Local favourite, Brewers Feast, is not just another Oktoberfest knock-off.
There’s no singing in lederhosen to start with, eating certainly isn’t cheating, and there isn’t a watered-down lager in sight. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more refined celebration of plentiful beer, rich food, and loud music, all set in the beautiful grounds of Abbotsford Convent. Here’s eight reasons you can’t miss it.
Nearly 100 different beers
With 24 brewers offering close to 100 different beers there’ll be something for everyone, from milk stout-lovers to those looking for a triple fruited gose. In fact, 25 session beers have been made especially for the festival. Not least of these is the English Festival Beer by Docklands’ own Urban Alley Brewery. This easy-drinking ale draws its character from traditional bitter ales using honey and heritage malts from the UK.
Get in the thick of it
There’s a series of masterclasses and guided beer tastings running over the weekend. Get there by noon Saturday for Deeds Brewing’s masterclass on hazy beers and stay for Wrong Side Brewing’s Dark Ale Tales for a rich pairing of dark ale and dark mud cake. Sunday sees Byron Bay’s Stone & Wood give a talk on the anatomy of an independent brewery, and there’s a great pairing by Urban Alley of English bitter ale and English cheese.
More than just beer
If you’re looking to venture beyond the forest of beery delights, then Here’s Looking At You, Kid gin (HLAYK) have you covered. They’re revealing an Abbotsford Convent-inspired gin which uses botanicals found within the convent’s grounds. HLAYK master distiller and founder, Liz Beech, will also be holding private gin-making classes, where you’ll be able to distil and take home a bottle of the festival exclusive Yam Daisy gin.
Pair beer with music
Another masterful mix of flavours will come in the form of beer and music pairings. That’s right, Brewers Feast invites you to match your hops with the music drops. Urban Alley’s English Festival Beer works swimmingly with the musical slings and arrows of indie-folksters Velvet Archers, while indie-rockers Kilns go well with a Brick Lane’s IPA. For something more seasonal, grab a summer lager from St Andrews Beach Brewery and catch a set from Bleach.
The new kids in town
One tent to explore is the Bar Barrons new brewers marquee. It’s hosting three new breweries, all of which are less than 12 months old. BoJaK Brewing are a husband and wife team whose traditional brews hold exotic secrets. Braeside Brewing Co maintain the highest standards to ensure their beer is always at its freshest, and Future Mountain Brewing and Blending conjure up yeasty farmhouse beers and American-style sours.
The wine-minded will be tempted by the selection of wines from Ranahan’s Vineyard. Those seeking a bold and boisterous red wine should look no further than their Chapter 16 shiraz. On the light side of things sits The Pair, a fresh and zesty light pink rosé with a fine texture. For bubbles, The Pearl is a sparkling shiraz that dazzles, while the WRV sauvignon blanc is a crisp and refreshing drop that’s perfect for grabbing a spot of shade in the Convent garden.
Get on down from around 11am each day to see the likes of Polly & The Pockets, Bleach, Vote Party, Team Love and T.K. Reeve knock your socks off, spanning more than six hours of live music per day. There will also be performances from Jessie Maz, Louis Valentine & The Golden Age, Little Elizabeth and more. There will be food and beer pairings aplenty so this really is bliss. Who’s ready to jive?
The festival will also be raising money for the Salvation Army to help relieve those affected by the recent bushfires. A community-minded event, the independent beer community will be able to come together to support families and businesses in need. Part of the effort will be a raffle in which caring punters can have the satisfaction of helping a fire-ravaged area and also potentially get a free case of beer. They’ll also be taking cash donations at the collection point.
Brewers Feast hits Abbotsford Convent across two days from Saturday February 1 to Sunday February 2. Find out more and grab tix via brewersfeast.com.au.