MELBOURNE | Folks, it’s that time of the year again. It’s perhaps the most important 10 days of the drinking year. It’s Good Beer Week! (Yes, we noticed that’s more than a week, consider them bonus days.)
For those out of the loop, Melbourne’s Good Beer Week is the time when craft beer lovers from miles, and sometimes oceans, around converge on the pubs, bars, and restaurants around the city. But with the event getting bigger every year, it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. To help with this burden, we’re going to take you through our plan, day-by-day.
But there are a few things we suggest you do and get before you get started:
- The Good Beer Week guide: It’s available in paper or app form, so track it down. You’ll never be at a loss again.
- Hydralyte tablets: Hangovers are tricky, but you can give your body a helping hand by keeping a stock of Hydralyte. You won’t completely avoid the hangover, but you might give it a run for its money.
- Painkillers: Paracetamol, ibuprofen, whatever your weapon of choice, be sure to stock up. They’re going to come in handy when that school night drinking session gets out of hand.
- A fully topped up Myki card: In Good Beer Week, driving is for suckers, but public transport is always your friend, so put some coin on your card and throw the car keys in the safe. They will be no use to you this week.
- Cancel your work plans: There’s no easy way to put this, so we’re just going to say it real fast: postpone all of your strenuous work plans, at least for the mornings. Try to aim for menial tasks if you can and build up the strenuous ones later. Your boss will be grateful.
Now, let’s get you on the fast train to great beer.
Friday 12 May
It’s the kick off for Good Beer Week, but it also isn’t. Sure, there’s an opening night party at Beer DeLuxe in the city, and sure you should go to it, but you should also look out for anywhere that might be ‘clearing the taps’ before the event kicks off. For our money, we suggest heading to the Alehouse Project in Brunswick East where you’ll get pints at pot prices for one night only. They’re a solid craft beer venue, so even the things they’re clearing out are probably several cuts above anything else out there.
But take it easy, you still have a lot of drinking to do.
Saturday 13 May
Here’s where it all kicks off, and a glance on the city alone will not leave you disappointed. We would start with New Brew at Beer DeLuxe in the city, presented by our old friends at Old Wives Ales (you can hear about them on S07E03 of the Brunswick Beer Collective podcast). It’s a free event featuring some of the best new brewers to appear recently. You can read about it here.
But if you’re after something a little more adventurous, you could look at building a ‘Pint of Origin’ pub crawl through Melbourne. For a refresher, pint of origin (or PoO) events are where a pub offers only beers from a certain area. We’ll touch on this later but if you can’t wait, just search for pint of origin in the app.
Sunday 14 May
So, it’s Mothers Day, but it’s also Good Beer Week, so what do you do? The good people at Froth magazine have thought about this too. The answer is to bring her along. Check out their special Mothers Day brunch event hosted by the Froth editor’s mum, Silvia.
But if that doesn’t fit the bill, how about you impress your mum with a haircut thanks to the good people at Colonial Brewing Co. (Port Melbourne) and Uncle Rocco’s barbershop? They’re doing free haircuts and we’ll-priced craft beer all day. You can find out more here.
Finally, how about a trip to the river… of course, as this is the Yarra, so it’s probably best to stay on the sidelines, and the best way to do that is at everyone’s favourite Flinders Street Station bar (other than Clocks), Arbory. This year’s event, Good Beer Kitchen sees a combination of beer, chefs, and more beer. It will sting you $80, but can you really put a price on your mum’s happiness?
Monday 15 May
Assuming that you survived Sunday’s events, Monday is where things really kick off. So where do you start? If you’re northside, it’s difficult to go past the Terminus Hotel with their annual Victoria vs The World Showdown. It’s an all out fight between brewers with beer as their only weapon, so be ready to drink up.
If you’re southside: BINGO, literally, with the fabled Grosvenor Hotel doing a craft beer and bingo night, combined with their own Queensland Pint of Origin event.
Tuesday 16 May
So your hangover has subsided and now you’re foolishly wondering what to drink next. Well firstly, let’s start with something both strong and legendary. Let’s start with everyone’s favourite, the Ramjet. Down at Slowbeer in Fitzroy, the good people at Boatrocker have teamed up with the equally good people at Starward Whiskey to make four variants on their signature Ramjet beer. This event is both brilliant and insane, so we highly recommend it.
