Brewers Feast 2019 had everyone frothing

Good sun, good drinks and good vibes all 'round.

Abbotsford Convent is home to regular farmers markets, craft markets & art exhibitions, showcasing the very best talent in their respective fields, so it makes sense for it to also host the biggest celebration of local craft beer.

Brewers Feast, now in its third year, brings together three of the best things in life: beer, food and music – specifically catered to in that order. The festival organisers have even gone one step further, pairing each and every one of their beers with the food trucks and bands on site, taking your senses to a whole new level.

On arrival, guests received a complimentary beer glass and coupons for a free beer from their major sponsor, Grand Ridge. After that, it was just a matter of settling into your spot and then leisurely making your way around the 100+ beers, wines, ciders, whiskies and cocktails available.

Even if you don’t know the difference between an IPA and an XPA, the festival is open to lovers of good times in general, with plenty of families, prams and dogs about.

Thankfully Melbourne decided to turn the weather on for festivalgoers, with the sun shining the entire two days it ran. The grounds were well laid out, using all the nooks and crannies within the Convent space, and plenty of facilities for once the mighty seal had been broken. Around each corner you could find something new, with various performers walking around and even table tennis or giant Jenga to keep you entertained. Or for those with a little less energy, comfy sun-lounges littered in front of the main stage.

Anyone who arrived for the beer and beer alone was certainly not underwhelmed. The festival brought in most of the big-name brewers from Melbourne and surrounding areas, like Stomping Ground, Holgate, Mornington Peninsula and Stone & Wood, but also a lot of smaller boutique producers – presenting their own perfectly balanced ales and a few outrageous experimental flavours. There was literally something for every palette preference.

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Grand Ridge was this year’s presenting partner, who are coincidentally celebrating 30 years of brewing this year. Brewery founder Eric was hosting one of the many masterclasses for the weekend, taking you through what makes them unique, such as using all natural ingredients, solar power and waste-free disposal. 

Another major drawcard was the festival beers, presented by Bintani and specifically brewed for the event. There were 20 beers in total, including a Passionfruit Parfait beer from Mr. Banks Brewery, a Sour Apricot Blonde Ale from Hop Nation and a Spiced Ginger Beer from Henry Street Brewhouse, to name a few.

If you needed a break from beer there were many other options available, such as the ever-refreshing Harcourts apple cider, magnificent Red Hill Estate wine and a whole whisky garden sponsored by Starward Whisky – with the legends from Henry Lee Barbershop set up to groom while you consume.

Throughout each of the days there were a number of beer-related events, some free and some requiring additional tickets – such as the master classes, beer taste-offs, and beer pairings with everything from cheese to BBQ and calamari. Whenever you needed to refuel with food there was never short supply, with meat-heavy, vegan or vegetarian options catered for. The best part was that because there were so many options the lines were always relatively small, so you could grab a quick feed before getting back to the main attraction.

A festival would be nothing without music setting the scene, and Brewers Feast stacked a line-up of some of the best local up-and-comers. There were two stages on the grounds, which meant you could choose the vibe at your own leisure. Saturday’s main stage showcased some really impressive new talent, specifically the gritty classic rock of Chester Bix, blues-heavy T.K Reeve, head-bopping indie beats from Neighbourhood Youth and the dreamy beach rhythm of Longboys.

For those who weren’t totally wrecked by the continuous flow of beer or sunshine throughout the long day, there was even an official after party hosted by Urban Alley Brewery afterwards. Over all, Brewers Feast was a delight for any emerging or established beer lovers.