It would appear that winter has been fully welcomed within the beer world, with events all over the country seemingly timed to coincide with the Winter Solstice and capitalise on the propensity for people to drink warming dark beer when it’s dark and cool outside. But, if you missed ‘em on the darkest day itself, fear not as there are still plenty in the pipeline.
Before we get to those, however, a quick shout out to Crafty supporters in and around Brisbane. We've lined up our annual Brisbane bar shout for Crafty Cabal members and industry supporters. Brewskis at Brewski kicks off at 5pm on July 8; head here to login and register your attendance and that of a mate. Cabalistas in WA also have until Sunday to register in the ballot for tickets to the first ever Royal Perth Beer Awards Exhibitors Tasting.
Just in, news of a statewide fundraiser taking place in Tasmania next Friday paying tribute to Ty Capaci of Double Head Brewing. The last beers he brewed before his untimely death last month are being tapped at venues all over the state to raise money to support his family.
Back to the wintry stuff, where you might like to start with a bang and some truly big beers at Bitter Phew, or perhaps plan a trip to Bright where there are some Darker Days ahead, while out west the Dutch Trading Co is putting a sunny spin on the cool weather, or plan to be in Brisbane where the folks at The Scratch will itch all your dark thoughts (and any other hard to reach bits too).
The team behind one of New Zealand’s foremost stout and porter producers is the next to feature at Harts Pub while fans of dark dessert beers will want to walk into The Woodlands when they host a weekend dedicated entirely to La Sirene's luscious Praline, serving it up in five ways including vertical tastings and a cocktail.
On a (considerably) lighter note, Hotel Sweeney’s is bucking the dark beer trend with a pale ale showcase (although even here Moo Brew's Stout is there to balance the ledger) and The Empire Hotel is going with a couple of breweries best known for their lighter touch for its next Beer Club. Similarly, Bitter Phew will be showcasing the less barrel-agey side of Boatrocker in a rare Sydney showcase.
In the realms of, “You never know what you’ll get”, if you'd like to come and get blind with Crafty we're hosting a public blind tasting off the back of the recent results of our tasting of hoppy amber and red ales. And still on the loose subject of beer judging, you can do some at a very basic level thanks to the folks at The Noble Hops and Beer Cartel when they host their first introduction to beer tasting.
If it's food and beer you're after, the Brooklyn Brewery is sending a couple of big guns to a seven course degustation at The DOG while, across town, there's a FODMAP friendly pub tour of The Rocks (a good one to be at if you've sensitive insides or a gluten intolerance).
With the Fourth of July approaching, Independence Day events are up popping up fast too; among the bigger ones already on the radar are a 20 beer SpecTAPular at The Local Taphouse and Beer DeLuxe's US celebrations taking place at all five of their venues. The Belgians have their national day imminent too which is, imaginatively, called Belgian National Day. The Belgian Beer Cafe will be marking it in the company of seven local brewers that have each made a unique Belgian style beer.
Ahead of that, Old Wives Ales will have a new stout out and about and you can try it when they launch at Carwyn Cellars with a six beer tap takeover (at which there's a special Crafty Cabal supporter's pre-tasting – but that'd already filled, sorry!). Amber Brew Café is celebrating its first anniversary and has invited some brewing friends along to help celebrate while Brewmanity is carrying on its quest to raise money for a cure for MND.
And, ending with a laugh, it's the final round of Can It! at The Windsor Alehouse. All year, some of the top comedians in Melbourne have been taking to the stage and competing for this moment. Why not come along to cheer and jeer them while sipping on cheap tinnies. You'll like it.