Monday, May 28, 2012

Band - Last Leaves

Gig: Last Leaves
Support: Charles Baby
Venue: Earthly Pleasures Cafe Belgrave, tix $7
Date: Thursday 3rd May, 2012

Once upon a time there was The Lucksmiths. For more than 15 years they soothed the souls of Melbourne and beyond with characterful soft indie tunes. And then they were gone. But they were not lost.

Some may call it rebirth, others may see a continuation(-minus-Tali). Regardless, today we have Last Leaves...a new Melbourne band featuring ex-Lucksmiths Mark Monnone (bass), Marty Donald (guitar, vocals) and Louis Richter (guitar) with the barista/artist-sometimes-known-as Great Earthquake, Noah Symons (drums).

Yes, Last Leaves look and sound very much like The Lucksmiths...what else would you expect. Nevertheless, in the absence of frontman Tali While, Least Leaves is a very different beautiful beast, bringing back some of the Lucksmith lyrical soul and sound with new musical life.

Unfortunately we discovered The Lucksmiths too late in their existence. During their final year before disbanding we quickly feel in love with the band's lyrics driven, cosy and mellow yet cheery songs. Fortunately, we were able to catch several of their gigs in that time, including the farewell tour shows in both Brisbane and Melbourne. It was a sad passing as we left their final show at The Corner Hotel. When we heard that new music will flow again from Lucksmiths-esque hearts and minds, it was a welcome tune.

One of the first gigs by Last Leaves was held at Earthly Pleasures Cafe in Belgrave earlier this month. By day this historic and heritage listed stone manor is a relaxed cafe serving excellent food for breakfast and lunch. At night on weekends Earthly Pleasures provides a dinner service. On occasional nights it becomes a live music cafe and bar. For me, the best feature of Earthly Pleasures is that they serve good local craft beer. Their bottled beer list includes good brews from Cavalier Brewing, Hix, Holgate Brewhouse, Mornington Peninsula Brewery, Red Hill Brewery and more...perfect accompaniments for the food, surrounds and music. (Oh...and it does also help that Earthly Pleasures is less than one kilometre away from where we now live.)

This gig coincided with our monthly "date night". It was a typical cold evening in the hills but we were soon warmed by the Earthly Pleasures fire-place and the enjoyment of the Mornington Peninsula Brewery Brown Ale, as stalwart acoustic-folk-rocker of the region Charles Baby provided the support set.

Charles is a capable performer and solo voice, but he lacks something of an X Factor to really take him beyond being more than a good support. Charles Baby is a quality artist...just not captivating. Although, he did create a special little moment when his set provided a mash-up of Radiohead and Yazoo. I love such moments from a solo acoustic pub gig.

The small crowd swelled to an almost full house as Last Leaves took the "stage" (or designated corner). It was the kind of local crowd were everyone probably knows everyone, except for the couple of newbie locals...maybe.

The start was uptempo full sound by Last Leaves. The musical legacy of The Lucksmiths was clearly apparent, but the Last Leaves sound was making an early statement in the rock direction, as opposed to the often-labelled "twee pop" of their former incarnation. Yep, Last Leaves are a pumped up Lucksmiths...and that is awesome. More importantly, and maybe in contradiction to my words, Last Leaves is a new sound. Their style resumes or simply evolves many of the Lucksmiths quirks in rhythm, pace, breakdowns, vocals and lyrical depth as they regal stories of everyday life around particular, around the local Dandenong hills. As a whole picture, however, Last Leaves breathes their own unique character and soul. And that is how it should be. A new band with a new life to offer, yet providing a connection to something we all loved before.

One guy in the audience even declared the Last Leaves sound as "fat and sassy", which was welcomed with laughter by many. Drums provide the obviously new dynamic to the still-very-Lucksmiths guitar and bass sound, alongside the expanded squeals and little airy "U2" moments from Louis Richter's electric guitar.

