The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS), which showcases the best artisan craft breweries and cider houses from Australia, New Zealand and around the world, is hopping its way to Sydney shores.

Guy Greenstone (left) and Steve Jeffares .. co-founders of the event.

Guy Greenstone (left) and Steve Jeffares .. co-founders of the event.

The event, brewed up by Aussie mates Steve Jeffares and Guy Greenstone, who own multi-award winning specialty beer venues The Local Taphouse bars in Darlinghurst and St Kilda, have seen such success in Melbourne they’re going to host events in both Melbourne and Sydney this year.

Held at Melbourne’s historic Royal Exhibition Building for the last three years, it is seen as the premier beer and food experience in the country, especially for brewers wanting to push the boundaries.

In total, more than 250 beers from 130 breweries were showcased along with gourmet street food, a fromagerie, live entertainment, brewery and industry stands and free educational seminars.

This year will see more than 300 beers from 150 Australian and international breweries showcased, including 120 brewed specifically for the events in Melbourne, and Sydney’s event at the Australian Technology Park in Eveleigh.

Warning this is a beer event! Dont worry there is will be some great cider there as well.

Steve Jeffares says there’s no limit to what breweries can create.

“Breweries can submit any beer they like as long as they’ve never brewed it before. Some choose to brew in a traditional style, perhaps with a twist, while others use exotic ingredients and brewing processes to come up with something very creative.

“This year we have one-off beers being made including oysters, orange peel, coriander seeds, finger limes, peaches, cherries, truffles, chocolate, biscuits, split peas, pineapple, coconut, vodka and a beer which will taste like banoffee pie.”

Steve says one of the biggest changes this year will be placing a greater emphasis on food.

“We have partnered with some terrific local Sydney restaurants including Three Blue Ducks, Cornersmith, Veggie Patch, Mary’s and LP Meats. There will be a demonstration kitchen and we will be making beer pairing suggestions for all the dishes and our brand new app will really enhance the beer and food experience.”

Acclaimed local brewers including Murray’s, Thirsty Crow, Riverside, 4 Pines and Young Henry’s will be among the many local, Australian and international breweries exhibiting.
Young Henry’s brewer Richard Adamson says they’re making a cherry Flanders ale, “which uses fresh cherries from a local lavender farm and then we aged it for six months in rum barrels, and combine it with a rich velvet stout made with raspberries.”

4 Pines (who make a cider under a different label) brewer Leigh Smith says they wanted to create something as natural as possible so are using a technique of steeping roasted nuts and then freezing the mixture, so they can scrape off the fat, leaving “just the peanut goodness”.

Leigh says GABS is a great way to give the industry a chance to really push the boundaries and get creative.

“Providing beer lovers with lots of choice keeps brewers on their toes. As consumers get better educated, the quality of beer can only go up because if you drop the ball your sales will suffer and there will be no place for you in a quality driven market. It makes me as a brewer want to lead the market and raise the bar on a daily basis, but also as a consumer it means lots of great beer to choose from, which is only a good thing.

“Specific events allow the industry to take a risk in an understanding environment. Trying something that has not been done before might not work first time but it might lead to something awesome in the future.”

The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular in Sydney will be a one-day event on Saturday 30th May at the Australian Technology Park in Eveleigh.

More information: www.gabsfestival.com.au

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