As 2019 turned into 2020, the Good Beer Week team was preparing to throw the mother of all parties.
The country's biggest celebration of beer was set to run for the tenth time, with all the added excitement such an anniversary brings with it.
Then, as with most major events in 2020, it was no more.
But, just as we'll be throwing parties from late 2021 onwards for The Crafty Pint's 10+1 birthday, the pandemic just means the tenth Good Beer Week won't just be a celebration of a decade of delights, but also of *crosses fingers* crushing COVID.
The festival, which was launched by a group of industry volunteers (including Crafty founder James Smith) in 2011 and has since merged with the Independent Brewers Association, runs from May 14 to May 23.
It promises to be a welcome shot in the arm for Melbourne's beer and hospo scenes after they were hit hard by twin lockdowns in 2020 thanks to a program comprising around 200 events.
Among them, of course, is The Crafty Pint's corner of the program, Pint of Origin. Due to the pandemic, it's a little smaller this time around, but no less delicious as more than a dozen of Melbourne's best venues showcase beers from all over Australia, NZ, the US, UK and Scandinavia.
We'll also be running our PoO Blind Tasting Championship again, this time at The Palace Hotel in South Melbourne, home of the 2019 champion state, SA. Look out for your chance to vote for which beers will feature on the lineup.
The 2021 program also includes the festival’s first ever non-alcoholic event from UpFlow Brewing and Henry Sugar, beer and yum cha
matching at Melbourne’s iconic Flower Drum, a Daft Punk tribute party, and
fresh from being named one of the world’s top 50 cinemas, the Sun Theatre
celebrates by hosting a special “Story of Girl Power” screening that pairs
Thelma and Louise with beer from Two Birds.
You can also look out for 2019 favourites such as the Moon Dog Brewery Brawl (wrestling in a brewery), Beers for Queers party at the Fox Hotel, and a special event for dogs at Hop Nation, plus those that have been around since 2011: Beer vs Pig at Atticus Finch, Brewers and Chewers and Ale Stars at The Local Taphouse, Abbey Collaby, Hair of the Dog Breakfast at Beer DeLuxe, Scavenger Hunt at the Fox Hotel, System Wars at Grain and Grape, a week of special parmas at Mrs Parma’s, and the Australian International Beer Awards
IBA head of events Siobhan Kerin said: “We have been keeping many of these events under wraps since way back in October 2019. It almost feels surreal to finally bring them out to the public.
“Talking to bars, pubs, and all the other venues, there is a sense of excitement that comes with the prospect of doing events again. Despite the struggles faced by the hospitality industry in Victoria, there is so much love and passion around when it comes to developing these special experiences."
IBA general manager Kylie Lethbridge adds: “There has also never been a better time to celebrate being together. Reflecting on the last 12 months we’ve all realised how important it is to share special moments with family and friends, I think the program is going to deliver a fantastic range of options.
“We’re hoping that everyone gets out to support not only the venues who have done it tough but the breweries who rely on them.”
The program went live at midday on March 26 with tickets on sale at 9am AEDT on March 29.