There was a moment of bliss behind the realisation that we were enjoying slow beer, drinking the brilliant Holgate Hopinator, at a gig close to home, which featured 3/4 of The Lucksmiths. Good times of years past had joined us at our new home in the hills...with the added bonus of fine craft beer.

Hell, after a couple of Hopinators I had written in my notebook: "The Lucksmiths vs The Drones kinda equals Last Leaves!". Sounds like my type of paradise.

With the songs too new to know, I can only recall that the set included "The nights you drove me home" and "Where I lived and what I live for". Marty Donald has been quoted as saying "It's early days, of course, and things are still taking shape, but already the new-found sense of space in the songs' narratives is reflected in their more expansive and dynamic sound"...and that sums it up nicely. It was a great gig, in a venue that was a superb fit for the music.

(Hint for gigs at Earthly Pleasures: for the best sound, head up the balcony!)


If you liked The Lucksmiths, you will love Last Leaves. If you are looking for something new on the local indie rock front...check out Last Leaves!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Good Beer Week - Hair of the Dog Brewers Breakfast

Returning for the third year in a row, the Hair of the Dog Brewers Breakfast at Good Beer Week is now the unofficial after-after party of the Australian International Beer Awards. Originally conceived and run by the BeermenTV crew, the morning-after-AIBA event is designed to showcase craft beer’s potential to compliment modern breakfast dining, whilst possibly curing any post awards night hangovers.

Thursday night saw the 20th Australian International Beer Awards announced at a gala dinner, with many of victorious brewers celebrating the night away at Beer DeLuxe following the Award's formalities. Several had barely left the venue when 10:00am ticked over on Friday morning and the Beer DeLuxe doors were reopened with the city beer bar transformed into a breakfast hall.

On entering everyone received a bottle of the Southern Bay Sunrise Breakfast Beer, a full and fruity golden ale, and then found a seat amongst familiar faces of brewers, beer industry folk, beer lovers and the occasional foodie and curious city dweller.

Good Beer Week co-founder and Beer DeLuxe main man, Miro Bellini, hosted the proceedings in place of the absent Beermen this year. Miro introduced the morning's structure and prepared the crowd for a big morning of diverse and plentiful beers. The gathering were in good spirits, but with most already coming off several days in a row of good beer indulgence, excessive consumption was never going to be a problem here.

Kicking off the food element of the breakfast were honeycomb & hopped butter pancakes. They were paired with the popular Bridge Road Brewers Beechworth Pale Ale and the Moo Brew Belgo, a hybrid Belgian ale of only 4.5% abv, which is the newest beer in Moo Brew’s bottled range.

Wheat beers were next in line, matched with ricotta and capsicum stuffed mushroom. The AIBA Champion Large Australian Brewery, Feral Brewing, lead the way with their Feral White. Next Shawn Sherlock, head brewer at Murray’s Brewing spoke about his American style Wheat, the Whale Ale.

The stars of Good Beer Week are the brewers of the good beer we drink. Whilst this Hair of the Dog breakfast may have lost the flair and boyish humour of the BeermenTV hosts from previous years, the spontaneous comedy of the exhausted but forever generous and entertaining brewers kept the hungover crowd regularly amused.

Stone & Wood brewers Brad and Scott introduced their newest beer, Jasper. This German Altbier influenced amber ale was a natural match for bratwurst sausages with tomato relish.

As has been tradition at the previous Hair of the Dog events, a round of True of False trivia presented the opportunity to win a very valuable goodies pack of beer. However, this year the game was over almost as soon as it had started. The first question knocked out all but a handful of punters!

Miro asked, "True or False: On Google searches of 'beer' and 'wine', there were more results for “beer” than for 'wine'?"

Surely a crowd of brewers and beer lovers in the middle of Good Beer Week would only have beer on their mind? And they did! Those correct few who chose wine remained standing for the next question, which then ended the game with only one person correct again. Of the 15 trivia questions Miro had prepared, only two were required. It was the most unexpectedly rapid round of trivia we had ever witnessed and a moment of baffled hilarity for all.

