When Pint of Origin first appeared at Good Beer Week in 2012 – the concept ours, the name donated by Jade Flavell of The Wheaty in Adelaide – it was solely an Australian venture. Half a dozen pubs across Melbourne taking on a state each, plus one dedicated to the ACT, which then meant Wig & Pen and Zierholz beers.
Since then, it's evolved in line with the craft beer culture of which it's part to include beers from brewers thousands of kilometres away; heck, in 2023 there's even collaborations with breweries from Estonia, Croatia, Portugal, Japan, Canada, Romania, and Greece.
Yet, at its heart it's still very much a local celebration, not least as it involves heading out to enjoy 20 local venues, but also because the vast majority of beer pouring is drawn from all parts of the country. A dozen of the host venues are repping regions of Australia – 13 if you include Pint of No Origin where it's a mix of Aussie and Hong Kong beers – and this includes three new additions for 2023.
A few years back, we split Victoria and New South Wales into metro and regional to allow more breweries to take part; now we're doing the same with Queensland and Perth. And, to give the home state brewers another platform, Victoria has been split into Melbourne, Daytrippers (within 90 minutes of the city) and Weekenders (those further out).
Anyway, at time of writing, there's just 24 hours until it kicks off so let's get into the preview proper.
Don't forget to sign up for a free Pint of Origin Passport here, which unlocks bonus beers and a chance to win prizes during the festival. We're giving away four GABS Booster Packs each week to people who sign up for Passports too: they include a ticket to any Australian session of your choice plus $50 to spend there.
You can go a step further and enjoy 2-4-1 beers at every Pint of Origin venue you make it to between May 12 and 21 by joining The Crafty Pint's beer club, The Crafty Cabal. More on that here. And if you're really quick, like THREE TICKETS LEFT quick, you can join the Crafty team for the fourth IPA Blind Tasting Championship on May 17.
But back to the stars of the show: our host venues and the beers and brewers they'll be showcasing as we invite you to travel the world of beer without needing to leave the one city. In part one of our 2023 preview, we focused on those hosting our international brewers; now it's the turn of the Aussies.
BONNY – MELBOURNE
Bonny is one of the Fitzroy bars making its Pint of Origin debut in 2023, but they arrived well versed in all things beer, with team members variously involved in brewing beer, importing beer, and these days serving it with wine, cocktails and amazing food from their Brunswick Street home.
They're hosting Melbourne's brewers, with chances to meet local brewers in their beer garden throughout the festival, their popular Wagyu nights, and a highlight dinner. Funk Beer Omakase sees them pairing dishes from chef James Cornwall with beers from Black Arts, 3 Ravens, Molly Rose and La Sirène.
THE CHERRY TREE – VICTORIAN WEEKENDERS
The Cherry Tree are Pint of Origin stalwarts, hosting regional Victoria's brewers for years and putting on some of the most innovative and wild events too. In 2023, they're sharing the love around, keeping hold of the brewers in Victoria's outer reaches and allowing The Local Taphouse to take on those based within 90 minutes of the city.
Their week kicks off in fine style with a tap takeover by the rising stars from Phillip Island, Ocean Reach, before they set about showcasing brewers from the west, the coast, the High Country, Gippsland and more besides.
There's a tap takeover featuring Traralgon's Good Land Brewing later in the week and it's all set to end with the Saloon Hoe Down Extravaganza!
The Lincoln – Tasmania
After taking up the Tassie baton a few years back, it's fair to say The Lincoln has made the southern state its own, lining up scores of beers from the state's ever-swelling beer scene alongside some of its famous produce too.
Things will be no different in 2023, with well over 50 different beers from Tasmanian brewers crossing the Bass Strait – check out their socials for a video of the first shipment arriving at the Carlton pub. As usual, there will be some familiar faces as well as breweries who've never poured beer outside their home state before.
The place gets full to bursting when GABS lands as it's one of the nearer venues to the Royal Exhibition Building: you can watch the bar staff trying to replace kegs as fast as they drain! So if you prefer to do your PoO at a more stately pace, pay a visit over the opening seven days of the festival.
LOCAL BREWING CO – THE TERRITORIES
It was a bit of an experiment welcoming a brewery onto the lineup in 2022 as Pint of Origin Melbourne had always been hosted at pubs and bars. But Westside Ale Works did such an amazing job, we decided to add a second in 2023.
It's the home of Local Brewing Co in Clifton Hill. While their brewhouse isn't yet in place, their taproom started welcoming guests at the end of March and for #PoO23 is home to the breweries of The Territories.
The big-hitters from Canberra – Capital and BentSpoke – open proceedings on the opening weekend with epic tap takeovers, including collabs they've brewed with their venue hosts. Later in the week, there's a rare chance to taste the beers of Alice Springs Brewing Company and Beaver Brewery from Darwin; the owners of both will be at the bar too.
The Local Taphouse – VICTORIAN DAYTRIPPERS
Would Melbourne's beer scene look like it does without the pioneering founders of The Local Taphouse in St Kilda? They were pouring 20 rotating taps of craft beer back when the scene was in its infancy, and went on to launch GABS, the Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers, and Stomping Ground beer too.
So it's wonderful to have such legends joining the Pint of Origin lineup for the first time in 2023. They're putting their 20 taps to full use as well with a diverse array of beers from 20 of their home state's brewers, from the new to those who helped build Victoria's beer culture.
