Throughout its decade-long history, GABS Festival has been responsible (albeit indirectly) for some of the country’s most creative and interesting craft beers. And with 120 brand new brews set to be unveiled when the festival kicks off later this month, it’s clear this year will be no different.
GABS – the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular, for those playing at home – will begin its whirlwind three-city tour in Melbourne this May, before heading up north to Brisbane via Sydney in June. Alongside food stalls, panel discussions and a range of beer-themed entertainment (Mountain Goat Air Guitar Championship, anyone?), there’ll be 1200 fresh kegs pouring a staggering assortment of stouts, sours, lagers, ales and more.
Blackman's Brewery will be showcasing their Red frog and raspberry dark lager at this year's event.Here are five weird and wonderful beers to try at this year’s GABS Festival.
Red frog and raspberry dark lager (ABV 5%)
A dark lager made with copious amounts of red frogs and fresh raspberries. Bags and bags of red frogs have been thrown into the fermenter along with a large number of fresh raspberries. The result is a crisp, easy drinking beer with a fruity, choc-berry explosion of red frogs.
Brewer Renn Blackman says: “The red frog beer was inspired by a love of the red frog! As well as nostalgic childhood memories of munching down red frogs at the General Store after school. They are just so good! And I’ve always thought they would work so well in a dark beer. The red frog flavour suits a dark lager, as there are chocolatey notes in the beer. The raspberry and frog notes complement and balance the dark flavours perfectly.”
Pizza gose (ABV 4.2%)
This sour ‘pizza’ beer is flavoured with tomato, oregano, basil and salt.
Brewers Eddie and Charlotte say: "The pizza beer is a deconstruction of the margarita pizza, using core ingredients dough, tomato sauce, oregano, basil, salt and cheese. The malt of the beer resembles the pizza dough, tomato, oregano and basil for the sauce, and the yeast for the cheese. The salt is the ingredient that balances them all out. We chose a sour-style beer to balance the beer with the sweetness of the malt and the savoury flavour that we wanted to achieve. People should expect a sessionable beer that tastes and smells like pizza."
Molecular bubble tea IPA (ABV 6.2%)
A decadent milkshake IPA brewed with purple taro, milk sugar, brown sugar, tapioca, wheat and oats.
The Zythologist brewing team say: "Rich purple in colour, this IPA has a smooth and creamy mouthfeel with an intricate bouquet of aroma that jumps out of the glass. Passionfruit and citrus upfront, followed by subtle floral and earthy notes from taro root and a heavy hop charge. Sweetness from brown sugar and tapioca round up the back of the palate with a hint of lingering bitterness. The beer will be served with brown sugar popping boba which will be prepared fresh on-site using spherification (molecular gastronomy) and lacing of brown sugar syrup. All complete with a straw for a unique beer drinking experience."
The Zythologist Molecular bubble tea IPA.
Cherry-fruited braggot (ABV 6.5%)
A blend of a heavily cherry-fruited saison and a braggot brewed with local honey. Luscious and sweet with a dry finish, aromatic cherry and honey flavours and an unmistakable saison spice.
Mike Basset from Coldstream Brewery says: “The beer we have brewed is an ode to the Yarra Valley, our home. A place full of top notch ingredients and producers. Our Cherry Fruited Braggot is a luscious, sweet beer with a dry finish. Aromatic cherry and honey flavours will be followed by an unmistakable Saison spice. We have teamed up with two local businesses for our key ingredients. The honey is a Eucalyptus variety from Seville, by Bens Bees. The cherries are from Coldstream icons Cherry Hill Orchards.”
Biscoff Ice Cream Porter (ABV 8%)
Rich and slick with a smooth vanilla aroma, perfectly paired with brown-sugar sweetness and savoury notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
Richard Clarke says: "Creativity is at the core of Aether – we don’t follow the trends, we make beer we think is exceptional and hope the good folk of Australia do too. We insist on making beers that stand up on their own, though we appreciate the theatre of GABS, so for those who want an experience, we're serving the Biscoff Ice Cream Porter over ice cream - to bring back the nostalgia of the 'Spider' drink of our youths. With its high ABV (8%), full body and rich Biscoff and creamy vanilla notes, it's pure decadence."
Aether Brewing have created the Biscoff Ice Cream Porter.
Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton
Fri 19– 21 May 2023
ICC, Darling Harbour
Fri 2– 3 June 2023
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, South Bank
Sat 10 June 2023