As the morsels of food continued, the Okononmiyaki (Japanese prawn pancake) proved a popular item alongside Holgate’s Hopinator. Paul Holgate told the crowd of the influence Dogfish Head’s 90 minute IPA from the US had on him to develop a big malt driven double IPA. Hopinator remains once of Australia’s most unique double IPA.

The new Thunder Road Brewing XXX IPA provided a curious turn on expected flavours. The 7% IPA was found to lean more towards a rich malty dark ale or even scotch ale with its dark fruit flavours, low hop profile and sweet finish.

Two big style smashing IPAs provided an interesting contrast when tasted side by side and when washed over the sweetness of the candied keizerfleish. The Doctors Orders Plasma White IPA (7.6%) and Mountain Goat/Mikkeller collaboration, Gypsy and the Goat Pepperberry Black IPA (7.0%), proved themselves as worth breakfast beers with their hop bitterness cutting through the sugary candied keizerfleish.

True South’s Saison du Framboise was an obvious match for a dish of fruit, but it was the 5.5% Moa Brewing Breakfast Beer, a soft and refreshing fruity lager, that provided the better compliment for the strawberries and chocolate mint salsa.

Dessert provided a special treat for all with the just bottled Cavalier Imperial Stout paired with fig jam and blue cheese toast. It was a massive way to end breakfast, both in flavour and alcohol content, but the rich dark and warming beer stood as a fine substitute for morning coffee and chocolate.

Once again the Hair of the Dog Brewers Breakfast was a fun morning that allowed casual mingling and close discussion with the brewers of Australia's good beer. Unfortunately, the event once again proved a little too big for itself. Seven courses across fifteen beers over 90 minutes was unbalanced. If the courses had been bigger, rather than just a mouthful each, and with fewer beers, the breakfast beer concept would be afforded a much better showcase. In previous years there seemed to be more appreciation and education for how the selected beers complimented various breakfast foods. Whilst Miro did warn the crowd at the start, this year’s event just tried fit in too many beers, which many found a heavy challenge rather than a relaxed breakfast.

The winning factors behind this event are the excellent value for money in the ticket price ($35) and the way it is always well attended and received by the brewers visiting Melbourne for AIBA, along with the proficient coordination and service by the Beer DeLuxe staff. We'll all be looking forward to another Hair of the Dog in 2013.

Friday, May 11, 2012

BEER - Live from GABS via Australian Brews News

To kick Good Beer Week firmly into gear, tomorrow (Saturday 12th May) I will be at the Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular reporting live for Australian Brews News.

There will be photos and insights to the day's proceedings, published online as they happen.

Also, watch out for plenty of Brew News Twitter and Facebook updates.

(For the tweeters...make sure you use the hashtag #gabs2012 to follow all the action.)

If you see me, come say hi and tell me what you think about the event!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Good Beer Week Survival Guide (Version 1.0)


The imminent Good Beer Week festival is very exciting for craft beer lovers/geeks, as it should be for anyone who enjoys beer. The diverse range of world renowned beers available at our finger tips over the next week will be unlike anything Australia has ever experienced before.

There can be a temptation to jump in face first and overload yourself with the sensory explosion of beerness. For newbies to the good/craft beer scene there’s also the trap of discovering so much beer at once without the foresight to manage the sensory overload. Hence, whichever level you’re at, and whether you’re heading to one event or twenty, it’s important to plan your involvement in such a festival to avoid the opposite of a good week.

The obvious concern here is that alcohol will affect you. This does not have to be a bad thing. Enjoying beer should not automatically induce negative connotations. Nonetheless, it is important to ensure your own health and safety by not allowing connecting factors to turn your alcohol influenced state into something bad. Alcohol combined with things such as driving a vehicle, lack of food/water/sleep, frustration, becoming stranded, excess or mixing beer with other alcohol/drugs is what turns good times bad.

