Well that was a whole lot of fun! Melbourne Brewery Tours is normally about moving people across Melbourne to get to our fine city’s amazing breweries. This weekend we decided to tear up the rule book and head out of Melbourne to a place where our favourite breweries were gathered together: Ballarat Beer Festival.
We arrived at Ballarat City Oval after a lengthy train trip that was made that much longer by an accidental detour to Sunbury. Public transport fails aside, when we finally arrived at the festival we were greeted by the kind of sunny January afternoon that is just perfect for drinking beer.
With over 40 breweries and cideries gathered in one spot (and one alcoholic ice tea merchant) it can be hard to know where to begin. Do you start with the breweries you already know and love, or do you try and find the ones you’ve never heard of before? The trick is to do both, every time you spend a token at an old favourite, make sure you head to a tent where there is a beer or brewer you’ve never tried before. That way you are both drinking and learning, so everybody wins.
A serious shout-out and congratulations to the festival organisers who went to tremendous effort to put on such a fantastic day. They managed to put together an incredible event which was busy without being crowded, where all essential services were easily accessible, and where good food was matched with great beer. When all these things come together it makes for a day where you can just relax, enjoy yourself, and drink and talk with other beer lovers. Most importantly, thanks to all the producers of great beer and cider, who manage to impress us all year round.
The trip home was certainly an eventful one and proved that the fun doesn’t necessarily end once you leave the festival. Our train was stopped in Ballan for some time while the local firefighters dealt with a grass fire a few metres down the track. This caused a dozen or so festival goers to stand around the platform and try to work out how close the nearest pub was, and what were the chances of it having Kaiju’s Metamorphosis on tap. It’s probably best that the fireys knew what they were doing or would probably still be there – renting a room above the Ballan Hotel. Next year there is one thing you can be certain of; we’re bringing a bus.
Photo courtesy of Ballarat Beer Fest