A last minute guide to GABS and my beer picks

The Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular aka GABS aka Australia’s biggest and bestest beer festival begins tomorrow. The event is a gold star on the craft beer calendar with over 100 beers brewed exclusively for the festival.

Last year’s event was a cracker, ironing out some of the teething issues affecting its first year at the Royal Exhibition Hall and showcasing some delightfully inventive and tasty beers that hit the mark. Here was my recap.

This year we can expect even more from the event. More beers, more games, more things to check out, and more stands featuring brewers.

Here are some tips to prepare you for your GABS assault.


The maths of GABS are simple: there are almost 120 beers pouring and you receive a paddle that enables you to taste 5 beers at a time. So it would take 24 paddles to taste every beer there.

Unless you plan on attending every session, you’re going to need to prioritise. I expect to get through 6 paddles in a session, especially with some of the 10%abv+ sippers on offer and with a number of beer stalls worth checking out this year too (hello Garage Project).

The other important thing to keep in mind when selecting your beers is that you can only order from one of the six sections at a time. So rather than choosing your top 30 beers, consider what are the top five beers from each section and which sections you want to hit up first.

You can grab however many tasters you want from each section but the full paddle of five is the most efficient way to order your beers, especially as you may spend some time waiting in lines during peak periods.

My Choices

Interestingly, in this year’s GABS guide, there is even a three-tiered rating system for drinkability from easier drinking to more challenging,

I’m tending toward the more challenging beers for the most part. While I love a good red ale or IPA, I also know I can get beers like that anytime but how often will I get the chance to drink all these barrel aged, sour or added beers.

Without further ado here are my preselections for tomorrow night as selected in the GABS App. Happy days.


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