Saturday, 14 May 2016



It's nearly that time of year again; how quickly a year can go by... Good Beer Week has already kicked off and I have got a packed schedule all the way through until GABS the following weekend. I've been hanging out for the release of this years program so I could get planning, and finally it's here!

Just like last year the idea is to pick 6 beers from each of the 6 sections. This should hopefully account for any late scratchings and still be able to construct a paddle of 5 beers from each section. I'll try and explain my reasons behind selecting each beer, whether it be a style I love, an unmissable brewery or something that sounds so insane I have to try it!

Section 1 is the best it's been for a couple of years. For me there are 4 must try beers; Iago's Revenge - a Black IPA from Akasha, Bacchus Brewing Co's Peanut Brittle Gose - who can go past Ross' offering any year, Batch Brewing Co's Marrickville Pork Roll - I work for a Vietnamese person in the heart of Melbourne's largest Vietnamese community need I say more, Beery Ripe Porter from Big Shed - it's a must for me because of my love for Cherry Ripe's and Big Shed. In only the first section I'm going to break my rule and offer 4 possible beers for your perusal. The first being 4 Hearts Brewing S'more Than a Feeling, I love s'mores and can definitely see this flavour working in a beer. 7 Cent's Belly Button Beer, fermented with yeast captured from the brewers own belly buttons, the beer has gained international fame and would be hard to turn down. I always like trying the Australia Homebrewer of the Year's beer and this time Hop McStuffins is a huge Double IPA - in a field lacking heaps of hops this could be worth a go. Finally, Canberra's Bentspoke Brewery's Tour De Brune sounds like it's packed full of Belgian Chocolate and could be a real winner with the GABS crowd, which has a penchant for sweeter beers.

Section 1 - Must Have: 8, 12, 17, 20 
Maybe's: 2, 5, 11, 19

The second section has fewer standouts for me. Hendo from Brewcult always produces wonderful GABS offerings and I can't see Gingerbread Maniac being anything less than that. I don't believe BrewDog have produce a GABS beer before; so their B-Side: Sour Red Ale is a must for me. Whilst the 3rd standout for me is the Doctor's Orders Mutagenic Cephalopod - a Gose infused with seaweed, smoked mushroom salt, chipotle oil and squid ink! It's from the Doc, it'll be a cracker - guaranteed! I had 5 maybe's in my initial reading through; Blackman's Snake Bite IPA - think Cider crossed with a big IPA, Brisbane Brewing Co have produced Pavlova-Lova - which I hope is self explanatory, I have a thing for Schwarzbier's and so Castlemaine Black gets a tick for me, Chur (Behemoth) from NZ's Golden Pineapple Head IPA stands out for it's hops, whilst Clifton Hill's India Weizen appeals to me for style reasons as well.

Section 2 - Must Have: 25, 26, 40
Maybe's: 23, 29, 31, 34, 35

Again Section 3 tosses up 3 standout beers to me. The first is from Tasmania's Double Head Brewing, who if I'm honest I've never heard of, their Leather Kottbusser is one I have to try, as I've only heard of Kottbusser as a style a couple of times previously. From what I understand, a Kottbusser is like a sweeter, nuttier Altbier. Ekim's No Compassion IPA is a must for me, as I love their hop forward beers. Midnight In Bombay is a Dunkelweizen from Hawthorn Brewing brewed with plenty of cardamon and other spices, it's a style I love and I think the Hawthorn boys can pull it off. In my maybe category are; Feral's Phunkn Cat - a Brett beer from Feral, Forhorn's No Sleep 'til Nelson RIS - because I haven't had a beer from them yet, Garage Project's Marvellous Madam Mahvash - because it's from Garage Project, I've marked down HopDogs beer; Electrostatic Graff, for the same reason as well as Kaiju's Belgian IPA called Compendium. It's possibly the most difficult Section to pick from....

Section 3 - Must Have: 41, 45, 52
Maybe's: 46, 47, 49, 55, 59

In saying that, Section 4 always delivers; there are just so many fantastic brewers that fit into this alphabet range. I'm keen to try the Kooinda Inkblot Stout 2: Turbo Edition, the La Sirene Biere Henri a Biere de Garde, Liberty's Alpha Obsididan is going to be a crazily impressive Black IPA, Little Creatures Loomi Gose is a must, while I think the Mildura Substitution IPA will be quite an interesting beer, based on what an IPA would look like if global warming ruins traditional beer crops. It's always hard to turn down Modus Operandi, and a Stout from them will be interesting. Moon Dog have take the piss again and produced Duke St Draught, I assume in honour of their close neighbour CUB. Mornington, Morrison, Mountain Goat, Nail and Newstead's offerings are also going to be good by my estimations. Section 4 is going to be hard to find misses in...

Section 4 - Must Have: 65 
Maybe's: 62, 63, 64, 67, 72, 73, 74, 75, 78, 80

Section 5 goes back to normal with 3 standout beers and 4 maybes. Nomad's Without a paddle, funnily enough is a Kriek, and one I'm certainly looking forward to. Pact is the brewery launched by last year Hombrewer of the Year and their Pact with the Devil is a Belgian Ale which promises a blend of fruitiness and hops. The last of the certainies is from Pirate Life, these massive hopheads have produced a 14% Imperial IPA - it's going to be incredible! As more the iffier selections; Prancing Pony has brewed an Imperial Pilsner called Imperial German Sledgehammer, I'm not sure how their fire brewing technique will work with a pils... Riders Brewing have brewed what seems like a run of the mill Brown Ale called Charlie Brown. Shenanigans have done an Oatmeal Stout, which should be nice and creamy, while Sixpoint have brewed a Saison with lactobacillus and Galaxy hops which promises to be a real treat.

Section 5 - Must Have: 81, 83, 87
Maybe's: 88, 94, 97, 99

Just two beers got a definite tick from me in the sixth and final section, while I've got a large number that I'm considering trying. Interestingly both definite ticks are dessert beers; Willie the Boatman from Sydney have produced The Great Aussie Pav, while Wolf of the Willows from Melbourne have come up with Tiramibru. I've actually got 7 beers in consideration, and it will all come dow to what I feel like on the day. Stockade's Fallen Angel appeals to me because it's a Pale Stout, which are always interesting to drink - your brain can't quite comprehend that what it's tasting looks wrong. Stomping Grounds Piquant Beere Weisse should be a good palate cleanser, while it would be hard to go past Stone's Ramble Scramble, a Brown Ale packed with fruit. Stone & Wood's Jean-Claude Flan Slam appeals because of the name, and that it's a Belgian Strong Pale Ale - a wonderful style if done well. Two Birds Jam Donut should speak for itself, while Wayward have done a Brett IPA called Funky Pineapple Hand Grenade. Last but not least the Young Henry's team have done a deconstructed campari, blended with an IPA called Downstairs Mixup.

Section 6 - Must Have: 116, 117 
Maybe's: 101, 102, 103, 104, 109, 113, 120

This years selection has two very clear themes running throughout; sour beers and dessert beers. The recent GABS successes of numerous dessert inspired beers has seen, by my count, 18 brewers try their hands at some - that's 15%! I hope you guys found, at least part of, this preview helpful in creating your own paddles. It promises to be the biggest and best GABS yet, and I personally can't wait to get there and get into some of these new festival beers!

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!

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