I offer this survival guide to help you plan and prepare to avoid the nasty combinations that so often give beer a bad name (...I can't offer any solution for Carlton Draught though).

There are countless beer festival survival guides readily available online, which have helped me compile this post. As has beer (thanks beer!). However, first and foremost I have drawn on my own experience of last year’s inaugural Good Beer Week and my hometown knowledge of Melbourne. Take it or leave it, these words are just my hints and thoughts on how to approach Good Beer Week in what I consider to be a sensible manner.

(Maybe next year this GBW survival guide will be an actual published zine, with space to focus more on the positives, like I had intended to do 9 months ago. For now, it's a very late single blog post...)


The sure-fire way to get the best out of Good Beer Week is to know what it's all about. The primary mission of this festival is:
  • to promote and encourage the appreciation of Good Beer to a wider audience
  • to educate the public about Good Beer
  • to increase the market for Good Beer
  • to support local and regional producers of Good Beer and promote their products and venues to a wider audience.

If you attend Good Beer Week in the spirit and support of this mission, you are sure to discover the joy of sharing good beer with the very good people of craft beer. The most memorable moments of a beer festival often arise from the interactions with the people who make the incredible and delicious brews.

Read more about the background of Good Beer Week at:


Carry and drink water, everywhere and always.

Drink lots of water! Not only will drinking water regularly help cleanse your palate between trying different beers full of crazy flavours, it will replace the fluids that your body rapidly loses through the consumption of beer.

Naturally, you should always drink water regularly throughout the day. However, never consider beer a water substitute.

Alcohol can and will dehydrate you. Water is the best free and easy way to mitigate any headache or body shock from dehydration. To enhance dehydration recovery (and a good hangover prevention method) drink a sports water that is high in electrolytes. I use MIZONE. Avoid sports drinks that are high in added sugar.

Make good use of the water supplied by venues. Sip water between sipping beer.

500-600mL bottles of water are readily available at the supermarkets for about 80c these days, so buy one or several, keep it in your bag and never find yourself wanting for water.*

Most importantly, when you stop drinking for the day, don’t stop drinking water!

Just as important, do not rely on only drinking a large amount of water at the end of the drinking session. This is not as effective if you haven't consumed any water throughout the day.

*Important note: Some venues will have entry conditions that restrict you from entering with bottles, such as GABS. So, it's a goo idea to first check if carrying in a water bottle will be a problem.


Plan your travel, especially how to get home (or to wherever you are staying)!

1. Driving

Drinkers, don't do it.

Completely avoid using a car unless you have a truly dedicated designated driver. Good Beer Week events have a habit of tempting even those with only a passing interest in beer into experiencing the full extent of tastings on offer. This risk is amplified by the fact that a large portion of craft beers tend to be very potent, with a higher percentage of alcohol than mainstream beer.

At every event I attended last year I actually ended up consuming more beer than I thought would be involved in each event, essentially because there was so much generosity following from the good vibes.

If someone has nominated themselves as a driver for the event, they should make any drinking plans known and accountable to those they are responsible for. If you must drive, always aim to drink LESS that what you know is acceptable to keep you under the legal 0.05 limit. Give yourself a clear cut-off time to stop drinking, allowing at least 60 minutes before driving (depending on how much you have consumed). If you do not know how much beer puts you over the limit, don't risk finding out on the drive home.

Quiz time!
Q: What's the best way to stay until 0.05?
A: Don't drink at all.

In short, do not rely on your ability to abstain from breaching the 0.05 limit if you wish to participate fully in good beer week events.

If you are attending a Good Beer Week event for the beer, then lock in a plan for either having someone pick you up, using public transport or catching a taxi.

2. Public Transport

Know the timetable...and have a back-up!

Sorry, but Melbourne's public transport sucks...mostly. If your preference is for efficient, reliable and speedy transport…be prepared to be disappointed or disrupted in Melbourne. Although we have reasonably extensive system of trains, trams and buses, the services are a regular sore point for local commuters. The trains are the most problematic and the midweek running times of all services are limited at night.

