Drunken Speculation

GABS 2014 Hitlist

GABSlogoYesterday, the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, or GABS, programme was released:

We’re heading down to Melbourne again in May for GABS and some Good Beer Week events. Seeing as Glen from Beer is your Friend has already done an excellent job getting the thoughts of brewers worldwide about their GABS beers, we thought we’d take a look at the 2014 beer list and do our respective hitlists (last year’s editions were mystifyingly, relatively popular).

This year’s major themes are:

  • The mean ABV is 6.48%, up from 6.1% last year (standard deviation 1.95%, median 6%). Only eighteen beers are less than 5% ABV.
  • There’s 111 beers available, minus the Grifter Beer Co.
  • Thirty-one beers are from outside Australia – eighteen from NZ, thirteen from elsewhere.
  • The word “Belgian” turns up in the description of twenty-one beers.
  • Barrels were involved in eleven beers.
  • Nine beers are described as “imperial” in style.
  • There are seven pilsners, presumably taking after Bacchus’ success last year.
  • “Half serves” are available for five beers over 10%. This does not mean, like I thought, that these are half tasters, just half glasses.

gabs venueLast year, beers like Taco (Two Birds Brewing) and Barrique O’Karma (Feral Brewing) debuted as GABS beers and Yeastie Boys’ Gunnamatta IPA took out the People’s Choice in 2012 and we’ve gone on to enjoy them all immensely since. Here’s what we’re hoping is going to continue to impress us for the next twelve months:


‘Gin and Juice’ Snoop Dogg Tribute Ale | 4 Pines Brewing Co.

Well, first of all, the name really sings to me. It was only the other night I was cracking funnies and demanded Liam go to the kitchen and get me my ‘gin n juice’. Secondly, I don’t mind the occasional G&T and all the better when there’s some cucumber thrown in the mix. I’ll be interested to see if the cucumber can 1) hold its own against the orange and bitters and 2) if its addition adds positively to the beer.

The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch | Yeastie Boys

This year the offering from Yeastie Boys promises “tropical fruit, heat, smoke and spice” and if any outfit can pull off a “south-east Asian Barbecue” in a beer it might just be these guys.

Sesame Snap-chat | Two Birds Brewing

Last year Two Birds impressed with Taco and this year I’m intrigued enough to see how sesame seed additions go in a beer to add it to my five. Nutty? Oily? Hmmm.

Go Figure | Grand Ridge Brewery

I’m partial to the ol’ ginger beer and glad to see one on this year’s list, and with figs no less. At 4.5% it’s one of the lighter ABV beers on the list and it might do well to reset the palate after some of the more hop forward offerings.

Dream Date | Burleigh Brewing Co.

Dates. Now that seems like a fruit that would tie in nicely with a dark ale and I wonder that I’ve not seen something similar around before. I hope this is as great as I imagine it to be.


Pepper Steak Porter | Brewcult

The Pepper Steak Porter featured in Ale of a Time’s interview with Steve Henderson. I was not sold on the concept on paper until repetition of the phrase “pepper steak porter” penetrated my skull and I started thinking about it for a few days after. Now I can’t get the idea out of my head.

Sex, Drugs & Rocky Road | Bacchus Brewing

I mentioned this beer during my review of the Yummy Mummy Rocky Road. It’s an imperialised version of a beer that already tastes exactly like rocky road. Can’t wait.

Midnight Cowboy Project | Holgate Brewhouse

One of the best beers out of last year’s GABS was Moon Dog’s Selvmordstokt – a cherry wheat porter. Holgate’s Temptress with sour cherries and Flandrien red characters (sour, oak) will be a winner if they can just move the cherry intensity up a few notches from their Summer Porter.

GABS garry the whiteWhite Coffee Stout | McLaren Vale Beer Co

Last year, one of my favourite GABS beers was Garry the White (see right) from Colonial Brewing Co. It was a stout that looked like Guinness in most respects – except it was white and tasted like white chocolate (but only because it looked white). MVBCo is doing a similar concept but with coffee. As one of the few people who really enjoys a good coffee beer, I’ve got high expectations.

PB | Bootleg Brewery and & J | Thirsty Crow

The concept is that the two beers are flavour like peanut butter and jam (or “jelly”, if you’re American) which, when combined, will taste like a PB&J sandwich. While I’m not an especially big fan of PB&J, I am interested in seeing if the concept works.

If you’re heading to GABS, what are you looking forward to? If not, what’s making you most jealous?


    • I didn’t even think to check the stall line-up. Didn’t see anything that interesting last year. Will have to keep an eye out for WW for sure.

      • You should check the stall line-up. There’s a stupid amount of stuff there. Garage Project alone seem to be bringing over every beer they’ve made.
        The stalls are the reason I’ve opted to go to both sessions on the Friday. I need to try far too many beers for just one session.

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