Our city hosts relatively few high profile beer festivals, so craft beer geeks and foodies alike will be thanking the sweet mother of ales that GABS is coming to Auckland in 2016 (June 18). Also known as the Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular (yes the pun is meant to be capitalised), this extravaganza is lauded as one of the premier beer festivals in the world.
Started in 2012 by Guy Greenstone and Steve Jeffares, owners of the acclaimed Taphouse craft beer bars across the ditch, this festival celebrates the diversity of craft beer and often attracts crowds in excess of 23,000. Expect stands from hundreds of New Zealand and Australian breweries, food trucks, cooking demonstrations, educational seminars and even live entertainment, all hosted at the ASB Showgrounds.
Despite all of the specTAPle, the most exciting part of GABS is the one off “festival beers” brewed for the occasion. There’s no limit to what breweries can create, and several iconic Kiwi craft beers have made their humble beginnings at the Australian GABS. These include, Yeastie Boys’ Gunnamatta, an IPA infused with earl grey tea, and Garage Project’s Double Day Of The Dead, a spicy dark lager infused with chipotle, cacao nibs, vanilla and agave. Yum. Several well loved Kiwi brewers have already signed on to participate and brew festival beers for the Auckland event.
GABS offers an exciting opportunity to expand the craft beer market in both New Zealand and Australia, supporting one of our most innovative, exciting and fast growing industries. So even if you don’t drink beer this is a festival worth checking out purely for the food and the atmosphere. If you’re a lover of ales however, I suggest you move mountains to be here, as GABS promises to be the ultimate beer event in New Zealand.