Pre-plan any public transport trips via the Public Transport Victoria (formally MetLink) website at:

(PTV has a very handy new iPhone app available for the apple lovers.)

Familiarise yourself with our new public transport ticketing system - myki - which has limited where and how you buy a ticket for trains/trams/buses.

One very good thing about Melbourne public transport is the NightRider bus service. Available on Saturday and Sunday mornings from midnight, the buses depart from the city every half hour.

Always have a firm plan for how you will get home. On top of that, always have a back-up plan, which I suggest is a credit card and a taxi.

Whilst taxi's seem to have something for a bad reputation around here (and hence are currently subject to a State Inquiry), I have never had a problem with using Melbourne’s taxis. Just don't be a fool and travel with friends where possible.

I recommend smartphone users utilise the following Melbourne Taxi apps:
The 13Cabs app allows you to book a taxi, estimate the fare and even track your journey and record the taxi and driver details to avoid any rip-offs.

It's not fun being drunk, tired and stranded. So avoid this by knowing exactly how you will get home.


Know where and when to find easy food.

Like public transport, pre-plan your food, especially if food is not part of the Good Beer Week event. It is important to balance beer consumption with food, which gives you energy and stimulates your brain.

One tricky part about Melbourne is that many of the good post-drinking eating places we crave are hidden. You need to know where to find nutritious food. Otherwise, you'll end up eating far too much McDonalds, KFC and Subway. Not a good thing! Variety is the key here.

Make sure your week includes plenty of lean protein, vegetables and fruit...and expect an over consumption of carbs via bread based food. Don’t miss meals. If you don't stick to your normal eating pattern as much as possible, your body will try to adjust, which usually leads to feeling unwell. Drinking on an empty stomach is never a good idea.

At home, have a good supply of fresh bread and vegemite. Can't beat vegemite and toast as a hangover cure! Well, that's what works for me. If you have a personal hangover cure that works well for you, stock up on supplies of it.


You'll learn and remember more with a scribbles to revisit!

Take notes to remember your good beer experiences. Notes then allow you to share and rediscover beer conversations in your own time. It's a key part of learning about good beer and understanding how your palate develops.

I recommend that any beer geek should have a Beer Journal of some variety. A ready made option is the 33 Beers notebook, available in Australia through Innspire.

And then there's Untappd for smartphone users. This beer check-in App is an easy way to keep track of your beer consumption history. It allows you to register each beer you drink, add your location, rate the beer out of 5 stars and write some short notes about it. There's also social media features that allows you to share beers and see who is drinking what/where.

Super Important Note: Drunk people and social media addicts are NOT zombies. Zombies are not've just been watching too much Walking Dead. During Good Beer Week you must resist any urge to destroy the brain or remove the heads of people.


Good beer is slow beer. Its enjoyment extends to the whole environment around you.

There are many aspects to drinking and enjoying good beer. Where big brewers mass produce bland lagers that are purely for refreshment and multiple consumption (so they can make more money by selling more), good beer is about the craft...the art and science...of brewing a flavoursome and balanced beer.

Take the slow food approach and consider the beer in the whole environment, rather than just throwing it down.

Consider the appearance, depth, complexity and drinkability of the beer. Does the flavour linger nicely in your mouth? Does it have character? Is it unique? Could you drink several in a session or is one enough? Does it need chocolate or cheese to compliment it?

Think about how the beer suits the time and place or the food it is being paired with. If the beer doesn't work for the particular time and place you are in, consider what type of environment that beer might be good for.

As an extreme example, I am still happy to drink XXXX (not craft beer) in the right time and place...which is on a very hot day in regional Queensland at a classic old pub where there's nothing better to do. Any other time and place and I'll struggle to drink XXXX.

No one likes super critical people who bring down the mood. If you don't like something about a beer and the brewer is there, ask them why the beer is made that way...and maybe it will be something that your palate will learn to identify as a trait of good beer in future. Judge the beer on it's merits as a unique beer and it's potential to add to the experience of your, whether, location, people, time of day and so on.

