Froth’s Guide to Good Beer Week

Beer and circuses? Cheese and opera? Head-to-tail degustations? Jenny Schmidt offers her top picks for Melbourne’s biggest week of beer.

Acrobat Jon Campos in action at Hawkers Brewery in Reservoir ahead of Good Beer Week.

Beer and circuses? Cheese and opera? Head-to-tail degustations? Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of events available during Good Beer Week? Jenny Schmidt offers her top picks for Melbourne’s biggest week of beer.

Good Beer Week. The team behind GABS describes it as both the ‘Olympics’ and ‘Disneyland’ of the beer world. With 270 events on offer, this year’s theme is ‘choose your own adventure’. Froth presents a 2017 Good Beer Week shortlist for brave beer explorers. (Along with some bonus words of wisdom – book early, many events sell out in advance.)

The Ultimate Melbourne Brew Tour Party provides an excellent value for money. Hop on the bus at Beer DeLuxe for a trip to five breweries south of the city – Kaiju! & Exit, Dainton Family Brewing, Bad Shepherd, and the Boatrocker Barrel Room. The ticket price includes transportation, lunch, and beer tastings. But wait, there’s more! An after party with the brewers at the Terminus, DJs, and drinks on arrival make this tour the best thing $99 can buy.

Break out the safety googles for a unique beer nerd event with Garage Project. New Zealand’s ‘mad scientists of beer’ are known for creating weird and wonderful brews. (Cereal Milk Stout brewed with cornflakes or a Lola Cherry Cola Beer, anyone?) Garage Project Lab at Forester’s Hall in Fitzroy provides live demonstrations of flavour extractions, along with post-brewing transformations. It’s a novel event from a one-of-a-kind brewery.

Hawker’s Brewery Circus delivers the ‘wow’ factor. The show is specifically created to be performed in the brewery’s unique architecture and showcases performers from Cirque Du Soleil, Circus Oz, Circa, NICA and NIDA. Live theatre lovers can also get classy at Heavenly Match. Held in St Paul’s Cathedral, the event combines world-class beer, cheese, and opera for a ‘once in a lifetime celestial fusion’. Date night sorted.

Boatrocker Brewing Co heads up Beer School at the Festival Hub for a week of affordable and accessible classes. Tickets are $20 or under and feature a range of informative sessions. Stop by Beer DeLuxe and meet Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman, learn about beer & food pairing, or taste some barrel aged samples.

3 Ravens embraces the ‘go big or go home’ motto with their Cask Off. Twelve cask conditioned ales from six different breweries will be pouring, along with live music and food from Maker & Monger. (Word has it there’ll be an artisan grilled cheese bar to compliment the real ales.) The event includes all food, drinks, and shuttle bus transportation to and from the Thornbury train station. If their event last year is anything to go by, remembering to eat (in-between drinking straight from the tap) is highly advisable.

This year Good Beer Week launches Good Beer Mates – an invitation to international brewers to join the festivities in Melbourne. Portland, Oregon brewers are the first to join the adventure and are partnering with a range of venues to present events throughout the week. The Catfish serves as the Oregon Hub and Le Bon Ton’s Portlandia event sounds ace with beer cocktail guru Jacob Grier alongside brewers and beers from Deschutes, Breakside and Commons.

Start training now – a 10-day marathon of beer adventures is just around the corner.

Good Beer Week takes place from May 12-21. For more information and to buy tickets, head to www.goodbeerweek.com.au