Beer festivals. They can sometime be a little … beardy? By which we mean, if you’re not a middle-aged bloke with a home-brewing setup in the laundry, you might not feel welcome.
Collingwood brewery Molly Rose has never been like that. From the beginning, owner and brewer Nic Sandery has cultivated a wider audience at the intersection of food, wine and beer. Especially so this year, with the opening of a surprisingly high-end Southeast Asian restaurant attached to the original brewery and bar.
Now comes a mini beer and food festival with the same ethos, spread over two sessions to avoid crowding. Sandery has invited just five of his favourite breweries in for the debut edition of Smile, Enjoy! Set up in the sunny beer garden, each brewery is paired with an equally talented baker or restaurant to serve two beers and a food pairing, available exclusively for the day. Including Molly Rose, that’s 12 beers and six dishes to try.
“I’m really lucky that my career has taken me around the country and that I can call some of the best brewers in the country friends,” Sandery says. “When I was curating the breweries for Smile, Enjoy! I was able to text, email and call five mates who all said yes straight away.”
Sandery has paired Brisbane’s Range, one of Australia’s most consistent (and hyped) hazy IPA producers, with Thi Le’s new wave banh mi shop Ca Com. Williamstown North’s Black Arts Brewers and Blenders, a tiny wild fermentation operation open just four hours a week, is serving alongside Footscray cannoli institution T Cavallaro and Sons. Regional Victoria’s Noodledoof is pouring with Insta-famous cake shop Mali Bakes, and Bruny Island Beer Co is appearing with sister business Bruny Island Cheese Co. The food pairing for the final guest brewery, SA’s Loophole, is still to be confirmed. Then, of course, there’s Molly Rose itself, pouring beers with food from its own formidable kitchen. On the day you'll be able to chat with all the brewers.
The day before, in Molly Rose’s schmick but pretty much unknown private dining room, there’ll be a masterclass for 30 hardcore fans. They’ll be treated to Molly Rose’s Chef’s Table experience, paired with beers from the six breweries listed above.
Each ticket includes 12 beers, six dishes and a take-home glass from Plumm. Groups of four people receive a $120 discount, paying $400 in total rather than $520.
Day session: 11 am–3 pm
Twilight session: 3pm–8pm