Each year since 2012, the GABS Beer, Cider & Food Festival has set out to create an unforgettable and fun experience that shares a love of craft beer and cider with as many people as possible.
The event has been described by influential US magazine The Beer Connoisseur as “one of the best beer festivals in the world” and in 2016 GABS attracted more than 32,000 people, up 22% in Melbourne and Sydney, and with the addition of Auckland, the total visitor numbers were up 42% year on year.
So, what’s in store for Australasia’s premier beer festival this year?
More Festival Beers & Ciders.
A key point of difference to the GABS experience are the ‘Festival Beers & Ciders’, where leading brewers and cider makers from Australia, New Zealand and around the world, create a unique beer or cider especially for the festival.
Served from distinctive 40ft shipping containers converted into bars, the Festival Beers & Ciders are hugely popular with event goers, and in fact many brews – such as Yeastie Boys’ Gunnamatta Tea Leaf IPA, La Sirene’s Praline Belgian Ale, Two Birds’ Taco, BrewCult’s Milk & Two Sugars Imperial Milk Stout and Big Shed Brewing’s Golden Stout Time – have gone on to enjoy great critical and commercial success following their launch at GABS.
While breweries are encouraged to be creative, some take it even further and last year’s Belly Button Beer from 7 cent Brewery and Robe Brewing’s Ambergris Ale, made essentially from sperm whale vomit even made global headlines.
In 2017, GABS is growing this popular concept further and introducing a third container bar at GABS Melbourne and Sydney, allowing up to 180 Festival Beers and Ciders to be exclusively launched at GABS.
It’s more than a beer festival… it’s an experience.
The GABS Festival is also about the experience, the entertainment and ‘spectacle’ of it all, and every year the team strives to take the ‘spectacular’ to a whole new level.
GABS runs in five-hour blocks or ‘sessions’. During each session, a variety of unique entertainment is scheduled to surprise and delight punters. In past years, highlights have included an indoor Ferris Wheel almost 30 metres high, incredible circus and acrobatic acts, as well as an array of roving performers and a hugely entertaining ‘house band’.
In 2017, GABS is again looking to take the entertainment offering to new heights (literally). Atop the shipping container bars stages will be built for dramatic live performances. Think of costumed acrobatic artists atop sway poles circling 9 metres above customers heads, precision Taiko drummers booming from container to container, or perhaps an operatic duo reaching a soaring crescendo. Brief, incredibly high impact performances that will amaze the entire festival audience.
And then on the event floor, there will be a number of mini stages featuring solo circus performances interspersed between the container top acts. Again, awesome feats of skill that culminate in a ‘wow’ moment are the order of the day.
And finally, roving performers will bring the show right to the punters table. These include the perennial house band ‘The Ale Capones’, a highly engaging four piece who really know how to work the GABS crowd. Imagine a thousand people singing along to ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ and you’ll get the picture.
This is a significant part of the event, and drives home the ‘good times’ vibe of great beer, good company, and an unforgettable experience.
What it means?
For discerning drinkers, both new and old, GABS is a true celebration of craft beer and cider creativity and diversity, as well as the stories behind the products and the craft breweries. For some, it’s an introduction, for others a journey, and for all, it’s an incredibly fun festival experience.
19-21 May 2017
Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton
27 May 2017
Sydney Showground, Olympic Park
16-17 June 2017
ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane
On sale 16 March in all cities