Outside of a beer festival – and perhaps even inside it – this weekend seems set to be one of the busiest on the beer calendar. Who knows, beyond coincidence, precisely why that is, but if you wanted to pick a single day that shows where the Aussie beer world has gotten to, you'd do far worse than starting with July 22, 2017.
Should you manage to summon the power of omnipresence, you could be in Sydney’s iconic Taronga Zoo drinking quality beer at the first Zoo Brew festival, while simultaneously being at Modus Operandi which is celebrating its third birthday by launching three beers (IPA, IPA and, er, milk stout).
You could be digging into the brewer’s stockpile of imperial stouts, cask ales, mead and whatever else they dig out of the cellar at Red Hill’s eleventh annual Secret Stash. At the same time, you might like to pop into Carwyn Cellars and enjoy a whopping 15 beers from La Sirène (early afternoon would be a good time as that’s when the sour and wild ale masterclass is happening).
Maybe you'd like to slip into the dark side of beer with an award-winning beer writer, or see why fresh is best when IPAs run riot at Hoptimus Freshtivus. You may like to mix things up by mixing beer and whisky when Stomping Ground teams up with NOLA for a boilermaker masterclass, or get what’s left of the seven new beers made for Belgian National Day at the BBC.
You could join a Beer Club, such as that at the Empire Hotel which is going from hill to farm, or the one that’s going Feral in The Basement, or the one that’s belatedly marking its grand opening in Bankstown with a full beer festival of its own.
If there were any spots left you could join Crafty Cabal supporters in the Mornington Peninsula Barrel Room, but since there aren't you could instead get some oak action by joining the team from Eagle Bay Brewing as they launch Black Vanilla, their barrel aged imperial stout, or just head to Bitter Phew and pick up a barrel aged bargain.
And all of that is yours to enjoy over the course of a single day. Then we roll right into RAD Beer Week…
Centred around the Independent Brewer’s Association (IBA, formerly the CBIA) and their flagship annual conference and awards, it will see the cream of the country’s brewers in Adelaide for the occasion and many are using the opportunity to host events.
The Wheaty is first off the mark with an IPA Showcase featuring a gamut of IPAs from Modus Operandi, Fixation and their own Wheaty Brewing Corps. The hop theme continues when they host a Q&A with a kiwi scientist so well versed in lupulin that he's known as “Dr Hop”, before they go back to the black for the conclusion of their Font of Darkness.
Picking up the dark beer baton is Hawkers which is launching its 2017 barrel aged imperial stouts at an epic dinner at The Franklin, while a similar yet contrasting event will take place at NOLA when La Sirène hosts a farmhouse feast. Prancing Pony is calling in a sensory expert to pick apart their degustation, while they’ve also been so kind as to ensure guests at a local hotel won't go thirsty if they're in town for the conference. Throw an entire beer & barbecue festival on top of that lot and it’s shaping up to be rather a big week in SA.
And yet, there’s no time to rest because every beer lover’s favourite made-up days are coming up fast. IPA Day is on August 3 – with everything from new beer launches to tap takeovers to guided masterclasses already lined up – and August 4 has been designated International Beer Day so there’s another seperate list of events coming together too.
If you can stomach even more than that, you can enjoy Stave’s first tap takeover event outside their own brewery, try the first beer to come out of the Hopscotch brewery (an oyster stout made by Brewmanity), channel Willy Wonka with dark beer and desserts, flirt with death by chocolate or park yourself at The Scratch where they’re pouring as many big dark beers as you could hope for for in a lifetime.
Continuing on, you can stretch your waistline with a degustation featuring Two Birds and some mighty fine Sicilian fare at Mr. Ottorino, revel in the glory of a feast centred around Starward whisky and the release of Boatrocker’s Starward whisky barrel aged stout, or go a little bit wild as Two Metre Tall brings its beer and farming practices to the fore at The Lincoln.
If you’re still not satisfied, Bendigo is about to be On The Hop, the first Oktoberfest events are being announced, a date for the annual can collectors fair has been confirmed and summer beer festivals are starting to take shape.
So it's all rather busy, really.