The Great Australasian Beer Spectapular — better known as just GABS — returns to the Royal Exhibition Building for its eighth year over the weekend of May 18–20. After humble beginnings right here in Melbourne, the festival has now expanded to cover three cities, two countries, and is rightfully considered by most as the best craft beer and cider festival in the Asia Pacific region.
Creators Steve Jeffares and Guy Greenstone (The Local Taphouse, Stomping Ground Brewing Co.) have again wrangled up the best breweries from the region and are offering up over 500 brews in all, including 170 festival beers and ciders. These exclusive and often wacky specialty brews are created just for the event and are generally the festival's main draw, giving attendees the rare chance to try brand-spanking new beers while meeting the brewers behind them.
This year's festival brews include ingredients like Great Ocean Road snails, crickets and durian, plus a laksa ale from Brothers Brewing, a whisky sour beer from Wayward and an umami beer with miso, soy and seaweed from Morrison Brewing. We've also noticed a specific increase in the use of herbs and botanicals this year.
Apart from beer, the event will also play host to the first Holey Moley pop-up course, along with a cocktail bar by Starward Whisky and Four Pillars gin. The much loved 18-metre-high beer Ferris wheel will make its return, as will the usual wandering performances and local food stalls.
The weekend-long event is categorised in five sessions, with the season passes to all sessions already sold out. We wish those ticket holders the best of luck.