning veterans. This might be your first rodeo, or maybe you count yourself as one of the old guard. But whether you’re a local attempting to cram in as much as possible, or just visiting from out of town for a few days, here’s my pick of the events on offer.
Pint of Origin sees Melbourne’s best craft beer venues play host to the finest breweries in Australia, as well as those making waves across the world. Not only is this an awesome way to explore some of the city’s best bars, but it’s a guaranteed way of tasting some amazing beer, that you won’t often find around these parts. Each venue showcases a particular state, country or region. For me, even if you spent the week visiting just a handful of the Pint of Origin events, and nothing else, it’s one of the best experiences on offer during GBW. With 17 venues forming Pint of Origin, here’s where I think you should be getting your beer passport stamped:
While Good Beer Week champions a lot of what’s on offer on Victoria’s doorstep, it’s the perfect opportunity to see what the rest of the country is doing within their own beer spheres. When it comes to beer outside of Victoria, the humble island state of Tassie is home to some of the best breweries in Australia. While there’s no official word on the breweries involved yet, I’d be hoping to see the likes of Ocho, Two Metre Tall and Last Rites.
New Zealand is home to some incredible breweries, and it’s up there as one of my top 3 countries for craft beer. That might seem like a bold claim, but it’s true. Never afraid to shy away from big, bold flavours, they also produce some of the most sought after hops in the world. Again, details of which Kiwi breweries will part of the week-long event are yet to be announced, but for a country that’s given us Garage Project, 8 Wired and North End, there’s bound to be something great on offer.
Beermash always put on a fantastic spread for Good Beer Week, with 20 rotating taps dedicated to best beer Scandinavia has to offer. They’ll have kegs tapped from Nordic legends, such as Lervig, Mikkeller, Omnipollo and more. For me, this is one of the week’s highlights, and well worth multiple visits.
You can’t really talk about Pint of Origin and not include Carwyn Cellars’ US showcase. If you missed out on tickets for their incredible Garage Project & USA Friends event, paying them a visit during the week will still give you the opportunity to try some amazing beers from the birthplace of modern craft beer. Modern Times, The Rare Barrel, Against the Grain and Toppling Goliath will be gracing the taps throughout the week, so make sure you put some time aside to indulge.
This session forms part of Cryer Malt’s Trade Hub, hosted throughout the week at Beer Deluxe’s Federation Square venue. These sessions are generally more industry focused, but I think this is a great event to attend if you want to garner a better understanding of beer flavours, and the faults that you might be likely to experience when drinking. Pink Boots’ experts will give you the tools to identify those issues that occur with flavours, and the possible causes. Whether you just want to expand your knowledge at home, in the bar or when you’re home brewing, it’s worth the $10 fee for the hour long class.
Mjølner is Melbourne’s premiere (only!?) Viking centric dining experience, and this year they’ve teamed up with Melbourne’s La Sirene, creating a feast with a difference. For $80, you get to experience a Viking-style moveable feast, with “roving snacks dedicated to all things beast” (Not one for the Vegans, sorry!) paired with six of La Sirene’s beers, all served within a drinking horn. As one of the best farmhouse breweries in the country, you can expect the beer to be as epic as the surroundings. Perfect if you fancy yourself as a future God of Thunder, and like your beer funky.
You can take the boy out of the UK… Call me biased, but the UK is a craft beer super power right now. With the likes of Chorlton Brewery, Buxton Brewery, Northern Monk Brewing Co, Siren Craft Brewing and North Brewing Co in attendance for this event, you’ll be able to see what the fuss is all about. It’s a good spread of some of the newer kids on the block, as well as our more established, but no less exciting, craft masters. Recommended for those Brit’s who feel like they’re missing out on the scene back home.
If you’re into your barrel aged stouts, then this is the masterclass for you. For your $58, you’ll be one of the first people in Australia to try beers from Collective Arts’ Origin of Darkness series, featuring collaborations with Brewski, Wild, Forbidden Root, Tallboy & Moose, and others. I say start the week off dark, as it can only get brighter. So you might as well do that with one of Canada’s best breweries, in one of Melbourne’s best crafty venues.
Read Part 2, here!