Good Beer Week is a lie. It’s actually more than a week: nine days of the best craft beer from around the world, a convergence of spectacular beer-related events.
May 16-24 sees 250 events at 180 venues around Melbourne. How does a girl (or boy) pick? I’ve done that for you. And I know my stuff — this is my fourth year writing about or attending GBW, and my second time running an event (we’ll get to that in a bit). To make things easier, the GBW team have divided events into different streams. Your best bets are the Foodie and Good Times streams. One of the most overlooked parts of Good Beer Week are the restaurant events — they’re seriously the best bargains you’ll find all year, and often feature visiting brewers or one-off menus. You simply can’t go wrong with any event at Good Beer Week.
Here are my Top 10 standouts for uniqueness and value:
- Viking Beer vs. Pig @ Atticus Finch (Thurs. 21 May, $100) – 12 Scandinavian beers. 12 cuts of pork. Plus DJs from Architecture in Helsinki. This one’s at the top because it’s selling fast — get in now for a night you’ll be talking about till the next GBW.
- Release of Russian Collaboration Beers @ Tru Bru (Tues. 19 May, $25) – Anton from Tru Bru, our favourite hidden craft bottle-o in Prahran, teams up with four Russian breweries. I don’t know ’bout you, but I’ve never had Russian beer. I can’t wait. Only question: will there be vodka too?
- Women of Beer High Tea @ Junction Beer Hall (Sun. 24 May, $50) – High tea, but with English Ale instead of English breakfast. I can get behind it. Plus it features the amazing ladies from Women of Beer, a most worthy cause.
- Scavenger Hunt @ The Fox Hotel (Wed. 20 May, $15) – Yes, we listed this in 2014, but that’s only because it’s one of the most fun nights you’ll have all year. Run around Collingwood and Fitzroy snapping photos and drinking beer. It’s even more fun if you dress up — my mates & I went as pirates last year.
- Baird Beer Omakase @ Ichi Ni (Tues. 19 May, $85) – Five courses of Japanese food, a cocktail, and five beers a top Japan microbrewey. All for $85. See what I was saying about great value at the GBW Foodie events? There are several Japanese events if you just can’t get enough.
- Souring Inferno @ Belgian Beer Cafe (Tues. 19 May, $65) – Sour beers are amazing — tart, crisp, fresh. And they’re starting to get really popular, so much so that I’ve missed out on getting tickets to a GBW sour event two years running. I’m not making that mistake again. You shouldn’t, either.
- Time Out Pub Awards @ Beer DeLuxe (Mon. 18 May, $68) – Time Out Melbourne puts on bang-up events that we love to cover on The Plus Ones, and the Pub Awards’ new home at Beer DeLuxe (the GBW festival hub) means even more fun times.
- The Nest Off: Brewer Meets Chef @ Two Birds Brewing (Wed. 20 May, $60) – Jayne from Two Birds and Casey from Rockwell & Sons go head-to-head, pairing common ingredients into either beer or food. You get to decide who wins. (Um, I think we all do.)
- Are You Game? @ Little Creatures Geelong (Sun. 17 May, free) – I went to the Little Creatures Brewery in Geelong over Easter and was blown away. It’s worth the drive. The old woolen mill is an amazing place for the brewery — so take a sober driver and head down for the arvo.
- The Bus That Rocks @ Edinburgh Castle Hotel (Sat. 16 May, $95) – One bus, six craft beer locations, food, giveaways, and a hell of a lot of beer. This sounds like the magical craft beer party bus of my dreams.
- Craft + Craft @ Two Row (Sat. 16 May, $40) – I’m running an event, so how could I not include it? Drink craft beer while making beer-related crafts. We’re creating bottlecap flowers and beer-rariums (beer glass terrariums) whilst drinking beer from new brewery Kettle Green Brewing. The giftbags are to die for.
Go to places you’ve never been to. Try things you think you might not like (only to find out you do). Just block off the entire month of May for beer, okay? Because the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular is also happening on 22-24 May. You’ll thank me later.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones are invited guests of Zilla & Brook.