Bendigo Craft Beer Festival
Saturday 30th November, 2013
I’m not going to sugar coat it – I had a lot to drink at this event. And there wasn’t any opportunity for palate cleansing between drinks. So about all I’m going to be useful for is my “top picks” and a heap of photos. Sorry in advance for literally not remembering most people’s names (thank Christ I came home with a heap of business cards) – I did a lot of hand shaking but there wasn’t much that sunk in… Because I was there primarily to have a good time with friends. Enjoy!
Here I am with Jodie from Fresh Home Cook – we’re being photobombed by Mark, an ex colleague of mine!
I learned some things about myself at the Craft beer Festival:
1. I really like cider.
2. My beer preference is pale ale.
3. I hate anything that’s heavy on hops. IT TASTES LIKE SOAP.
My top cider picks, in no particular order:
Frank’s Cider Company (TAS)
I spent a fair bit of time talking to these guys about my infatuation with Tasmania. I ended up trying all three of their ciders (apple, pear & pear/cherry) – they were all fabulous! I invited myself to their orchard in February if I get time while in Tasmania for my sister in law’s wedding – fingers crossed!
The Hills Cider Company (SA)
The word “vegan” on the adorable little chalk board was what drew me to this marquee. I tried all three ciders; their award-winning pear was definitely the stand out favourite. I even went as far as hanging around like a weirdo convincing people passing by to try it. The crisp, dry apply was a close second, but I wasn’t a fan of the apple/ginger. It wasn’t bad, it just needed A LOT more ginger for my palate.
Cheeky Rascal (VIC)
These guys were Jodie from Fresh Home Cook‘s pick of the day. We both fell head over heels for their pear/blood orange cider, which I think may have been a limited edition variety. I also tried the strawberry/apple and raspberry/apple which were lovely but sweeter.
Lucky Duck Cider (VIC)
These guys had something I didn’t see anywhere else: a cider based cocktail. YES PLEASE. It was excellent and the guys were lovely – the people lining up for drinks were an unwelcome interruption to our exciting chatter. After unashamedly inviting myself behind the bar for a photo, I let them get back to work.
For those of you interested, Dan & Matt who were working behind the bar run a mobile beverage catering business called Beer Gypsies – I think the concept is just brilliant! You can find them at weddings, festivals and even their own NYE bash in Collingwood.
Top beer picks:
Ok, brace yourselves. I had a clingstone peach & Darjeeling tea lager. AND IT WAS SPECTACULAR. It might be a bit feminine for most beer lovers; its aroma is thick with black tea and light with the perfume of summer peaches… and it drew me in, then totally blew me away. It’s not for everyone, but something about it is liberating – it’s definitely worth a try. I, for one, really loved it. I actually went back for a second glass and didn’t bother trying anything else that Kwencher had on offer because I was worried things could only go downhill after that exciting combination.
Mildura Brewery (VIC)
These guys were really passionate about their beer – I tried two varieties. My favourite was the “Storm” pale ale.
Cavalier Brewing (VIC)
Cavalier’s pale ale had a strong passionfruit smell just before it hit your mouth – a great and unusual sensation!
I stopped for a southern style tofu wrap and some seasoned fries from Cajun Kitchen. These went down pretty quick – the spice mix on the fries was seriously awesome.
The vegan food options at the event were severely limited but I wasn’t too worried because this hit the spot! A little bit greasy but also packed with some salad – even if you can’t see much evidence of it in my photo.
True South (VIC)
Mr. AA excitedly lured me over here because True South isn’t just a brewery with beers & cider on offer – they also run an Argentinian restaurant in Black Rock (Melbourne) with VEGAN OPTIONS ON THE MENU! HUZZAH! I’d had a fair bit to drink by this stage in the day so I can’t tell you much about the beer, but the fellas were swell and you’ll certainly be seeing a review of the restaurant when I get a chance to visit.
O’Brien Beer (VIC)
Gluten free beer! I wish I’d paid more attention to this marquee earlier in the day.
Prickly Moses (VIC)
Jodie and I tried two of their ciders early in the day – both were tasty!
Quiet Deeds (VIC)
I tried the pale ale from this fun trio and it was very likeable!
Flying Brick Cider Co. (VIC)
Golden Axe (VIC)
As far as drunk-ish views go, this was far superior to a toilet bowl. I had a really great day, met lots of interesting and passionate people and spent time with some of my closest friends.
While the $35 entry fee felt a bit steep considering tokens for drinks needed to be bought in addition to that, it was otherwise a really good event that I hope continues anually. The layout was sensible with a water station, first aid van & sunscreen between the main event and the bathrooms. The only improvement I would suggest is a few small water stations scattered around so that you can rinse your glass between tastings and some more seating with shade.
Before I sign off for the night, here’s a sneaky bathroom selfie from the end of the day. Check it out – heels still on and hair still assembled! What a champ.