As events in the beer world go, there's nothing bigger than what's about to explode into life in and around Melbourne over the coming week and a bit. Good Beer Week kicks off tonight with its Opening Party at the Festival Hub featuring live music and a killer lineup of beers.
We're there hosting a Meet the Brewers featuring Hawkers, 3 Ravens and Venom for Crafty Cabal members. All 100 spots were filled a few days ago but Crafty supporters who missed out can console themselves with the 30-plus offers at breweries and venues in and around Melbourne, including most of the Pint of Origin (#PoO17) venues or by snapping up discounted tickets to a couple of events linked here.
Many events are sold out but there's still plenty to choose from between now and May 21 as well as dozens of free events you can wander into. We're hosting free Meet the Brewer bar shouts at many of the #PoO17 venues, including three with Pirate Life, Naparbier, FogHorn and Fixation tomorrow, so come say hi if you're south of the Yarra for the day. The week ends with the beast that is GABS before that moves on to Sydney. We've still got a couple of signup offers for the Sydney evening session for new Cabal members if you head here.
Beyond the belly of the beast there's no shortage of interesting things to wrap your lips around, particularly if you're into beers that are big and/or dark.
The Union Hotel is leading the charge in that regard as, over two separate weekends, they host events dedicated to all things big, bold and beautiful then follow it up with 40 dark beers from 40 breweries. Over the tracks in Redfern, The Noble Hops has also lined up a double header, with their first birthday giving them an opportunity to pour some meaty beers while no one really needs an excuse to showcase milk stouts.
Continuing east a couple of suburbs, Bitter Phew is showcasing its Scandinavian persuasion by turning its taps over to Norwegian beers and the folks at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst are hosting a rare non-brewing guest at Ale Stars in the form of Bucket Boys. The Marrickville bottleshop is becoming an increasingly diverse business, dabbling in brewing and distribution and it's the latter which has lined up a three night launch of Black Hops beers in NSW.
Up in Black Hops' home state of Queensland, Newstead is going decidedly off the hop trend by hosting an evening dedicated to malty, moreish and marvellous beers. You could argue that Nomad is doing the same as they host a Saison Session whereby you can bring in a bottle of saison (it could be one you've made yourself or just one you love to drink) to share and discuss with fellow beer lovers and the brewers who'll be bringing their critical thoughts to the table.
Another brewer no doubt bringing some interesting thoughts to a table will be Oskar Blues' head brewer Tim Matthews when he stops in at Baby Mammoth for a degustation. For a more hands-on meet-the-brewer experience, you have the option to get up and close with Big Shed and Doctor's Orders as they do strange things with root vegetables during the Dr ShedLove 2017 Brew Day.
Looking ahead to the next long weekend, Murray's has things pretty well covered with its annual imperial stout broadside which welcomes back Wild Thing and Heart of Darkness plus a cinnamon chocolate donut beer and a vanilla imperial stout.
And finishing with imperial stouts which, given the approaching season, seems a suitable way to go, Bright Brewery will be releasing the 2017 version of its Stubborn Russian at a spiffing new festival called Darkest Days that will feature several of its Vic High Country brewing buddies, good food, interesting entertainment and loads of fire.
Photo at top by Simon Shiff, supplied by Good Beer Week.