Beer & BBQ Festival will smoke out the Adelaide Showground again when it fires up a cracker line-up of smoky charred meats, one-off brews and live music in July.
After two years fronting the BBF bill, Canadian chef and TV personality Matty Matheson won’t be returning (instead, he’s coming in June to cook over two nights at Shobosho). In his place is an expanded program featuring more barbeque styles from Asia and around the world.
“We have always tried to push the boundaries, but we think this year, with so many chefs, dishes and stalls that have never been seen before (and may not again) we have really cranked it up a notch,” BBF director Gareth Lewis said in a press release. “Even if you have been to BBF before, expect to see a whole new world of barbeque this year.”
The 2019 line-up includes Melbourne pitmasters Burn City Smokers and beloved burger joint 8bit alongside locals Sneaky Pickle, Bread & Bone, Comida (making beer-can chicken), Toly Vietnamese, The Filipino Project, Boston Bay Smallgoods, and newcomers Buk Buk Southern Hot Chicken and Syrian Mobile Disco (part-Middle-Eastern-barbeque-restaurant, part-nightclub, we’re told). There are more announcements to come, including a food truck alley.
Newcastle-based chef Mal Meiers, with local legend (and Tasting Australia director) Simon Bryant, will bring his Food for Thought concept to the festival. It’s a platform to encourage conversation and to destigmatise mental health issues in the hospo industry. Meiers and other chefs will discuss these issues on stage at BBF. His associated food stall will feature a rotating menu with recipes from Meiers, Bryant and guests; profits go to Food for Thought’s not-for-profit arm.
“I am so proud to deliver this kind of concept into our program,” says Lewis. “Yes, BBF is a massive party but we all know what happens when the party ends. We think what Mal does is absolutely crucial and we can’t wait to host him and create some conversation.”
In 2018 BBF flew Franz Horak from Scotland’s Brew Dog to Australia to brew some madcap beers with a bunch of local producers. In 2019 the collaborations continue with Collective Arts Brewing from Ontario, Canada, who will brew six variations of IPAs with Ballistic Brewing (QLD), Young Henry’s (NSW), Bentspoke Brewing (ACT), Moon Dog (Vic), Little Bang Brewing (SA) and Moo Brew (Tas). The results will be available at Adelaide Beer & BBQ Festival exclusively. BBF has also partnered with Pirate Life to create a limited-edition Hoppy Amber Ale, which is available nationally in bottle shops and locally on tap in the lead up to the festival.
Beyond the collabs you can expect a mammoth line-up of brewers and cider makers – the biggest of any event in the country – alongside a range of wine, gin, bourbon and alcoholic kombucha.
Lewis and fellow organisers, music director Aaron Sandow and brewer director Marc Huber, have serious pedigree – together they have a hand in the Kings Head Hotel, Sturt Street Cellars, newly minted Adelaide Unibar, Mismatch Brewing and Hills Cider. They’re also responsible for new music festival A Day on the Cans and a series of one-off gigs under the Beer & BBQ brand.
Naturally, live music is a pillar of the festival. This year’s line-up is headed by DJ Yella from NWA, who fronts a bill featuring Frenzal Rhomb, You Am I in character and costume as The Majesty of Tap, Cash Savage & the Last Drinks, VOIID, Moaning Lisa and a DJ set from Sampology. The team has also introduced a Battle of the Bands competition for local artists. The winner gets $1000, a stack of free beer and a slot at a later BBF-presented gig.
“BBF has always been the best bloody beer festival in the country because it’s about so much more than beer. This line-up is progressive, diverse and above all, a hell of a lot of fun,” says Sandow. “Just like the fresh, small producers who exhibit in the beer and food side of the event, the Battle of the Bands component is our way of supporting and giving representation to young bands and music producers in the Adelaide metro and regional scenes.”
Expect the return of the hotdog-eating and “beer-bod” wet T-shirt contests, plus live tattooing, a barbershop, market stalls and a Sunday session that’s child and pup friendly.
Beer & BBQ Festival runs from July 12 to 14 at the Adelaide Showground. Tickets are available online from tomorrow.