Like so many things in life, beer comes down to personal choice. Whilst a certain brew may not be your pint of beer, someone may love it to bits.


Build strength and resistance.

My personal advice is…don’t detox or go completely dry in the lead up to Good Beer Week. The beer will hit you too fast too quick if you have denied your system alcohol for an extended period of time. Any resulting hangover will be amplified.

Like any endurance event you need to train. During the week before the race you should taper, cut back your training a little but still keep yourself active with light sessions as well as rest days. The same applies for those heading to multiple beer events throughout the festival. During this week you should still allow yourself a beer or three each day, but don’t drink to drunkenness. An alcohol free day in the next few days is a good idea.

Save any detoxing or commitment to a sustained period of alcohol free days/weeks for after Good Beer Week.

Good Beer's a balancing act.


Know your pace and limits, stick to them.

We all know what drinking too much too fast will lead to an early end to your good times and possibly result in many regrets.

Many Good Beer Week events do move fast because there is much to get through in a short time. Good beer is not a fast thing though, so don't force anything down just to keep up.

Listen to your body. If you feel like you have reached your limit, don't try to keep drinking because you're probably well over your limit already. Focus on drinking water and eating food plus keep your mind active with conversation.

You don't need to have EVERY beer at Good Beer Week! Yes, I'm looking at you, beer snobs who are going to attempt all 60 beers at one GABS session! Many of the beers and many similar events will be available in the future, so don't make the mistake of thinking that this will be your only opportunity to experience something so you have to do/try everything now. This complication may result in totally unnecessary stress! Do a little recon research about which beers will be bottled and available post GABS and Good Beer Week.

There will be other opportunities...because we are only at the start of a good beer dynasty...


Bring it!

To steal the tag-line of Australian Brews is a conversation. Everyone has a different opinion of beer, so talk it up and discover the diversity in beer.

If last year is anything to go by, those attending multiple events are likely to see familiar faces popping up at the same events. Get to know these people!

Oh, and very finally...beware of this man...who likes to touch beer...

This crafty character is responsible for stealing your life away for a week and soaking it in so much good beer. Muu-muus for all! me how you will survive Good Beer Week? And...
...have fun! Cheers!

Oh hai. I have moved - please visit the new blog at

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Beer Moment (The Session no.63)

The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, which was started by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. On the first Friday of each month, all participating bloggers write about a predetermined topic. Each month a different blog is chosen to host The Session, choose the topic, and post a roundup of all the responses received. For more info on The Session, check out the Brookston Beer Bulletin’s archive page.

This month's Session is hosted by UK Beer Writer, Pete Brown. His chosen topic: the beer moment.

I was all ready and excited to join The Session for the first time this month because I love the concept and Pete's topic. Then...I forgot about it. The whirlwind stress of work life swept me away again. So, this post may lack the thoughtful consideration and communication I had hoped to offer when sharing interesting thoughts on the beer moment. Nevertheless, I've still jumped on-board and below is my rushed first contribution to this international beer writing endeavour...

The beer moment is peaceful, the beer moment is attentive, the beer moment is friendly.

Most of all, the beer moment is conversation on common ground.

The beer moment is quiet, calm, peaceful. At least, in your head it is. It's a moment of pure enjoyment where the noise (physical and psychological) of the surrounding world pales into insignificance. The peace does not always last long, but it is enough to install a strong longing for the day's first beer to capture the relief it will provide in that moment.

The beer moment is focused, specific, attentive. Distractions are diminished by the centering experience of the beer. As the beer pours from the tap to the glass, you become lost in a trance as your mind zones in on a specific need. Those distractions will return, but another beer will help knock them back a little further as the curious mind hones in on the history and craft of the beer in your hand. Where did this beer come from? Why is it so good? Should I have another or a different beer? How many have I had? Mmm beer.

