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Beat's Guide to Brewers Feast 2019

Melbourne is heralded as the microbrewing capital of Australia and what better way to celebrate that than with a huge festival. 

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For its third year, Brewers Feast is bringing a carefully curated selection of the best craft beer, wine and spirits Melbourne has to offer to the iconic Abbotsford Convent, along with food to match, and a musical soundtrack to top it all off. To break it all down, we’ve put together this handy guide to everything happening at the festival when it goes down on Saturday February 23 and Sunday February 24. 

Over 18 exclusive Brewers Feast beers

Though all craft beers are special in their own way, and will be a-flowing, a unique selection of exclusive beers, specially created just for the festival, will be on offer. There will be more than 18 of these special signature beers, crafted by some of Australia’s best and most exciting breweries in an effort to bottle the personality and spirit of the breweries themselves. Supported by Bintani, the lineup of exclusive brews includes a lime pie-inspired brew from Stomping Ground Brewing, a spiced ginger beer from Henry St Brewhouse, and a passionfruit parfait from Mr. Banks Brewery. Yum. 

Grab a free beer on arrival

One of the oldest craft breweries in Australia, 2019 marks Grand Ridge Brewery’s 30th birthday. And though it’s their birthday, and we should be buying the first round, Grand Ridge will be providing a welcome beer to every festival attendee, completely free of charge. Talk about a bunch of legends. But the celebrations for this momentous occasion don’t stop there. Grand Ridge will also be launching a new beer at the festival, ‘Ekka’s IPA’, a brew created in honour of founder Eric ‘Ekka’ Walters, whose vision to open a craft brewery in Australia 30 years ago was nothing short of revolutionary. 

Beer and music pairing 

Universally acknowledged is the truth that a person drinking a great beer, must be after an equally great soundtrack to go along with it. Luckily for all those who plan to drink their body-weight this Brewers Feast, the selection of beer is matched by a stellar lineup of local music acts. Every artist performing at the festival has been matched with a recommended beer to sip on while they’re on stage. Quite an intriguing experiment this is and we’re all for it.

Pair your palate with your pale ale 

Looking to try something new but don’t know where to start? Completing the festival’s ménage à trois, (that is: beer, music and food), the pale ale pairing sessions are something to get excited about. These specialised sessions serve three surprise pale ales alongside perfectly matched, slow-cooked meats. Created in partnership with Bigger than Texas BBQ, the menu features slow smoked barbeque beef, pork and chicken, and a selection of mouth-watering sides. Beware, though, the opportunity to sample these pairings is a limited one, with only three sessions available. What are you still doing here reading? Go, book your tickets now!

There’s masterclasses as well

We don’t need an education to enjoy a drink, but for those who would certainly like one, Brewers Feast has you covered. The festival’s masterclasses are the perfect place to learn more about your favourite beverages, and not just for beer drinkers. Session topics range from pairing food with beer, wine or spirits, wine tasting, and cider appreciation, to growing and using hops in brewing, and exploring the styles and tastes of beers. Those who wish to take their beverage experience to the next level need not hesitate to make use of this incredible festival opportunity. Hop to it. 

Food tasting sessions

Over eight sessions, the West City Beer Hall will deftly match beers to a whole range of culinary delights. The Collingwood-based venue will host this schedule of events, teaching participants how to perfectly pair everything from falafel to smoke meats, calamari to nuts and cheese to confectionary with just the right beer. The sessions are the perfect way to take the festival home with you, and find out what truly is the best snack to accompany your favourite cold one. 

Festival games and markets

Ask any expert and they’ll agree: beer tastes better with company; and competition. With this is mind, Brewers Feast will be an event the whole family can enjoy. With a host of games – think table tennis, jenga, connect four and more – even those abstaining from a drink can get in on all kinds of fun, all day long. When you inevitably need to cool down from a game-induced argument, you can take a time out at the food markets. With a delectable array of take-home goods on offer, including meat rubs, sauces and cheese, it’s the perfect opportunity to grab a gift for someone special, and take a piece of Brewers Feast home with you.

Starward concocting whisky cocktails

Not in the mood for beer? Try Starward, a whiskey inspired by our gorgeous city and brought to life by founder David Vitale. It’s elementally matured – inspired by Melbourne’s classic four-seasons-in-a-day – for three “Melbourne years” inside Australian wine barrels, creating a truly Melburnian whiskey. Starward will be available at Brewers Feast in the form of refreshing whiskey-based cocktails, or neat for those in the mood. And if you can’t choose between a whiskey and a beer, never fear, they’ll be serving up boilermakers, too. 

There’ll be wine and cider too

Beer isn’t for everyone. Luckily, the festival is catering for every palate. Harcourt Valley Vineyards have an array of options, from ciders and wines, but also a raspberry mead, crafted by winemakers inspired by the growth of mead in the USA, as well as a ginger beer. You can also try raw wine from The Natural Wine Co. while Those Girls will provide a selection of non-alcoholic iced teas for those taking it easy for the day. Varieties come in the form of a lime and mint mojito, blueberry and mint, and ginger and lemon.

Brewers Feast goes down from Saturday February 23 to Sunday February 24. Grab your tickets via the festival website.