Four of them will feature at a special Pint of Origin Ale Stars on May 16 (Holgate, Love Shack, Ocean Reach and Dollar Bill), while it all kicks off with the launch of a new beer created with Torquay legends Blackman's.
Miss Moses – Sydney
After a decade, the only OG host venue still standing, The Rainbow, decided to retire, leaving their other venue to carry on their mantle in Coburg (see below). That left Sydney's brewers looking for a home – up stepped Brunswick's Miss Moses, previously the home to the Territories brewers.
And, crikey, haven't they gone to town. There's little point trying to summarise their plans for the week here as they've got two events on most days, from Victorian launches of small Sydney breweries to a birthday party, a lager showcase, and a deep dive into the cellar at Wildflower.
Arguably, you could spend the entire ten days at Miss Moses never having the same beer twice, and feeling like you'd been on an adventure even without leaving your seat (other than to go to the bar / toilet).
NEAR & FAR – BRISBANE
Two newcomers in one here, well, sorta... First, the venue making their PoO bow: Near & Far is the bar-cum-bottleshop-cum-sandwich joint helmed by Jason Cameron of Maverick Imports that has made its name by showcasing great beers from near and far across its wall of taps and multiple doors of fridges (and that was even before they opened the bottlo next door).
It mixes Fitzroy bar vibes downstairs with your mate's living room vibes upstairs, with a pool table thrown in for good measure, and is hosting the brewers of Brisbane. Why's that a first? The Queensland capital gets its own venue in 2023 with brewers from the rest of Queensland at The Park.
You'll recognise some of the faces on their lineup, but there's new faces there too, with the likes of Future Magic, Hiker, 27 South and Happy Valley making their way south for the first time. Look out for meet the brewer opportunities and lots of tasty beer.
THE PALACE – SOUTH MELBOURNE
From a newcomer to a member of Pint of Origin royalty. The team at The Palace in South Melbourne have been the home of South Australia's brewers for close to a decade now, a period over which they've forged longstanding friendships.
Head in between May 12 and 21 and you'll find plenty of returning favourites, but also some SA brewers who've not starred at the festival before – close to 20 different brewers are sending beers across state lines. You'll find some of them at the bar for the annual Beat The Brewer Trivia Night on May 18, which follows The Crafty Pint's IPA Blind Tasting Championship on the Wednesday night.
THE PARK HOTEL – QUEENSLAND
The Park in Abbotsford are old hands when it comes to showcasing beers from the Sunshine State, so much so that even as we took Brisbane away from them in 2023 they've still got a banging lineup awaiting beer lovers.
There's hearty representation from both Gold and Sunshine Coasts, including a tap takeover by champions-of-everything Moffat Beach and a chance to hand at the bar with the legends (and out there beer-makers) from Lost Palms on the closing weekend.
Opening things up is a trip into the hinterland for a showcase of beers from Luke and Smokey AKA the unique Currumbin Valley Brewing, while in the middle you'll find Balter launching their new Cerveza and bringing some of their taproom-only beers along for the ride.
THE PRINCE ALFRED – GREATER PERTH
A few years back, you'd have struggled to fill a Pint of Origin venue's taps with brewers from around Perth, with WA's regions outdoing their city counterparts when it came to craft beer. It's a very different picture now, however, and festival newcomers, The Prince Alfred in Port Melbourne, aim to prove that over the ten days.
With a venue manager who only moved to Melbourne from the west a few years ago at the helm (and tapping into her contacts in Perth), they've got their hands on all manner of beers from the brewers of Perth and surrounds.
Look out for beers from brewers familiar from past Pint of Origins, such as Nowhereman, Blasta, Otherside and Blasta, plus others including serial award-winners King Road Brewing, South Africa-influence IMPI Brewers and Bright Tank, who are in the house for a Meet The Brewers on May 17.
THE ROYSTON – REGIONAL WA
Elder statesmen of the Melbourne craft beer scene and of Pint of Origin, in 2023 The Royston crew is sharing WA with the venue above after years of being the sole rep for the brewers of the west.
It still gives them plenty to play with, of course, with tap takeovers on the way from Rocky Ridge, Shelter, Beerfarm and Slumdog over the opening half of the festival.
On the closing weekend, they asked The Crafty Pint team to curate another lineup of lesser-seen beers and breweries for the second edition of Western Wonders. We've got a blend of beers from pilsners and saison to red ale and tripel from breweries located in the likes of Denmark and Kalgoorlie.
THE WOODLANDS – REGIONAL NSW
Talk about opening with a bang... The Woodlands continue as hosts of Regional New South Wales and are welcoming arguably the hottest brewery in Australia to take over their taps on the opening night: 12 taps of Mountain Culture deliciousness await.
There's not messing across the remainder of the week either as one of Melbourne's best-looking pubs gets set to host brewers from all parts of the state, including Tumut River Brewing Co, Resin, Badlands, Jindabyne Brewing, Jervis Bay Brewing Co, Thirsty Crow, Wicked Elf, Reckless, New England Brewing Co, Big Niles Brewing Co and Stone & Wood.
With Sydney's brewers also hosted by a venue on Sydney Road, you can make a full day of NSW action on the easiest pub crawl route possible (well, as long as you turn the right way out of the door when moving from one to the other...).