But if that’s not to your taste, how about a journey to auguably Australia’s most uninteresting city for some thoroughly interesting beers. Yes, a trip to Atticus Finch will bring you face to face with beers brewed at our nations capital… Canberra.
Wednesday 17 May
I’m sure you’re tired, and I’m sure you’re looking for a break. But then, maybe you could have just one beer, because you might not see some of these beers again. And you know, Silverlake Social do have four Stone beers that you’ve never seen before, and it’s for one night only, and it seems like the only right thing to do and… you get the picture.
And while you’re at it, one of our favourite newish breweries, Odyssey Brewing Company, is having a house party over in Hawthorn, and really, it would be rude if you didn’t attend, if only to have the Extra Special Red. Trust us, you’ll only regret it in the morning.
Thursday 18 May
While we doubt you’re at a loose end, and if you’ve read this far, you know where this is going. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get to it.
To start with, Cremorne’s unstoppable craft beer pub, the Cherry Tree, is hosting a night featuring advertising luminaries taking you through a history of beer advertising. The Brewin’ Transfer is informing, and you get to drink. What could possibly go wrong?
Moving back to the city is the Time Out Battle of the Busker at Whitehart. Courtesy of Yenda, this is your chance to see Melbourne’s buskers battle it out, while you get to drink beer. It’s a win-win really.
And if that wasn’t enough, and you know it probably isn’t, how about some Norwegian beers being launched for the first time in Australia at Dr Morse courtesy of Nøgne Ø Brewing? And don’t worry, we don’t know how to pronounce it either.
Finally, maybe this is a night where you want to try a few PoO events. You could visit Carwyn Cellars for the USA takeover, Foresters Hall for the New Zealand takeover, or our personal favourite, Beermash, for the Scandinavian takeover. If we’re honest, we can’t believe the last one is actually happening, so we suggest paying them a visit some time this week.
Friday 19 May
Now we know what you’re going to say: Is there really more to go? But you already know the answer to that question. To start with, how about a Rockwell & Sons burger? And how about combining that burger with a Garage Project beer? We’ll just leave this here. Of note, this event is on all week.
Beyond this, we think the right way to finish the work week it to not work, and the best way to do that is with a round of golf. If it’s good enough for Donald Trump, it’s good enough for you. Held at Albert Park, this event combines 9 holes with beers from Sydney brewery Modus Operandi.
And if that isn’t enough, why not head to some more PoO events such as the Sydney takeover at the Rainbow, the Western Australian takeover at the Royston, or the Tasmanian takeover at the Spotted Mallard.
Saturday 20 May
GABS! No, we haven’t resorted to random upper case characters. Instead, GABS is the Great Australian Beer Spectacular (technically it’s a Spectapular, but there’s only so many times you can do that joke before the boredom sets in). Running from Friday night until Sunday afternoon, there is no beer event quite like it in Australia. Get the app, get your tickets, and sample enough brand-new beers to make your liver wish you listened to it more. There’s also a Ferris wheel, if you weren’t sold on the rest of it.
And if you’re still standing after all this, we suggest a wander through Fitzroy’s pubs, beginning with the great Catfish on Gertrude Street, which has a takeover direct from the state of Oregon. We think you’ll enjoy your stay.
But there’s still more. Get down to Concrete Boots Bar in Richmond for seven-way collaboration in aid of RUOK. It’s the right thing to do.
Finally, the good people at Moon Dog who are promising a party to end all parties, karaoke and all, held at their Brewery from 5pm. If you’re still standing, then you should be here.
Sunday 21 May
It’s nearly the end. But we’re not quite done yet. With the painkillers and hydralytes now running low, and your wallet looking lean, it’s time for one last throw, beginning with a Brooklyn Brewery House Party at Leonard’s House of Love.
But if southside isn’t your thing, head on down to Beer DeLuxe for the official closing party. We don’t actually know what will be on offer there, but we can safely assume you will find a lot of bleary-eyed friends to sympathise with.
Still reading? Well done. Now get out there and enjoy it. Just be sure to leave the car at home.