A not-so-concise summary of events from the Hop On Brewery Tours
It’s hard to believe that over a month has passed since Brewsvegas 2018 came to a close. With so many festivals around the country touting the best events and freshest beers, Brewsvegas has made its name as one of the premier beer events in Queensland, and we are happy to have been a part of it!
The not-for-profit Brewsvegas team works hard to ensure there are plenty of activities to suit everyone, from the new craft inductees to the beer geeks who are busy entering everything they drink into Untappd. No judgement.
But it’s not just about the beer; it’s about building a wider understanding of what’s available throughout the Brisbane community and getting everyday punters involved with food-and-beer matching nights, opportunities to meet the brewers and characters behind the scenes of their favourite beers, and hopefully discovering some previously unknown venues and destinations.
This year we participated both as an event runner and as punters; we went hard (go hard or go home), caught up with friends, tried some new beers and were generally jolly revellers.
Our week looked a little like this:
Friday, 9 Mar: Launch Party at The Joinery – The start of Brewsvegas for the beer-involved is marked by the annual pool party, where the program is launched and the first glasses of the official Brewsvegas beer (brewed this year by Stone & Wood – they’re close enough to the Queensland border that we consider them one of our own) are poured. However, for the wider Brisbane community, the launch party is where everything is available to the public. This year it was held at the Joinery in West End, and upon arrival we were treated to a paddle of 4 local, specially-brewed beers and a burger to soak up the booze. The music was lively, the beers were cold, and the space was definitely different to past years’ venues. The attendees were an even mix of people from within and without the more well-known beer community and it was a nice opportunity to socialise and get an idea of what events people were excited about in the upcoming week.
Sunday, 11 Mar: We took the day off work and kicked off in style at the Breakfast of Champions held at Brewhouse Brisbane. Four food-matched-beers were served with brekky courses, accompanied by explanations from the brewers and lively conversation. We got to share a table with well-known brewer Gavin Croft and his lovely wife, Vanessa, and tasted and critiqued some of the beers on offer. After the delicious breakfast (we will probably go again next year!) we met more friends, Mish and Paul, who kindly chauffeured us to the Oxford Taphouse for their Taste of Tasmania event. After a beer they had to head home, but we found Trag (Beer Tragic) amongst the crowd and carried on with him.
Down the road to Revel Brewing Co for a taste of their Scarlet Delight Red IPA (brewed with Gill from The Mill) before catching the ferry across to Teneriffe and some fresh Red’s Dead at Green Beacon – what a cracking beer! Trag is a great drinking buddy; he’s been involved in the Brisbane beer scene since the very beginning and supports all the independents whilst still appreciating a cold XXXX with a steak. In no way a beer snob, he tells it like it is, and has some very firm opinions about some of the local brews!
Over to Newstead for a Nail Red – on tap as part of the WA PoO (Pint of Origin) – and heated debate before trying the exciting new collab between Newstead and Osbourne hotel at the Osbourne. We caught up with some of Brewsvegas’s usual suspects here, tried the fancy cocktail beer and hung around for a bit. Trag was sensible and called it a night, whereas the rest of us thought it was a sensible idea to carry on…. Perhaps a decision some of us would come to regret!
Sour beers were the offer at The Mill on Constance (poor Ben, dealing with our drunk shenanigans) where we tasted some Wildflower from NSW. Tasty, tart, well-crafted beer, but probably not the appropriate time for it after our palettes had been thoroughly mauled by all the Red IPA goodness throughout the afternoon. After a few big beers, one would have thought to head home, but now – one more stop: Netherworld! A couple utterly pathetic losses at pinball finally made us realise that it was going to be a long train ride home, so we pulled our heads in and off we went.
Tuesday, 13 Mar: We spent Monday feeling sorry for ourselves after a big day on Sunday. But by now we were up for a beer or two, so made our way into Brisbane for some US PoO beers at Brewski. Sitting down with Frosty and Nat from Kaiju! we sampled a few of Brooklyn Brewing’s finest, along with a couple of their “Ghost Beers”, before it was time to warm up our brains at Brewer’s Trivia hosted by Archer Brewing and International Hotel.
The concept was simple: each team was sat with a local brewer (to help them with the beer-related questions, perhaps?) and we’d play some general trivia, hoping to win the grand prize. Matt and I didn’t even know what the prize was, but we love trivia and were ready to kick some ass! Paired with Mick from Semi-Pro and other local beer lovers, our team started strong. The highlight was that, in between rounds, there was a “Who Am I?” section featuring one of the brewers around the room. Additional points were awarded to the team(s) who figured who the correct person was, and in the end we got ‘em all! Not only that, but our awesomeness and enthusiasm saw our team take out the top spot! Our prize? Brewing a beer with Gavin Croft, head brewer at Archer Brewing. We have yet to all decide on a beer or find a day to brew it, but it’ll happen.
Wednesday, 14 Mar: Our time to shine! The event we hosted, Magic of Malt, got guests behind the scenes at the Barrett Burston/Cryermalt malting plant in Pinkenba for an hour-long tour. Watching grain dry might not be everyone’s idea of a good time, but our four troopers were up for it! Super informative and educational, the tour answered all the questions we didn’t even know we had about malting.
Being the thirsty work that touring is, the day continued to Archer Brewing at the International Hotel for some lunch and cold beers (all made with local ingredients) in the Bunker before finishing the day at Newstead Brewing Co. We were so fortunate to have been joined by enthusaistic beer lovers, which made it a top day!
Thursday, 15 Mar: We couldn’t miss the soft launch of Semi-Pro Brewing (especially after Mick helped lead our trivia team to glory!) so we again boarded a Brisbane-bound train. Needing to quench our hard-earned thirst, we made our way straight to the Scratch for their SA PoO features. Time was quickly upon us, and instead of meandering to Aether for a beer like originally planned, we went directly to Semi-Pro for some beers, beer-related chat and obligatory photos. As we were in the neighbourhood, we stopped by Helsby’s Alehouse for a chinwag with Les and some Queensland PoO beers before training it back to the Coast.
Friday, 16 Mar: What, work?! We had a great tour filled with beer-lovers, two of whom joined us at Tippler’s Tap for the Well Tapped event, where homebrewers’ and gypsy brewers’ beers were served to punters in a blind taste test. Drinkers got to through their bottle cap in for the winning brew, and there were a lot of tasty tipples to choose from. It was a unique event, a great opportunity to try some brand new local beers, and a bit of a “who’s who” of the Brisbane and Gold Coast brewing scene, offering us the chance to catch up with a few rarely-seen friends.
Sunday, 18 Mar: After a much-needed day of rest (well, work) we couldn’t miss the closing ceremonies of Brewsvegas 2018! Unable to tolerate another train ride, Joslyn valiantly put her hand up to limit her alcohol consumption and drive home. What a martyr. Sunday schooies at the Woolly Mammoth were a goer, and there we met up with some of our Northern Bretheren (from the Sunny Coast), who, after a few rounds, decided we should all make the move to The Mill for their Garage Project Garage Party. Fancy dress was the arvo’s entertainment, while sipping on some fine Kiwi bevvies and munching some unbelievable bbq. As the evening wore on and words got slurred, it was time to head back to the Mammoth for another refreshing drop and some hardcore handball.
Once we parted ways from the crowd, Matt and I each attended separate, non-beer-related events before heading home in the comfort and safety of our own car.
Brewsvegas, you outdid yourself this year; we can’t wait to see what 2019 holds. Thank you for an unforgettable week of events!
Cheers and beers,
Matt and Jos