200 events celebrating craft beer over nine days. Melbourne won’t know what’s hit it.
It’s all due to the team behind Good Beer Week (17-25 May), who have seen 400% growth in events since their 2011 launch. I’ve been involved in covering the event the past two years, and was so impressed by the events that I decided to run my own!
My event is female-focused, but of course crafty men are welcome, too.
Craft beer paired with craft making. What could be better?
Sample a variety of craft beer under the guidance of Jayne Lewis of Two Birds Brewing, paired with healthy snacks by Lee Gal of Naturalee. Then get your craft on! Create beer cap jewellery with Theresa Winters; learn the art of origami hop flowers with Lou from Paperlab.co; and make beer carton notebooks with Chloe Gunn of Gunnbelievable. You’ll walk home with a bag full of creations you made yourself.
The 2.5-hr session is hosted in the warm confines of sewing shop Thread Den. There will even be beer-related craft items on sale to complement what you make on the day.
Sat. 17 & Sun. 18 May
Thread Den (3d/26 Wellington St, Collingwood VIC)
So I know you’re going to buy a ticket to mine. But what else should you go to? Many of the events have already sold out, so I’ve compiled my Top 10 Must Dos at Good Beer Week. Book your tickets quickly before they get snapped up.
- Craft + Craft (Sat. 17 & Sun.18 May, $37) – Obviously, my own event is top of the list. You simply must come for the gift bags alone.
- Opening Party (Fri. 16 May, free) – It’s the kickoff to the festival, so why not head to the Terminus Hotel (the Festival Hub the rest of the week) and party with all the brewers and beer lovers. This could get messy. As could the Closing Night Party on Sat. 24.
- KAIJU! Beer & Board Games (Sun. 18 May, $55) – My pals at Golden Axe cider are running this nerdtastically cool event for their KAIJU! brand beer. (You can read about their forced name change from ‘Monster Mash’ to ‘KAIJU’. It involves a large energy drink company…)
- Weihenstephan Barbeque (Sun. 18 May, $45) – One thing you don’t see a lot of at craft beer festivals is German beer. That’s sad, because the entire country is practically swimming in delicious brews. And with hundreds of years of practice (Weihenstephan is the oldest brewery in the world), the Germans know what they’re doing.
- Better Than a Swiss Army Knife (Mon. 19 May, $65) – The description of this kitschy event says it best: “Grab your fraulein and check your Swatch, it’s time to get into the Swiss Club for a great night of Swiss Food and Craft Beer! Dance, yodel, eat and drink to your heart’s content”
- The Big Easy (Tues. 20 May, $80) – One of the best things about the GBW festival is the food events. You can get amazingly great value. I was lucky enough to go to this last year and had one helluva time. If you don’t pick this one, choose your own adventure from the Foodie stream.
- Around the World in 8 Beers (Wed. 21 May, $42) – I have a lot of friends in the beer industry, okay? And one of them is Adrian over at BrewSmith, the world’s best home brewing kits. Hosted by laneway social enterprise bar Shebeen, $10 from each ticket gets donated to charity. See — drinking beer is good for the world!
- Good Beer Scavenger Hunt (Thurs. 22 May, $15) – I’m determined to finally go this year. Rampage around Collingwood while drinking beer and winning prizes. What’s not to love?
- The Brewer’s Blend (Sat. 24 May, $10) – Hosted by my friends at Two Birds Brewing — who are also doing Craft + Craft with me — you can visit their brewery and taste beers from seven states (including New Zealand…just don’t let the Kiwis see that).
- Pint of Origin – Rest of the World (the whole festival, free) – Right, one last plug for a pal. Pint of Origin sees regional beers taking over taps at various bars. New Fitzroy craft beer bar Two Row, headed by my friend Tiffany, is hosting beers from the Middle East, Japan, and Canada. Sounds fun, eh?
To add insult to injury (to your liver) I have two more beer festivals for you:
- Craft Beer Hop-Up Bar (Wed. 21 May, free) – Visit Time Out Melbourne‘s pop-up at The Terminus for a preview of the next big beer festival: Beervana. It’s in Wellington August 22-23, and you can register to win a trip to beer heaven.
- Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular (Fri. 23–Sun.25 May, $54-$62) – Coinciding with GBW, GABS takes over the Royal Exhibition Centre. I went last year and it was super fun.
Tiffany of Beer Girl Bites (and Two Row bar) wrote tips last year on how to survive the week. She knows what she’s on about, having helped organise the festival the past few years. Listen to the lady.
And listen to this lady: If you go to one festival in Melbourne this year, let it be Good Beer Week. You will get value for money, learn new things, and have an utterly fantastic time. And not just at my event — at all of them.