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Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular

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Econwatson

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Hi guys,
I saw this advertised and was wondering what people thought of it, since I heard a few people on here like beer.
The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular
http://gabsfestival.com.au/

The site boasts 60 different brewing stalls and 250 different types of beer.

$39 to get in on Saturday and Sunday and $30 for the unemployed (or those who don't work) on Friday.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow.

Have any of you guys gone in the past? What was it like? A guy said on another forum:

The $30 only gets you admission an a few samples (I think) and you have to pay a pretty hefty price for any samples after that.


I have friends that went thinking they'd be in Wonka's Craft Beer Paradise and who came home poor and relatively sober.
So I'm undecided!

Anyway, just thought I would share :)
 

bum

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I remember reading tonnes of feedback from lasts year's event around the board at the time. Have a look-see.

As for the quote, I don't think events like this are best seen from a bang-for-buck perspective. There are few events in this country where you get such a wide range of breweries and brews all in one place. You either want to try the beers or you don't, you know? Those blokes might have been better off at home with a couple boxes of something, IMO.
 

GalBrew

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If you went GA last year I think it was pretty tough going, with lines up to an hour to get a tasting paddle of beers. This was due to the way the bars were set up, all concentrated in 4 giant shipping container keggerator areas, it was NEVER going to work well that way. I went VIP, no lines and it was an amazing experience. It was Wonka's craft beer paradise and I did NOT go home with an empty belly. That being said there are no VIP tickets this year, but apparently the bar setup has changed to be more efficient, but more importantly there are individual brewer stalls, separate from then main shipping container bar areas, which will work far better in dispersing the crowds (as worked very well at the GABF in Geelong). So on the back of that I will be going again, confident that the more stalls at the venue the shorter the lines should be......in theory.
 

DUANNE

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after going last year i will not be going again. after 40 bucks to get in and then paying a stupid price for samples that you line up for hours to get its not worth it. the attraction of the one off special beers is what got me in last year but after seeing nearly all being given a general release through the year at reasonable prices at most regular craft beer venues i cant see any value in going at all.
 

Edak

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I really enjoyed myself last year, when I went it was a miserable day outside and there were very few people there, perhaps it was the friday? I waited a combined total of about 5 minutes and had about 6 paddles, so almost no wait at all. The food was not too bad either. I don't remember seeing many (if any) of the special brews anywhere else since May, perhaps I must be going to the wrong places..... I used my spare tokens to buy a couple of the beer glasses, still like drinking from them.
 

doon

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I went on the sunday and it was great no lineup at all.
 

DarkFaerytale

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i went on saturday arvo, the busiest day, i didn't find it that bad, people just like to whinge, get in early for a short line to the bar then sit back and relax with a few paddles

i already have tickets to the next one.
 

mikec

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Oh, it's in Melbourne.

Carry on.
 

Econwatson

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Apologies, I should have said!

Maybe I will go. As a Brit, queuing is part of my culture and something I embrace, so not too worried about that!

Going by the prices it definitely isn't a place to go and get rinsed, but that's not the idea I suppose. It would be a great opportunity to try out a lot of new beers at once! :)
 

doon

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I spent under 100 with food and came out pretty damn happy. Remember alot of the beers there are on strong side
 

Danwood

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Very good event last year. I went Saturday arvo too...started getting busy around an hour after the doors opened.

The trick was to get your beers and table early, and team work helps a lot too (saving seats, paddle carrying etc).

As per mine and many other peoples suggestions last year, there MUST be a fast track for people who only want the supplied tankard fills. The tasting paddle glasses take forever to get served and holds others up unneccessarily.

But, on the whole, very good !
 

Wolfy

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I was there each day last year - some days were very quiet no queues at all, others people were literally queuing out the door.
Was not cheap, having to pay entry and then more if you wanted more beers than those that were supplied.
However, there was also a wide range of interesting beer on offer - some really good - some (IMHO) not so good.
If you've got the time and $'s its well worth visiting - just try to come on one of the days that will not be too busy, else you'll spend most of the time in a queue.
 

