Good Beer Week is not technically a week – it’s 10 days. Which makes sense given it has more than 270 events to fit in.
“It’s just mammoth, it’s like Christmas for adults,” says Siobhan Kerin, Good Beer Week’s program manager.
For its seventh year, the theme is “choose your own adventure”. It’s “that whole idea that once you finish one event you could spin a wheel and go to another one that’s completely different,” says Kerin.
Here are our top picks.
Clay Time at the Craft
Aging beer in amphoras (antiquated clay pots) is an ancient way of fermenting alcohol that gives an earthy and mineral flavour to the brew. In a first for Australia Craft & Co will serve its own batch of the stuff. To illustrate the differences between beers fermented in an amphora and those fermented in a traditional tank, at this event you can sample a plain wheat beer from each. There’ll also be a multi-course dinner and a discussion about Bronze Age technology.
Mon May 15, 7pm–11pm
The Craft & Co, 390 Smith Street, Collingwood
An Evening with Sierra Nevada Founder Ken Grossman
Ken Grossman, founder of the legendary Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, is hosting an intimate evening at Le Bon Ton. “Ken doesn’t usually do stuff like this, the Australian beer industry is about 20 years behind America, so to have the thoughts of the pioneer of the American scene… We could not be more excited,” says Kerin. While he talks about his life and his work, Grossman will share new one-off beers, and Le Bon Ton will serve a Southern feast.
Wed May 17, 7pm–10pm
Le Bon Ton, 51 Gipps Street, Collingwood
Homebrew 101 Symposium
This five-part seminar and Q&A will focus on DIY brews. Beers and lunch are provided, for inspiration.
Sat May 20, 10am–3pm
Beer Deluxe, Federation Square, Melbourne
BEER AND FRIENDS
In a match made in Melbourne heaven, craft beer and coffee bean will meet. Hosted by Tallboy & Moose, eight local beers are being brewed with coffee infused from eight local roasters. These will be served alongside cold-drip coffee from the roasters. “It’s the coolest way to understand flavours – I think we’re going to have a few buzzed people coming out of this one,” Kerin says.
Sat May 13, 12pm–3pm, 5pm–8pm
Tallboy & Moose, 270 Raglan Street, Preston
Black Pearl x Jacob Grier
Jacob Grier is a bartender and writer who just released Cocktails on Tap: The Art of Mixing Spirits and Beer. A Portland resident, he’s participating in Good Beer Week as part of the Good Beer Mates program, which this year focuses on Oregon’s beer scene. He’s teaming up with the bartenders at Black Pearl for a one-off night of cocktails that incorporate beer. “He’s going to be a guest bartender and it’s a really good opportunity to just sit and talk and learn about what he’s doing,” says Kerin.
Sun May 14, 6pm–late
Black Pearl, 304 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Slowbeer & Boatrocker – Starward Bound
Sour beer specialists Boatrocker Brewing Co. and Starward Whisky have a system: when Starward finishes ageing one of its whiskies, it hands over its barrels to Boatrocker, which ages its beer in them for six months. Bottle shop Slowbeer is teaming up with these two to showcase the distinct drinks that come from these shared barrels.
Tue May 16, 6pm–9pm
Slowbeer Fitzroy, 351 Smith Street, Fitzroy
Mega Dega V Presented by Private Dining Room
Good Beer Week’s popular Mega Dega event is collaborating with secret dinner party planners Private Dining Room this year. The Private Dining Room format, which involves mystery chefs and covert locations, is being mixed with Mega Dega’s degustation paired with beer. “It’s definitely going to be a highlight for me this year, they [Private Dining Room] have come up with six chefs and we’ve got six brewers and a secret location, I can’t wait to announce it,” says Kerin.
Fri May 19, 6.30pm–midnight
BEER AND FOOD
Meatsmith x Moon Dog Brewery
Meatsmith’s butcher and co-owner Troy Wheeler is holding a masterclass on making Wagyu pastrami at Moondog’s Abbotsford brewery. You’ll take home your own pastrami kit and a sixpack of Moon Dog.
