It was an amazing display of craft beer and cider this past weekend as the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS) along with beer lovers descended on Sydney Olympic Park.
In it's 10th year and a with a bit of a different format GABS put on a great show, with 46 breweries and 120 specially made 'Festival Beers' for attendees to enjoy.
There were big names in the craft beer world in attendance, including; Balter, Little Creatures, Mountain Goat Coopers and 4 Pines, alongside smaller and newer brewers, like Blue Mountains own Mountain Culture and the Australian Brewery from Rouse Hill.
At both the stalls and in the festival beers, there was a common theme, one that has been emerging in the craft beer industry over recent years.
Milkshake and New England IPAs, along with creamy and fluffy stouts, and on the opposite end sours were dominant style choices by many brewers.
The top ten most popular festival beers at GABS Sydney, in no particular order, were:
- Currumbin Valley - Blackcurrant Pastille Sour,
- Mountain Culture - Wanderlust,
- Bentspoke - Skywhale Ale,
- Wayward Brewing - Sourade Blue Blast Beer Gose,
- Cheeky Tiki Cider - Pink Passion,
- Willie the Boatman - Marrickville Lamb Souvlaki,
- Dainton - Amplifier Cranked-up Hazy IPA,
- One Drop - Triple Boysenberry Blackcurrant Salted Caramel Chocolate Custard Bourbon Nitro,
- Pixel Brewing - 1080 Cryo DIPA, and
- Batch Brewing - Eiffel 6.5.
The craziness and experimental beers wasn't limited to the special festival brews.
One Drop's stall included a slushy sour, a nitro sweet stout, an ice cream nitro smoothie sour, a soft serve cocoa beer and a mexicano chocolate tropical stout.
A cool collaboration saw 4 Pine's team up with Ben and Jerry's ice cream to produce a Nitro Cookie Dough Ale. They also served up a Nitro Choc Banana Split, Nitro Red Velvet and Nitro Vanilla Creme Brulee.
Willie The Boatman's Marrickville Lamb Souvlaki, made with lamb broth, alongside rosemary, oregano, thyme, marjoram, lemon juice and salt, though enjoyed by many, it was noted by one attendee, "as a brewing feet it's impressive, but as a beer it's questionable".
The Bondi Brewing Co brought out its Red NEIPA, Bondi Shark Alarm, an interesting bright red and cloudy brew, that saw all proceeds go towards shark conservation.
Though adventurous and experimental beers are often the headliners of GABS, breweries who nail it with simple styles and tasty beers can have some of the biggest lines.
Mountain Culture Beer Co spent the whole weekend with a long line and for good reason. The young brewery, that has just been around for a year, had a great mix of beers, including; a NEIPA, Milkshake IPA, Lager, Pale Ale and Weissbier, along with its festival beer, Wanderlust.
GABS is now headed off to Brisbane and Melbourne to finish its 10th year of festivals and to continue to promote and display the great craft beer and ciders that Australia and New Zealand have to offer.