For the seventh year running the Great Australian Beer Festival (GABF) returns to Geelong, and as craft beer lovers delight, Renn Blackman of Blackman’s Brewery said non-beer drinkers can rejoice too.
“The beer festival is awesome for Geelong and the Surf Coast in showcasing Aussie beers that are doing really good things. There’s quite a few breweries in the region doing well and people may not know about them,” Mr Blackman said.
“The GABF has helped push them to the forefront of people’s minds. Blackman’s has been going since we opened over four and a half years ago and I attended every year since prior to that, with work in some form.”
Mr Blackman said people’s views on craft beer has evolved over the past 10 years and while some love traditional beers like Carlton Draught, people are more adventurous now.
“It’s slowly changing, 10 years ago craft beer was seen as a “posh” person’s drink but now people are happy to try it and finding they like it,” he said.
“There’s so many styles of beer now, even people that say they’re not beer drinkers can go to the beer festival and find something they like. A Belgian witbier is lighter, not bitter and a little bit lemony. Someone who normally drinks cider often really likes that style.”
GABF co-organiser Mike Ward said this year’s event would include all the favourites; street food, live music, DJs and over 200 different beers from more than 40 national breweries.
“It’s the only festival in the world that has all Geelong and regional brewers attending the one single event – spend a part of your day getting around to these local beauties and the other tasting beers from across the nation,” Mr Ward said. This year’s festival takes place February 16 from 1-8pm with organisers adding larger tasting cups and allowing brewers to sell their beers by the can; for brewers who have them.
Mr Ward and fellow organiser Kieran Blood said craft beer shouldn’t be just for haughty hipsters or boring box-tickers.
“Our mission is to bring good, flavorsome, creative beers to the masses.
By putting on an event that brings together great beer, music and street food, we hope it appeals to a wide variety of people.”
For tickets and more information, visit gabfgeelong.com.au