Drunken Speculation

Brewsvegas 2014

It’s done. Completed. Finito. Also, if I may, veni, vidi, vivo. That is, I came, I saw and I live.

brewsvegas

With the exception of the Caxton Street block party – which I won’t be attending because I have to pick up my co-blogger from the airport – still to go, Brewsvegas has been a long, beer-sodden week that proves that Brisbane’s beer scene is as good as any. While I’ve droning on about exhaustion lately, I really don’t want to undersell how great the overall festival was.

If you follow our Facebook page, you would’ve gotten daily updates from me on the ground. We got a head start on the beers with the Noisy Minor Shout on Saturday. ammo went a bit too hard, so I had fly solo for my Brewsvegas week:

brewsvegas sundaySunday: Craft Beer Alley at Kerbside with a follow-up beer at Hoo Ha Bar

Monday: Bridge Road taste-off with Ben Kraus at Super Whatnot

Tuesday: Get Flawed at Newstead Brewing Co with a few beers at Tippler’s post-Instagrammy’s

Wednesday: Blessed relief of a night off

Thursday: Mornington Peninsula Sniff and Sip at Brewhouse

Friday: Hipwood Brewery (re-)launch and the Two Birds tap takeover at Bosc

Saturday: Inhoption at Scratch, a few beers by the pool, capped off with the Ekim Brewing Viking party at Bosc. The former had a disappointing series of randall failures, meaning the hop infused beers that were planned were cancelled, although the Scratch still offered wet hopped cask beers off the bar top. The latter was a fun night, with a little more breathing room on offer than Friday night, and the five Ekim beers on tap, all of which are top notch. I found a pelt-cum-shawl from somewhere but horned Viking hats could not be had for love nor money. To emphasis the love aspect, for the ten seconds I had a Viking helmet on, I got humped by a total random. I guess it was in line with the “rape and pillage” Viking theme.

brewsvegas mondayI had to draw my line in the Brewsvegas sand last night. I suspect that like many, I will be enjoying a few days alcohol-free, probably re-acquainting myself with water and exercise. Surely, even the most committed beer geeks will be considering a glass of anything other than ale with dinner next week.

That said, Brewsvegas offered a thoroughly enjoyable week overall. Here’s a few of my thoughts about the event in general.

Confirmation

It might be trite to say it but the week was a big success from where I sat. This opinion is listed as a confirmation because I didn’t expect anything less. With the backing of the bigger and smaller players in Brisbane’s beer dispensing industry and a much better marketing campaign than previous local beer festival attempts, the only way this could fail was if people didn’t turn up. The fact that everywhere I went all week was heaving with people suggested the punters turned up in good numbers.

Revelations

brewsvegas tuesdayThe sheer number of good bars around town continues to astonish me. There’s dozens of small venues that didn’t exist only a few years ago and they’re opening faster than I can keep up with. It’s great that a big chunk of them got on board with Brewsvegas.

My beer revelation is that it turns out that Bridge Road’s India Saison is actually a really good beer. I’ve had a few bottles through my Posse membership and found it pretty average. Off tap and fresh? Wow: well-rounded mouthfeel, hoppy and a bit of yeasty funkiness. Also, Green Beacon beers at Grill’d? Yep, that happened. The Bacchus Brewing Yummy Mummy beer is a near classic and I’m looking forward to the imperial version at GABS in May.

Regret

I missed a few events that I would’ve liked to get to: the launch of MP’s canned Pale Ale at Ca-beer-et at the Scratch; the Brisbane Untappd at Tippler’s; Hoo Ha Beque, featuring camel and kangaroo, at Hoo Ha Bar; and Eau de Brewski with its single hop perfurmes at Brewski. Next year, I may be able to get around a bit more, although I’m glad I didn’t use up any annual leave this week.

I also wish I’d stumped up some money for a degustation. The closest I came was the Thursday session at the Brewhouse which, truth be told, provided more than a sufficient amount of food.

Observations

brewsvegas mp sorachiI joked to ammo that while she was away on work duties, I’d either lose or gain five kilos thanks to the festival. Turns out my body decided to go the “gain weight” route, although considering I’ve done little exercise in the last two weeks and spent the last seven days living on chips, pizza and beer (it sounds more awesome than it is), I’ve probably come out the other side in relatively good physical shape. With the exception of Saturday night’s trip to Indian Kitchen – a place that always gives me a salt hangover – I behaved myself so well, I didn’t suffer any major hangovers.

Mentally, I’m tired from being a lot more social than normal, from over-stimulation and lots of beer makes you really lethargic and stupid. I couldn’t remember on Saturday what I’d done on Monday without thinking hard for a couple of minutes.

Suggestions

It seemed that a lot of the A-grade events were front-loaded from Sunday to Wednesday with little left for the second weekend. Maybe it was my imagination more than anything, being obliged to pick and choose among events, but for some places, it was back to business as usual on Friday and Saturday nights. A better balance across the week, with fewer conflicting events would be appreciated, although I suppose everyone wants to get in early before the novelty of the week wears off.

Other than that, I only have nitpicking to offer. The website could offer a few more options for sorting the wheatier events from the chaff and I’d like to see venues use social media more to announce when events are ended or not on, as exemplified by the Scratch:

Nonethless, still a great event overall. Our attention now turns to Good Beer Week in May. We’ll be in Melbourne from Thursday through to Sunday arvo and we’re still working on a timetable, although we do have season passes for GABS.

As for Brewsvegas, I’m sure it’ll be back next year, bigger and better. Give me a few weeks and I’ll be looking forward to it.

2 comments

  1. Great write up and glad you had a good week.

    Thanks for the feedback, we’ll definitely be taking it on board and look forward to having you part of it next year. This being our first year, we are hungry for as much constructive feedback as possible that we can consider for 2015.

    Cheers for the support. Viva Brewsvegas!

    • Thanks Ben but that was all I could think of. I’m sure our four readers will add more as they see fit. I also neglected to mention that I enjoyed the Scratch v Tipplers rivalry during the week. Gave the festival a bit of narrative.

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