Canberra’s craft beer festival is now into its 12th year and it’s great to see that its expanded from the small gardens of the Mercure Hotel to closing off the back laneway behind the hotel. The space is key when you have over 200 different beers and cider to taste and try.
The ticketed event is still great value at $20 which includes $10 worth of tastings. On entry you get a wristband with a RFID chip and you can load as much as you want. After throwing $50 on and getting our cool little tasting cup (looking like a German lager glass) it was time to start sampling! Costs wise was $2 for half a cup or $4 for a full glass. Popular craft breweries like Feral Brewing, Modus Operandi and Balter had the longer lines. Most showcasing their core range with a the latest special release. Balter’s Hazy IPA and Feral’s Mango Ganguly being stand outs.
Canberra’s growing craft scene were well represented with Capital Brewing and Bentspoke having a constant line of locals sampling and having a chat to brewers. My aim to take it easy today was shot when I couldn’t pass up Capitals double IPA Big Drop. I’m a sucker for a double IPA. That with Mountain Goat’s new limited DIPA Hello Humanoid and Six Strings Vicious IPA, it was wise to get some food in the old belly.
My only criticism of the day was the 4 food van options that all required cash only, so while lining up for the ATM, I took the chance to hit up my favourite beer Former Tenant Red IPA from Modus Operandi. A hot dog later and it was time to check out some beers from Tumut River Brewing Company, Clare Valley Brewing Co, Hawkesbury Brewing’s Stout and Rosé Beer and the new Wayward Brewing Brut IPA Dead Dingo, on the house because I was wearing their merch.
There was plenty of good beers that I didn’t get to sample but by the end of the day, it was fair to say I’d already quite a few. It’s good to come back to this festival after four or five years to see it continually grow and expand. A staple event on the craft beer scene, it is well worth the road trip to the nations capital in March to check it out.