Posted: 15 Apr 2015

A beer expert’s guide to the Great Australian Beer Spec-tap-ular

Beer judge Pete Mitcham

ATTENTION beer lovers of Melburnians. The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular returns to Carlton’s Royal Exhibition Building from May 22-24.

This year, 120 beers will be created especially for the festival, many of them destined to become cult classic after the event.

Beer judge Pete Mitcham (right) has tried some fabulous and foul beer experiments over the years, but he has high hopes for this year’s new batch. Here are the five must-try beers created for GABS this year.

1. Feral Brewing Co

GABS beerNew beer: The Eurovision Train Wreck

Some GABS beers give at least a hint as to what flavours to expect. Feral asks for blind faith and, with People’s Choice and Runner-Up awards behind them, it’s worth taking a risk. The Eurovision Train Wreck will be a smorgasbord of European ingredients which, like a Eurovision act itself, could be a delight or a disaster.

2. Australian Brewery

GABS pouringNew beer: Mad, Mad, Madras

This is one of those beers that makes you say “How could this possibly taste good? I have to try it.” A classic ESB (English Special Bitter) with the addition of basmati rice, and classic curry spices, finished with tamarind and a pinch of garam masala. Papadums sold separately.

3. 4 Pines Brewing Co

New beer: Snickers

In past years, plenty of GABS beers have featured ingredients normally found in the lolly jar or on the dessert menu. In fact, the past two People’s Choice beers have been a Belgian Praline and a White Choc Raspberry Pilsner. This beer looks to continue the trend by making a Snickers – in beer form.

4. Vale Brewing

New beer: Pie Cart Porter

Which came first, the Pie Cart or the beer? In South Australia, a night out with friends would often finish with a Pie Cart treat. Inspired by this – and a Paul Mercurio Porter and Pea & Ham soup– the Vale Brewing team set out to discover what a Pea & Ham soup would taste like, as a beer.

5. Temple Brewing Co

New beer: Blacklisted

Who says a GABS specialty beer has to have crazy ingredients or be mind-blowingly bitter/barrel-aged/spontaneously fermented? Why not a lager? OK, but let’s make it as black as an Emo’s address book with five secret spices added for good measure. Oh, and let’s crank the ABV up to 7.5%. That’s a GABS lager.

Also try…

Pete couldn’t stop at five great beers, so he also recommends giving this lot a crack: Big Shed Brewing‘s Golden Stout Time, Bacchus Brewing‘s Atomic Lemon, Lime & Bitters, Two Birds‘ Pina Colada, Moondog Brewery‘s Spotted Dick with Custard, Robe Town Brewery‘s Shearer’s Joy and Beheamoth Brewing Co‘s Bogan’s Breakfast.

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