“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
With 92 different beers debuting at the 2013 The Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular, working your way through the entire list in a four-hour session is not only going to be impossible but potentially dangerous to your health, so it’s worthwhile planning ahead as to which beers you absolutely must try.
Without proper preparation, there’s always the danger that you might crack under the bright lights and miss out on THAT beer from THAT brewer you really love. And no one wants that.
So to prepare for the event, I’ve scoured the beer list and picked out 20 beers that are going to be ‘must-haves’ for me. It’s tough to leave out any of the beers but these are ones I just can’t afford to miss, based on what I know of the brewery and the description of the beer.
In these brewers I trust
These breweries have always come up with the goods for me before and I’m banking on them to do so once again.
Murray’s Craft Brewing Co – The Caveman 8% TBC Smoked Belgio Dark Ale
Their beers are always quality. Are they the best brewery in Australia? Quite possibly.
Bridge Road Brewers – Hop to it Honey 6.2% Honey IPA
I always love the one-off beers these guys do and a Honey IPA sounds mighty refreshing.
Temple Brewing Co – Scarlet Super 5% Sour Wheat Beer brewed with Cranberries and Hibiscus Flowers
Loved their Scarlet Sour as a session beer and expecting to love the more sour Scarlet Super even more.
You’re brewing what now?
These beers sound a little out there, a little crazy, and that’s just how I like it.
Thirsty Crow Brewery (with William Bull Brewery) – Charlie’s Pitbull 8.2% Oak Aged American Stout with Orange Zest & Espresso
I love stouts; I love espresso; I love oak aged beers; and zest is a cool word. My expectations are high for this one.
Two Birds Brewing – Taco 5.2% Hoppy Wheat beer with corn, coriander leaf and lime
Ok so this one sounds weird, but in a super intriguing way, especially for a brewer that, up until now, has focused on producing great session beers.
Six String Brewing – Chai Porter 6.1% Chai Spiced Porter
The use of Earl Grey proved a big hit last year in the Yeastie Boys’ Gunnamatta Tea Leaf IPA. Why not Chai this year from this young brewery?
Colonial Brewing Co – Gary the White 6.8% TBC White Stout
What the hell is a white stout? I plan on finding out.
BrewCult – Acid Freaks 7.5% Balsamic Baltic Porter
That is not a misprint, there is vinegar in the beer. I’m not going to knock it till I try it!
I’ll confess that I’m a big fan of chocolate in beer and I’m especially intrigued by its use here in pilseners and a hefeweizen rather than the usual porter or stout.
Bacchus Brewing Co. – Bacchus White Chocolate Raspberry Pils 4.9% Pilsner
Sounds refreshing and tasty. Giddy up.
Australian Brewery (The) – Frühstück rur dem Kaiser (Breakfast for the Kaiser) 5.5% Chocolate and Golden Naked Oat Breakfast Pilsner
Love a good breakfast lager. Surely the catchiest name for a beer in the competition and maybe the most interesting style description too.
Monk Brewery & Kitchen (with Eagle Bay Brewing Co) – Cacao Cabana 5.5% Choc Brown Hefeweizen
A brewery that I’ve always wanted to try but we don’t get many come to Victoria. A choc brown hefeweizen sounds like a good one to start off with.
Just my style
A few breweries that I haven’t had a lot of exposure too, but who have piqued my interest with some beer styles that are right up my alley.
Riverside Brewing Co – Breakfast By The River 5.4% Smoked Coffee Porter
Smoked – coffee – porter. Those three words alone are making me salivate.
HopDog BeerWorks – An American Werewolf In Belgium 6.5% Belgian IPA
A favourite style of mine. The Belgian yeast can really make the hops shine when done right and I’ve been super impressed with everything I’ve tried from HopDog thus far.
Illawarra Brewing Co – French Kiss 6.6% Shiraz Barrel Aged Farmhouse Ale
This just sounds yum.
While the focus is on the Australian beers, there’s also an elite international group at this year’s GABS and I don’t want to miss the chance to try these beers.
Yeastie Boys – Golden Age of Bloodshed 6.5% “Heavily-Beeted” Belgian Blond
Last year’s winners of the GABS People’s Choice awards are back with something that’s sure to challenge and delight tongues once more.
8 Wired Brewing – Merge Like a Zip 9.5% Imperial Black IPA
Everything they produce is a must-drink for me. The best brewer in Oceania IMHO.
mike’s Organic Brewery – mike’s Udderlicious Milk Stout 5.5% Sweet Milk Stout
After all these big tasting beers, what better palate cleanser is there than a Milk Stout? And this one come from amidst the New Zealand dairy farms apparently.
Moon Dog Craft Brewery & Nøgne Ø Brewery – 7.6% Cherry Wheat Porter
Nøgne Ø are craft brewing legends and they’ve partnered up with the adventurous brewers from Abbotsford, Moon Dog for a beer that tickles my senses just reading it.
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co – Return of the Red Eye 6.5% IPA brewed with Australian hops
I don’t go out of my way for a hoppy pale ale often these days but this is a hoppy pale from the godfather of hoppy pales, fresh from the US just for this event, which makes it a definite yes please in my books.
To conduct your own research on which beers you’ll drink at the festival, check out the full beer list on the GABS website. Also handy are these interviews with GABS brewers. Reading these got me intrigued about a number of the brews listed and also turned me off listing Rennaisance. Seriously, what a buzzkill!