Bacon, donuts, hemp flour, sake, rum, gin, Tim Tams, popcorn, agave, and even edible green ants. These are just some of the more exotic ingredients found amongst the many ‘Festival Beers & Ciders’ brewed especially for the 2019 edition of GABS Beer, Cider & Food Fest presented by Dan Murphy’s.
Renowned as one of the world’s leading beer festivals, GABS (otherwise known as the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular) brings together the best breweries from Australia and New Zealand for a whirlwind celebration of craft beer and cider.
At the heart of the event are the 170 ‘Festival Beers & Ciders’ made especially for GABS each year by Australia and New Zealand’s leading brewers and cidermakers. Collaboration is a particular focus for this year’s festival, with many brewers pairing up with other food and drink brands to develop their GABS Collabs Festival Beers & Ciders, including coffee roasters, tea houses, gin and whisky distillers, biscuit makers and even an American BBQ smokehouse.
Many of those breweries and cideries also set up interactive stands at the festival as part of the Dan Murphy’s Marketplace, providing attendees with the chance to chat with the team behind the products as they sample from their ranges of core and limited-release beers and ciders.
While beer and cider are the stars of the show, GABS is perhaps just as well known for putting on a spectacular event, complete with circus and sideshow performers, panel discussions with industry leaders, cooking demonstrations, whisky bars, beer hall games, their incredibly popular ‘house band’ The Ale Capones, and even a giant indoor Ferris wheel at the Melbourne and Sydney events.
Some of the best local food trucks and vendors will also be serving up tasty treats at each event. In Melbourne, the new Yak Ales BBQ Heaven features an all-star lineup including Bluebonnet BBQ, Biggie Smalls and Leonard’s House of Love. Sydney punters can feast on dishes from Bovine & Swine, Happy As Larry Pizza, Chur Burger and Dirty Bird. Brisbane food trucks include King Of The Wings, Mac From Way Back, Netherworld’s Hellmouth Diner and more.
Other event features include the Little Creatures House Of Fun, where attendees can take on vintage arcade games, crazy mini golf and haybale bowling. The Balter Tiñata (think piñata with a giant beer can) will have punters swinging for glory, and BentSpoke’s Roller Racing Derby will elevate the heart rate with static bike races. Groups will also enjoy the Mountain Goat Trail, possibly the first ever competitive scavenger hunt to be held at a beer festival, and won’t want to miss the Biggie Bar from Feral Brewing Co, featuring a live DJ, burgers and of course, beers!
The hugely popular Yenda Wheel of Beer (an 18 metre indoor Ferris wheel) will be back in both Melbourne and Sydney, with all ticket sales donated to the Fight MND (motor neurone disease). The popular Stomping Ground Silent Disco is also stepping up its game with the addition of a giant neon boom box truck to set the vibe.
Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton
Fri 17 – Sun 19 May 2019 (tickets on sale: Fri 15 March)
For tickets and further information, head to www.gabsfestival.com
While you’re in Melbourne, check out these other things to do!