May 13 6.30pm–10pm
Moon Dog Brewery, 17 Duke St, Abbotsford
Slice of Beer Heaven
Lazerpig Pizza Parlour has created four new special pizzas for Beer Week that will only be available during the festival. A different beer from Fremantle brewery Gage Road Brewing Co inspires each pizza.
Mon May 13 to Sun May 21,12 pm–10pm
Lazerpig Pizza Parlour, 9–11 Peel Street, Collingwood
Good Burger Week™
Rockwell and Sons is introducing eight never-before-seen burgers for the festival. These will be matched with some never-before-seen beers from Wellington-based experimental brewer Garage Project. This one’s a no-brainer.
Sat May 13 to Sun May 21, 12pm–11pm
Rockwell and Sons, 288 Smith Street, Collingwood
Beer for Breakfast?!
For something a little bit different, and some hair of the dog, Magic Mountain Saloon is serving beers with breakfast every day of Good Beer Week. Sours and sessions will be served alongside Thai breakfast dishes or a five-part degustation.
Sat May 13 to Sun May 21, 8am–12pm
Magic Mountain Saloon, 62 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
Perfect Match: Cheese and Beer
The team at Milk the Cow in Carlton has created a pairing of four cheeses with a paddle of four distinct beers. They’ll be available most evenings throughout the festival.
Mon May 15 to Sat May 20, 7pm–9pm
Milk the Cow Carlton, 323 Lygon Street, Carlton
BREWER MEET N’ GREETS
Bowling with Brewers
Get to know a brewer over a beer and a bowl. New Zealand brewers Funk Estate, Deep Creek and Kereru will be there, as will local and interstate names including Riverside, Exit, BrewCult, West City and Blue Elephant Cider.
Sun May 14, 12.30pm–6pm
Flemington and Kensington Bowling Club, corner Smithfield and Racecourse Roads, Flemington
Brewers and Chewers
Brewers and Chewers is one of Good Beer Week’s most consistently popular events. The dinner party (at The Local Taphouse) sells out every year. “It’s a dinner experience where you get to sit with a brewer and get one-on-one time you don’t necessarily get at other events,” says Kerin. Guests this year include Yeastie Boys (NZ), Wild Beer (UK), Naparbier (Spain), Fullers (UK), Deschutes (USA), Firestone Walker (USA), Blackman’s (VIC) and Akasha (NSW).
Wed May 17, 7pm–10pm
The Local Taphouse, 184 Carlisle Street, St Kilda East
Once in a Blue Moon
Blue Moon's head brewer Keith Villa is flying himself and some of his best beers out from Colorado for Good Beer Week. He’ll be at Longhorn Saloon alongside the venue’s chefs, who will make a multi-course meal to match.
Thu May 18, 6.30pm–11pm
Longhorn Saloon, 118 Elgin Street, Carlton
Young Henry’s Rock and Roll Bash
Young Henrys from Newtown, Sydney is hosting a bash at the Bendigo Hotel. The barbeque will be fired up (and free), and there’ll be more than enough beer to enjoy while you watch the live music.
Fri May 19, 8pm–12am
The Bendigo Hotel, 125 Johnston Street, Collingwood
BEER AND ART, BEER AND SCAVENGING
Can Art Auction
The design of the artwork on beer cans has become increasingly complex and beautiful. Beer brands Mikkeller, Grifter Brewing Company, Omnipollo and Bodriggy Brewing Company are all auctioning beer artwork this year. Dr Morse has asked those four for screen prints or images that relate back to that brand “and they’re framing them and auctioning them off for charity,” Kerin explains. This year’s charity is Lifeline.
Sat May 13 to Sun May 21, 9am–12am
Dr Morse, 274 Johnston Street, Abbotsford
Good Beer Week Scavenger Hunt
The scavenger hunt is a Good Beer Week annual favourite. Teams will gather at the Fox Hotel and, if they solve the riddles and clues, will go to four different venues throughout the night.
Thu May 18, 5.30pm–midnight
The Fox Hotel, 351 Wellington Street, Collingwood
Good Beer Week runs from May 12–21 at various locations around Melbourne.