Stop, sip and savour is the guiding maxim behind BeerFest. There’s an ever-growing interest in craft beer, and this 2018 event offers more breweries and more limited-release beers.
When the event launched in 2013, the line-up featured around 20 WA breweries. This year, Esplanade Park will host more than 50 over the three-day event.
Festival director James Harding says the spike in craft breweries is due to a change in consumer culture. Thanks to the local food movement, beer enthusiasts want to connect more with local producers
“Only a few years ago, people identified with one beer and drank it in excess,” says Harding. “Now consumers value quality over quantity and they’re keen to experiment.”
Paddock to pint front-runner Hamish Coates (Rocky Ridge Brewing) will be among the participants. Coates grows hops on his fifth-generation farm, sources malt from a nearby biodynamic farm and uses WA-cultured yeast to brew a variety of core and seasonal beers. He will be partnering with Metricup’s Beerfarm, another brewer working with local ingredients, to talk on sustainable farming and brewing practices, one of many beer masterclasses that will be held over the weekend. (Other topics include beer and food pairings and a progress report on the contentious beer versus cans debate).
Urban breweries Nowhereman and Otherside Brewing will also be there, along with established names including Colonial Brewing, Gage Roads and Nail. Local craft brewing pioneer Little Creatures will celebrate its 18th birthday by launching a selection of new beers – just look for the two-storey stand.
As well as an impressive brewers-per-square-metre ratio, the event will feature plenty of seasonal releases and experimental brews. The New England IPA – characterised by being cloudy and juicy – is arguably the current leader in hop-forward styles with the Biggie Juice from Feral Brewing a notable example. The sour, a style that’s true to its name, continues to have a stranglehold on the trendy craft scene. To differentiate, brewers are also adding flair and complexity to beers by infusing fruit. Innate produces a Double Fruited Raspberry Sour, while Impi Brewers makes a Rooibos Saison.
The selection, though, isn’t just pitched at hop-heads and daring palates: easy-drinking lagers and ales will also be on hand.
The brewers will be joined by cideries and distilleries bringing summer-themed cocktails to the party. Beer-appropriate food including American-style barbeque, Southeast Asian cuisines and Spanish tapas will be available. Grinspoon’s Phil Jamieson and Discovery as well as WA’s best up-and-coming comedians are among the performers playing over the weekend. Reinforcing the event’s family-friendly nature, jumping castles and balloon wizards will be dotted throughout Esplanade Park.
BeerFest will be held at Fremantle’s Esplanade Park from Friday November 9 to 11. Tickets are available here.