The microbreweries showcase at Federation Square is one of my favourite events on the craft beer calendar. A biannual event that presents a great opportunity to try new beers and talk to the brewers about their beers. It’s also a great chance for new breweries to announce themselves to drinkers. At previous showcases, I was blown away by the likes of Temple Brewing and Beacon Brewing*, and there were a few more new brewers at the latest showcase that I was keen to check out.
Two Birds, is a new female-owned brewing company featuring former Mountain Goat brewer Jane Lewis. While they only had one product on show at the event, it was a goodie. A golden ale fitting in the easy-to-drink category, it has a honey sweet finish similar to Thunder Road’s Full Steam Lager but packs a bit more in the body. A solid start and I’ll be interested to try out their future releases.
Black Heart, a new microbrewer working out of Brighton, announced themselves at the event with a wide range of beers on offer. I tried the American Amber, which was solid but the Dunkelweizen had some ‘off’ flavours and was a bit of a disappointment. Still, I’ll have to try more of their range.
Forrest Brewing from the town of Forrest in the Otway Ranges, were the pick of the new brewers. Their amber was a decent English-style ale with plenty of caramel flavour and a smooth finish but it was their oatmeal stout that really impressed with a good balance of character and drinkability.
Best Beers of the Evening
I’d been meaning to try Brew 500, Bridge Road Brewers’ smokey breakfast lager, for a while and it was cracker, dark, complex with a great mouthfeel and smooth finish.
Bright Brewing’s Stubborn Russian was another that I had missed and it was a fantastic imperial stout, sweet, strong and flavoursome, but nicely balanced.
Toorobrac’s Brewers Own, described as a “light porter” was enjoyable, as was 2 Brothers’ Tabooki, described as an African Amber Ale (?), it was strong (8.3%), smooth and sweet (but not overly so). The Hoppy Amber from Red Duck was also a good’un.
I also really enjoyed Napoleone’s new cloudy apple cider. This one is made mostly from fermented apples and it is classes above much of the cider drunk in Australia. Apparently it can only be found at select venues at the moment though (such as Young & Jacksons).
Oh and the highlight of the evening had to be these mussels, available as part of the event.
There was a good size crowd on a great day for drinking. It seemed to me the crowd generally seemed to shun ‘known’ breweries in favour of the newer ones, in keeping with the event’s spirit of adventure. It was great to see most of the brewers enthusiastic and ready to talk about their beers and the event continues to represent a unique opportunity for those interested in craft beer. If you get the chance, I would definitely recommend going, as it’s also pretty good value with $25 getting you 20 tastings and the aforementioned mussels 🙂
*Disappointingly, Beacon brewing has since closed down along with the Scottish Chief’s Tavern where it was housed and the brewer Dan Cunningham was on-hand pouring beers on the Red Duck stand. Here’s to hoping he can start plying his trade again somewhere soon.