Brisbane’s gathering of the beery tribes, Brewsvegas, is so established it’s hard to believe it’s only four years old.
What was initially a week of beer-focused events coordinated by Brisbane beer bars has grown into an event of national significance.
The modern beer scene is so welcoming and expressive it has drawn Brisbane’s creative types to it. The hallmarks of the events on during the nine-day festival are their originality and flair. This is not a week of blokes, booze and bad behaviour. It’s a celebration of flavour and fun, with events to suit all levels of passion for beer.
Here are our top picks.
ACT Pint of Origin at Hoo Ha Bar
The Crafty Pint’s Pint of Origin, which involves various bars hosting beers from a designated state, has become a fixture of beer weeks around the country. Check out the Brewsvegas program for a full listing, but the ACT takeover is worth checking out specifically. The national capital’s brewing scene is hotter than the air in Federal Parliament, and this is your best chance to check it out without a full-fledged road trip.
All week, admission free
Behind the Green Curtain at Green Beacon Brewing Co.
Something of a quiet achiever on the Brisbane brewing scene, Green Beacon had a huge year in 2016; it was named Champion Medium Brewery at the Craft Beer Awards and broke ground on its new production brewery. This will be Brisbane’s first chance to see the new brewery. The ticket includes transport from the original Helen Street Brewery, a chance to sample eight beers (including some never available before) and dinner from Brisbane's best food trucks while battling your friends at air hockey, foosball or table tennis.
March 17, 6pm, $70
Local Twist at Pumpyard Bar & Brewery
For Local Twist Ipswich brewery 4 Hearts will team up with local producers to add a twist to its beers. Coffee, honey, wine and fruit will all be used to invigorate the usual recipes. The Pumpyard kitchen will serve specials made with the local ingredients and the producers themselves will be there selling their products.
March 19, midday, free admission
To the Tavern! at Netherworld
This event is turning new arcade bar Netherworld into the ultimate fantasy-role-playing-game tavern. You'll be given a series of quests, including treasure hunts, riddles and gaming challenges to earn XP (experience points) to claim rewards. Brisbane board-game designer Table Tyrant is bringing the board game Tavern Fame along; and Sydney's The Grifter Brewing Co. has created a tavern ale especially for the night. Extra XP will be awarded to those who dress up as a n00b character class.
March 16, 6pm, free admission
Gerard’s Bar Food Lab featuring Wolf of the Willows at Gerard’s Bistro
Gerard’s is a fixture on the culinary circuit and a regular host of wine-matching events. This time head chef Ben Williamson is creating a menu for the night that will be infused with beer’s ingredients. Each course will be paired with beer from Melbourne’s Wolf of the Willows.
March 15, 6pm, $80
The Milton Good Beer Trail at various venues
With its winking, boater-hatted icon, Milton has always been famous for beer. This walk will showcase just how soaked in beer the suburb is. Bookended by two of Brisbane’s best beer bars, The Scratch and Brewski, and stopping off at two of Brisbane’s newest breweries, the new Newstead and Aether, the trail meanders 1.4 kilometres through Milton. For $20 walkers will receive a different one-off collaboration schooner at each venue, plus a collectors stubby cooler once the stroll is complete.
All week, $20
Ferment IV – 2000BC at Craft Wine Store
2000 BC? No, we're not talking about the construction of Stonehenge. We're talking about "Before Craft". Good beer has a history; a heritage that stretches way back. Just five or six years ago, one had to be seriously dedicated to find good beer. There wasn't that much around. Together, the folks from Craft and Fino Foods will explore what that period was like.
March 11, $35
Disclosure: Matt Kirkegaard is involved with organising Ferment IV – 2000BC and will co-host the evening.
Brewsvegas runs from March 10 to 19, 2017.