Let's start at the beginning which, in most cases, tends to be a very good place to start. And, in the context of beer events that means things you can – assuming you’re reading these words shortly after they were posted – get involved in right now.
You could, for example, head straight to The Noble Hops which is currently pouring beer from some of the best and brightest of the British beer scene. Thinking beer and burgers? Think Baird Beer and Japanese burgers at The Quarryman’s. Perhaps you want to get some credit ahead of St Valentine’s Day? Take your beloved on a Date Night with KAIJU! and Bad Shepherd, where Crafty Cabal members will get a free can of Krush. And nothing says, “I love
beer you” like a festival, so why not surprise your sweetheart with a trip to the South West Craft Beer Fest?
Or how about a birthday party? The marvellous Carwyn Cellars, which last year turned two, is about to turn ten (no, not a typo) and will celebrating by pouring ten special treats of various varieties.
There are so many possibilities this weekend alone. But beyond that, even more.
Holgate will be taking up residence at Fiftyfive for the week (with the brewers serving up nitro beer ice cream) while the Darlinghurst and St Kilda branches of The Local Taphouse are launching into Ale Stars with a focus on Tasmanian producers not seldom seen over the Bass Straight. The St Kilda venue then has a fairly spectacular SpecTAPular, tapping 19 beers from Sierra Nevada – 13 of which they believe have never been tapped in Australia before.
On the subject of new beers, Mountain Goat has six of them on offer at their Single Keg Showdown, Woolshed has made a tribute with Big Shed which they’ll be launching at the Westside Massive (also with special treats for Crafty Cabal members), Hargreaves Hill’s new Phoenix continues to take flight with a rare keg tapping in Thronbury (alongside the very last keg of another beer), while Mike Clarke from Sauce will be showing off his new West Coast IPA in the company of gypsy brewing brethren Yulli’s at the Empire Hotel’s Beer Club.
One of the hottest breweries of the moment, Pirate Life, will have something new too, but if you want it you’ll have to be at their second birthday party, which is really just a street party with loads of good beer. Whether you’ll get something new at The Terminus’ Victorian Face-Off will only be determined on the day as the only briefing they've given to the ten brewers in attendance is to bring their very best beer to try and wow the punters.
Less new but still heaps good is Fixation which is about to embark on a several state tour to celebrate its first year in the business of dispensing fresh IPAs – be sure to track down your nearest source for a Fix and let Mr Delmont buy you a beer. And, if you like fresh IPAs, you'll be able to get your fill – and then some – as Feral launches a 16 IPA tap showcase simultaneously in six states.
With the hot weather seemingly in no hurry to go anywhere, the summer festival season is still very much alive and kicking. You can get your fill across the country, from the Great Australian Beer Festival in Geelong to the Melbourne BeerFest in, well, Melbourne (specifically, the lovely Catani Gardens), the Canberra Craft Beer and Cider festival (now in its tenth year) to the celebration of everything lupulin that is High Country Hops in Beechworth. We've lined up more than $1500 in free tickets plus an exclusive tasting for Crafty Cabal members across the last three of these.
On a considerably less joyous note to end, one of the country's finest beer establishments, The Grain Store, recently lost one of its team members in tragic circumstances. Having left behind a three-year-old son, the Grain Store family is rallying around to try and ensure the little one is well looked after by the beer community. If you want to know how to help, just head here.