Storms may be brewing outside, but inside the Immigration Museum you’ll find brewing of a different kind – a way more delicious kind. On Sunday June 19, the Immigration Museum will become a walk-in shrine to brewed beverages including sake, mulled wine and beer – even beer cocktails.

As part of the North South Feast West event series, Brew Fest will examine the role of brewing in different cultures and communities through workshops, talks, food and performances. Here’s a run-down of the highlights.


Sipping with the Sake Master
Sake can be intimidating. How do you know which bottle to choose? Is it served warm or cold? Andre Bishop, one of only two sake samurais in Australia, will demystify this Japanese drink. “It’s a Sake 101, really,” says Bishop. You will learn about the in-depth processes involved in making sake, including how it’s inoculated with a special koji mould that grows over the rice, which Bishop explains is a process at the heart of many Japanese foods such as miso and soy. You’ll try three different varieties of sake: Dassai 50 Junmai Daiginjō, “one of the most highly prized sakes in Japan”, a cloudy sake and a slightly sweet sparkling sake, which Bishop describes as “almost like a champagne”.

Black Pearl: Beer-Based Cocktails
You have likely enjoyed a classic or tropical cocktail at Fitzroy bar Black Pearl. But have you tried one made with beer? Black Pearl bartenders will show you how to make three cocktails, each using a different style of beer. You’ll get to taste the cocktails while hearing fascinating stories about the background and flavour of each drink.

Hawkers Beer: 11,000 Years in the Making
The founder of Lebanon’s first craft brewery will take you on a trip through the history of beer. Mazen Hajjar is also co-founder of Hawkers Beer, an award-winning Melbourne brewery based in Reservoir. He’ll let you in on a few brewing secrets while you taste some of his distinctive brews.

After oil and illegal drugs, coffee is the most traded commodity in the world, and Nick Ray from the Ethical Consumer Group will help ensure you can feel good about the coffee you purchase.

Love a cup of chai? Uppma Virdi of Chai Walli will discuss chai traditions and tips on how to make the perfect cup.

Newcomer on the brewing scene Annabel Meagher of local label Himmel Hund will also share insider knowledge from the beer scene and her experience with “gypsy brewing”.

You’ll want to soak up all that brewed liquid with something. Señor BBQ will offer chorizo sandwiches, chicken wings and beef ribs, while Yo India will be manning the curry front with butter chicken, lamb korma, and slow-cooked lentil and vegetable masala, alongside chilli beef tacos and tandoori-chicken “rotiwiches” (roti sandwiches).

If you’re feeling a little bit like the salsa-lady emoji, don’t miss the performance by Latin and jazz musicians Quarter Street. Manny Fox will be playing its tropical tunes and PBS DJ Mike Gurrieri will be on the decks.

Brewfest is on Sunday June 19 from 10am to 5pm at the Immigration Museum, 400 Flinders Street, Melbourne. Book tickets and choose the workshops you’d like to attend here. Tickets are $10–17 and include one workshop and tastings, plus entry to all exhibitions in the Immigration Museum. Additional workshops can be purchased for $10. Entry to the museum ground floor to access the talks, music and food vendors is free.

This article is presented in partnership with the Immigration Museum.