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Friday 6 April 2018

Calling all beer lovers: 500 drops to taste

Over 500 artisan beers and ciders from Australia and New Zealand will be available to taste at the 2018 edition of the rapidly growing GABS Beer, Cider & Food Fest. 

Tasmanian jam, toasted marshmallows, rhubarb, ice cream, dates, yuzu and gin are among the more unusual ingredients you'll find among the many unique ‘Festival Beers & Ciders’ to be served for the first time. 

GABS (otherwise known as the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular) will be held in Melbourne (May 18-20), Sydney (June 2 ) and Auckland (June 30) with organisers expecting over 35,000 people to attend, many of whom will be new to craft beer.

Craig Williams, GABS event director, describes the festival as the perfect launching point for those keen to try something new in a fun and exciting way.

“For us, GABS is about sharing our love of craft beer and cider with as many people as possible through an unforgettable experience," he says. "Great beer is about skill, passion, creativity and most of all, fun. GABS brings all that to life, whether you're just starting out on your beer journey, or the most fervent fan." 

At the heart of GABS are the Festival Beers and Ciders. When the event began at The Local Taphouse in Melbourne in 2011, it was built around the idea of inviting the best breweries around the country to brew a new beer, all of which were released on the same day at the same event.

That year, 22 breweries took part. This year, over 160 unique beers and ciders have been brewed especially for the event by breweries and cideries. 

For the brewers, it's a chance to showcase the quality, creativity and diversity of styles inherent to craft beer and cider,” says Williams. “And for beer lovers… well, it's kind of like Christmas really!”

While the more exotic ingredients often get the attention, attendees will also find examples of many different beer styles, as brewers look to expand people’s tastes beyond popular hop-driven pale ales. 

Some leading street food vendors will be dishing out tasty treats, including Bluebonnet Barbecue, Biggie Smalls and 8Bit burgers in Melbourne; and Happy As Larry Pizza, Chur Burger and Dirty Bird in Sydney. 

Three new washed-rind cheeses (washed in beer, whisky and wine) will be available from the Milawa Cheese and Prosecco Bar.

Reflecting the increasing crossover between craft beer and spirits, two of Victoria’s best distillers - Starward and Four Pillars - will be serving up barrel-aged whisky, gin and cocktails in Melbourne; while in Sydney and Auckland, Irish distiller Jameson will be highlighting its Caskmates program, featuring whisky aged in beer-seasoned barrels.

There will also be acrobats, circus performers and the popular GABS house band; The Ale Capones. 

For tickets and further information, head to

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