Sunday, 5 October 2014

Very Belated GABS Recap - Day 1

It's a quiet Monday afternoon, so decided I should write a recap of what is probably the coolest beer related event I've ever been to, GABS 2014. 

Back in May, Tony and I jumped on a plane on a Thursday night and flew our way down to Melbourne to attend the Great Australian Beer show. I can safely say I drank more beer over a 3 day period that weekend than any other time in my life, and I'm sure Tony can say the same. The festival started off for us on Friday morning, and ended in a very hazy plane flight back to Sydney on Sunday night. 

Free Beer Stein!
As we walked in the door, we were handed our complementary beer steins and the guidebook, which listed all 111 festival beers, beers specially brewed for GABS by brewers across Australia and the world! GABS 2014 had showings from Europe, America, Canada and nearly every part of Australia, ranging from creme brulee porters to the strangest of barrel aged sours. 

We entered with one quest: To taste all 111 of these beers. And like all great quests, it had to start somewhere;

Paddle 1: Where it all began

Straight off the bat there was a scratched beer at number 5. This would prove to be a trend, with a number of beers having been scratched due to issues, whether with supply, flavour or even just logistics. In the end there were still over 100 beers, but not quite the expected 111. That didn't stop us wanting to taste each one though!

We quickly discovered however that this wasn't going to be easy. Every beer cost one ticket, and we each recieved 10 tickets on our way on. 20 tickets vs 111 beers just wasn't going to cut it. Enter buying whole sheets of tickets at once...

Literally a $100 note

Throughout the show we managed to go through 3 full sheets of tickets in addition to the ones issued to us on the way in... Yikes. Part of the reason we used so many tickets was that in addition to the festival beers, plenty of breweries had stalls where they were showing swathes of other beers not on the main list. One of my favourite NZ breweries, Garage Project, had a particularly cool one:

Definitely the coolest looking stall
Awesome selection

They had put heaps of effort into creating a real spectacle for GABS, which included the giant stall, a full fledged comic about their 2 beers and the monsters inspired by them, and a pair of awesome masks. They also had special editions of some of their beers, such as the Triple Day of the Dead which was simply amazing. 

Pictured: Actual monster fight

Throughout Day 1, we tried about 60 beers, ~45 of them being from the main range of festival beers. This put us well on the way to hitting our goal across 3 days. But we knew pace was key.

Standouts from Day 1 were:

Beer 1 - 2 Brothers Creme Caramel
A desert 'Ice Ale' that really had the cloying sweetness of a creme caramel, while still being recognisable as a beer. A great way to start off the show with something completely different from the norm, although it set the tone for some of the best beers in show

Beer 10 - Bacchus Brewing Rocky Road
Another sweet beer, this one with definite flavours of peanut and somehow, marshmallow. No clue how they did this, but I do know I'd love to try it again some time.

Beers 17+18 - Bootleg + Thirsty Crow PB + J
These were 2 separate beers designed to be had side by side or blended. The PB was very peanutty and almost salty, and the J just tasted like a slightly sour glass of strawberry jam, but together... Together these were almost the beer of the show for me. Absolutely divine, like taking a bite of a real PB+J sandwich.

This board basically defined Day 1

Stay Tuned for day 2 and more beer related shenanigans as Tony and I pursue the ultimate goal; to drink every single festival beer!

No comments:

Post a Comment