GABS 2012: Day One Photos

So, I’m back in my dear old Melbourne taking full advantage of my well-timed unemployment to attend GABS: the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular. It’s rather a treat, and will warrant a proper write-up (or several), but I just want to use the last few moments before my sleep-deprived brain implodes to upload a few photos.

– The Location

The venue — the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens — is right in my old neighbourhood (at the end of my genuinely lovely one-time ten minute walk to work, in fact), and it’s freakin’ gorgeous. The bars were in the East and West wings, renamed as the “Malt” and “Hops” Ends; the latter seeming to have just a bit more going on, which nicely fits the current state of the market and its fashions. The center contained a stage upon which a good collection of bands performed — usually slightly too loud.

Main Hall, looking East

Main Hall, looking East

Fountain and park outside

Fountain and park outside

Main hall, ceiling

Main Hall, ceiling

The Hops End

The Hops End

The Malt End

The Malt End

Main Hall, center

Main Hall, center

– The Beer

The selection of beer on offer — nearly sixty mostly-one-off brews from New Zealand and Australia — is headcrushingly varied and enticing. It skews somewhat to the experimental and odd, but not in a stuntish or boringly overblown way. The huge bars were well prepped and keyed mainly towards serving five-sample tasting trays, with payments all handled by familiar and ubiquitous tokens that help you forget just how much you’re spending. I kept things fairly sedate — I was slightly less sleep-deprived than now, but still extraordinarily so and had odd-job volunteer work to do off and on through the night. I had a tasting tray of the five mildest beers on offer (all ≤4.5% ABV), but later rewarded myself with a proper-glass nightcap of Garage Project’s ‘Double Day of the Dead’, a worthy (and embiggened) reincarnation of my Favourite Beer of 2012. There’s plenty more I want to try, but I am going to three more sessions; there’s time.

The Big Board part 1

The Big Board part 1

The Big Board part 2

The Big Board part 2

The Big Board part 3

The Big Board part 3

Bar 01, prepping

Bar 01, prepping

Bar 04, serving

Bar 04, serving

$2 GABS 2012 Token

$2 GABS 2012 Token

Row of taps

Row of taps

Sessionable tasting paddle

Sessionable tasting paddle

Double Day of the Dead

Double Day of the Dead

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9 Responses to GABS 2012: Day One Photos

  1. Kate says:

    I thought the beers were meant to be previously unreleased before GABS – what’s up wuth Zythos?

    • Phil says:

      Rather controversial, that one! It was the talk of the nerds – in a bad way – for that reason, one day one.

      • Andrei says:

        Zythos was the only NZ beer i didn’t try, mainly for the fact that it is widely available in NZ. I note that S!mcoe was another non-new beer at the event but believe Liberty had some problem brewing their intended GAB’s beers, and this was evidently an acceptable fall-back option. Look forward to your thoughts on the event and beers Phil. Cheers

        • Stu as "Stu" says:

          There were a couple of others that may or may not have been released before GABS from talk around the place. I heard that one brewery did release theirs accidentally (forgetting the rules) and then pulled it when they realised their mistake.

          I can confrim, however, that Liberty S!mcoe was a new beer (they did do a Simcoe Blonde, which may be where the confusion lies).

        • Joseph says:

          Andrei, I would love to know where that rhumor originated. It was flattering to be offered the opportunity to participate in this event, and all but nearly able to attend. I would have loved to have been able to see the reaction from the punters having a go at S!mcoe. I brewed that beer exclusively for GABS. It was a painstaking duo of back to back brews on my 300L brew kit. I used resources that I could not afford to have used and hops that were allocated originally for one of our most popular beers. We are just a small brewery with limited exposure in NZ, and I lost credability from my NZ customers supplying so much beer to Australia when we aren’t even able to meet demand from our NZ customers.

          Anyhow… sorry about the rant. I’m not trying to lay a guilt trip on the table, I just think that it’s such a shame that there is any negative contraversy associated to our participation in GABS especially at a time where it was virtually impossible to produce that much beer for it.

          All the best.

          Joe.

          • Andrei says:

            Hi all, just checked in to see the comments above! Seems I could have been more careful with my words. For the record I had no desire to generate negative discussion about NZ craft beer or brewer.

            Thanks Stu for pointing out my mistake, and Joe, I apologise to for any negative implications in my comment. The rumour came from a friend relaying a tweat, which we both interpreted to mean your GABS beer was stuffed. And when the offical beer list was released I saw S!mcoe listed, and wrongly thought I has seen it for sale somewhere. And I then made a careless mistake in stating publically it was not new. It is humbing to hear of the effort and resource that went into brewing it and can understand your obvious disappointment in not being able to attend the event. I did of course try it – my tasting note simply state “phew” (in a good way!)

            All the best, Andrei

          • Joseph says:

            That was gracious of you, Andrei… I feel stink now. I wasn’t trying to make you feel guilty bro. To be honest, I was having a bit of a shit day so took it out on you a bit.

            Take it easy.

            Joe.

        • Mike says:

          Hey Andrei I think you have made a mistake there. Must be very carefull with the words alot of people read this blog

  2. Raffe says:

    I wish we had gorgeous historic buildings like this to host beer festivals in.

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