If I were any kind of self-respecting beer blogger I would have been posting live from the Great Australian Beer Spectapular: juggling laptop and tasting paddles, giving commentary on beer festival fashion and conducting video interviews with brewers…
But I’m Beer for a Year! So instead here’s a quick run down about a week too late.
GABS was gabsmackingly good. In my mind this is largely thanks to the stunning venue – the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens – which made the whole beer-drinking business feel incredibly grand and important. Phil Cook has some nice photos which you can peruse over here.
I had tickets to two sessions – Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and planned to spread the beers over the two days so that I could get through all of them. Best laid plans and all that – I actually ended up getting quite over-excited on the Saturday and trying 40 beers (in many cases just half a tiny cup), and only making it through about 15 the next day.
This post corresponds to the Saturday session, during which I tried all of the NZ beers plus a bunch of Australian ones. Some favorites were Garage Project’s Double Day of the Dead (a chilli chocolate lager), Mike’s Rose IPA, Rennaisance Stonecutter Oak, and 2 Brothers/Diamond Knott Bloody Oak. At least those are a handful that I can remember, but there were so many good ones and I had such tiny amounts that it’s hard to say.
After making my way through several tasting paddles, I thought I should have at least one full glass of beer for my ‘beer of the day’. I would have liked to write about the Double Day of the Dead, but at 8% it seemed a dangerous choice, so I chose this because I hadnt tried it yet and it was only 5.5% according to the booklet.
But was it really? Double IPAs are usually up around the 10% mark, and this certainly tasted like it was too. It was massively hoppy (citrus and pine) and equally sweet, with a suspiciously full mouthfeel for a regular ABV beer. Also, I felt really drunk after I’d finished it. Was it just the forty-odd beers I’d tried before-hand? Maybe. Maybe not.
I tried two beers that day that I liked better than all the rest. One was the Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta (which won People’s Choice Best Beer!!), and the second was a beer that sounded absolutely horrific, but was in fact gorgeous. So gorgeous that it will be the star of my next post.
TO BE CONTINUED…