It was an amazing display of craft beer and cider this past weekend as the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS) along with beer lovers descended on Sydney Olympic Park.
In it's 10th year and a with a bit of a different format GABS put on a great show, with 46 breweries and 120 specially made 'Festival Beers' for attendees to enjoy.
There were big names in the craft beer world in attendance, including; Balter, Little Creatures, Mountain Goat Coopers and 4 Pines, alongside smaller and newer brewers, like Blue Mountains own Mountain Culture and the Australian Brewery from Rouse Hill.
At both the stalls and in the festival beers, there was a common theme, one that has been emerging in the craft beer industry over recent years.
Milkshake and New England IPAs, along with creamy and fluffy stouts, and on the opposite end sours, were dominant style choices by many brewers.
The top ten most popular festival beers at GABS Sydney, in no particular order, were:
- Currumbin Valley - Blackcurrant Pastille Sour,
- Mountain Culture - Wanderlust,
- Bentspoke - Skywhale Ale,
- Wayward Brewing - Sourade Blue Blast Beer Gose,
- Cheeky Tiki Cider - Pink Passion,
- Willie the Boatman - Marrickville Lamb Souvlaki,
- Dainton - Amplifier Cranked-up Hazy IPA,
- One Drop - Triple Boysenberry Blackcurrant Salted Caramel Chocolate Custard Bourbon Nitro,
- Pixel Brewing - 1080 Cryo DIPA, and
- Batch Brewing - Eiffel 6.5.
Hawkesbury's Gypsy Fox Brewing Co fought back against the current trend of creamy brews with an American IPA called Shut Up and Eat Your Pine Cone.
It was described in the official GABS guide as, "the antidote to the lolly based, fluffy milk stouts. A classic, bitter, clear IPA made with big, dank hops".
Head brewer at Gypsy Fox, Liam Corr, said that the beer was a classic West Coast IPA, and had a classic craft beer flavour, with pine and citrus notes.
"How the trend is moving these days, all people want is an IPA that tastes like a milkshake or a stout that tastes like a chocolate milk, or some form of pastry," he said. "So this is an ode too the piney beers.
"It also references the classic Simpsons episode of Kamp Krusty, where the Bart wants to roast marshmallows, but is told to 'shut up and eat your pine cone'."
Gypsy Fox has three beers in its core range; Original Ale, Archetype Ale and Petite Noir. They often create limited release brews and collaborate with other breweries.
Liam said that COVID-19 had been very strange for most small breweries, including Gypsy Fox, and that this time last year they thought they would go out of business.
"But since then everyone has grown, it's just gone nuts with everyone wanting craft beers" he said. "There's a lot more support for local business.
"One of our newest ones is the Hoodlum NEIPA," he said. "Another style of IPA, East Coast. Meaning it is low bitterness, an easy drinking IPA."
GABS is now headed off to Brisbane and Melbourne to finish its 10th year of festivals and to continue to promote and display the great craft beer and ciders that Australia and New Zealand have to offer.