The beer moment is social, insightful, friendly. The connection forged by drinking a beer together breaks through the toughest of social barriers, even past what beer each person is drinking. Those with you are genuinely interested in your thoughts about the beer...and all that flows from subsequent conversation. And in return you open yourself to the time they have to offer. You may not even know their name, but you can answer their questions and hear their opinion.

The beer moment is untouched by both the price paid for the beer, the prestige of the brand or the personal preference for the beer. As soon as a beer has been poured into a glass, all beer is on common ground because of the simple beauty is beer. Some will like the beer, some will not, but it will drive conversation where no one is a lesser or a loser, but everyone has a right to their own voice. And that's where the real beer moment the precious words, few or many, that flows between equals who are all so different.

In the end the beer itself is the aspect of the moment that is rarely remembered. The conversation, friendship and understanding are the parts of the moment that live on. Cheers!

For a personal aside...the best practitioner of the beer moment that I know is Brad Merritt, who opened his own little beer bar in the hills so that his lifestyle could be the beer moment. Five night's a week Brad can chat over beer and does so with peaceful, attentive and friendly fashion. From there I write of my most recent beer moment experience...

I sit at the local bar, on a tall stool with a no-longer full glass of beer at my finger tips, the noise of the room is lost to the importance of allowing the beer to speak through its aroma, character, mouthfeel, complexity and linger. The appearance of the beer captures my attention, every beer with its own unique aura. For a moment my eyes see nothing else than the beer in the glass, through its hue to its depth. Whilst my words may be few to those around me, they are ultimately about beer. The worries of the world give way in favour of a quiet conversation about beer...over beer. Peace.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Good Beer Week circa 2012

It's MAY...and after last year, that can mean only one's Good Beer Week month!

Yes indeed, the countdown is on to the third week of May - 12th to 19th - for a festival of events that is all about crafty, delicious, flavoursome, complex, debate-provoking, GOOD beer.

Good Beer Week is a smorgasbord of beer, food, entertainment and all sorts of social fun that makes enjoying a beer with friends something uniquely special. Australian craft beer will be flowing aplenty from the taps of Melbourne's bars, pubs and venues. Also, some big names of the international craft brewing scene will be flying in to put their stamp on the prestige of our little industry, with Kjetil Jikiun from Norway’s Nøgne Ø and Moylan's Brewery founder Brendan Moylan both featuring at events. Moylan's and Nøgne Ø are the two most recent Champion Exhibitors of the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA).

The Good Beer Week festival started last year as a little idea over a few beers, then became a run-away success and the talk of craft beer across Australia. This year the festival has grown exponentially. Maybe in future, we hope, Good Beer Week will rival the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.

Naturally, Beer Bar Band will be diving into the week's events...writing, blogging, drinking, tweeting and enjoying. At the top of the "to do" list, we've locked in are several returning events, which made such an impact last year (enjoyment factor turned up to 11!) that we didn't want to miss them this year.

We'll be at:
***Update 04/05/12 - WOOT...the wife won tickets to Monday's Beer & Cheese experience via the Good Beer Week social media engine, which is giving away tickets to various events each day. We LOVE cheese and beer matching, so this is an extra bonus.***

We're also keen to crawl around to several of the pubs featuring a "Pint of Origin", where the beers of a specific Australian State will be showcased across the pub's taps.

I'm sure there will be more events you'll find us at. We just have to work out how to manage responsible travel in this single-driver-team-who-now-live-over-an-hour-away from the party central of Melbourne city. Hmm, tricky. There could be some damn expensive taxi rides!

If you're looking for recommendations of which events to attend...well...there's no need...just pick ANY event to get started! Oh, and definitely hop onto anything involving the guys from Innspire, Yeastie Boys and Stone & Wood, who are guaranteed to make any event extra GOOD.

Soon I will be posting a Survival Guide to Good Beer Week, so stay tuned for that.

Hope to see you there!

 Mmmm good beer...where do you start?

Find the full program and all the info at