GalBrew

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That's hardcore Wolfy. How did you manage to convince SWMBO to let you do that???
 

bconnery

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If you are interested in going I'd suggest two things.
1. Do.
I went last year and it was an awesome event with so many great beers on offer that are done just for the event.(although you did see some of them around the traps later). If people went home sober then I don't know where they were because it can't have been the same event I was at. THe queues were a bit crazy at the beginning of the sessions yes, and on the first night especially, but they sorted the working a little and after the initial rush there was never that long a wait to get a beer. I always just loaded up with 2 paddles and a full beer on the first run while the queues died down...
Considering they'd never held an event of that size in that place I thought it was pretty well done. I've seen a lot of beer festivals just repeat mistakes rather than adapt and learn from them.
2. Consider volunteering if you can. I did so and it was great to be behind the scenes at such an event, plus you get a free entry for each session you volunteer for, and a little something for a meal on the day. They need all sorts, not just servers and rsa people. I have no such skills but there was plenty to do.
 

mattric

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I went everyday last year and had a VIP ticket for the Saterday in which I was thankful for.
Friday was empty and there was zero queues, Saterday was insane and as I had VIP tickets I was the beer runner for my friends as the VIP has zero queues.

Sunday was busy but not insane.

Last year had 60 beers with some only available for the event such as the True South Coconut porter which was fantastic while some other beers really weren't fantastic at all. Luckily my liver was able to survive them all however this year is going to have 120 festival beers and a pile of other regular beers so if you do intend on going, list you fav breweries so you get to try what you like.

There is also a $65 season pass for this year which gets you into all 5 sessons.
 

DarkFaerytale

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hope they do the season pass again next year, i might stay in the city for the weekend
 

Wolfy

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GalBrew said:
That's hardcore Wolfy. How did you manage to convince SWMBO to let you do that???
Volunteered on Friday/Saturday, and went as a punter (free sessions for volunteering) on Sat Night/Sunday. ;)
 

oztapguy

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Hey all,

Thanks for posting all these comments. I'm happy to say that I think we've addressed all the issues (and more) brought up here!

Last year we tried to design a unique bar system where you could get samples of any of the 60 beers at once. It worked most of the time but during periods of the busiest two sessions, however, the queues were unacceptably long. Lesson learnt. We have worked very hard to fix this and have completely re-designed the Container Bars. We also will have dozens of brewery stalls in the new 'Beer Market' which will sell their core beers in samples or glass fills.

Session 1 (Friday afternoon) is again expected to be the quietest which is intentional as it gives us an opportunity to iron out the kinks before the busier sessions, For the budget conscious, tickets for Session 1 are about 30% cheaper and the new Season Passes (access to all sessions) are selling extremely well. We will now only have one keg of each festival beer per session so some will run out during some sessions.

As you will have seen on our website, we already have more than 80 incredible breweries from around Australia, NZ and even further afield who are brewing a brand new 'festival beer' just for the event. We hope to have closer to 100 by the time we're done. We're also working with all the breweries so that this year we can have just one price point (probably $6) for all festival beers. Samples will still be $2.

I am pretty sure only about 7 or so beers of the 60 last year were brewed again by the breweries and that was because the breweries were very pleased with the response. They are still occasionally seen in specialist beer bars and shops.

If you have any other feedback, post them here or email me - steve@thelocal.com.au. We're doing all we can to make GABS one of the leading beer festivals so constructive comments are always welcome!

Cheers and hope to see you there.

Steve (Festival Co-Director)
 

aaronpetersen

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Did anyone go to the Friday evening session last year? If so, how busy was it?
I went to the Friday arvo session last year and it was wonderfully quiet. I may not be able to attend that session this year so was wondering if the Friday evening session is likely to be very busy.
 

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