Enjoy a range of craft beers, gourmet food and Australian musicians at Ballarat's City Oval. As the festival is held over just one day, the 21st of January, it's set to be a busy day of tastings and enjoying the entertainment on offer.
The Ballarat Beer Festival promises plenty of beer and wine tastings, served with the relaxing sounds of local musicians.
Each boutique beer comes from a microbrewery in Victoria, giving you the chance to taste something different from the usual well-known brands. Twenty-one microbreweries are participating in the festival, offering tastings and selling some of their best. Be careful not to go overboard with tastings, as anyone who gets too drunk will be asked to leave.
Despite the name, there is more than just beer at the Beer Festival. You can also sample local wines and even non-alcoholic beverages. The food stalls dotted around the oval will provide you with local cuisine to sustain your beer tasting.
A token system is in place for the beer and wine tastings. Tokens, which are bought at the festival for $1.50 each, are exchanged for beverages of your choice. One token entitles you to 100mL of beer, two tokens can be traded for water, soft drink, 200mL of beer or 100mL of wine, or four tokens can be exchanged for 200mL of wine.
There are plenty of music acts to enjoy throughout the day, with the festival being headlined by Melburnian songbird Clare Bowditch. She will be playing songs from her most recent album, Modern Day Addiction, which was released in 2010. Also playing are psychadelic rock band Stonefield and music festival stalwart Jordie Lane. The festival's MCs are comedians Charlie Pickering and Danny McGinlay, along with Kirrily Waldhorn, Australia's resident beer expert.
The Ballarat Beer Festival has an educational aspect too- learn about the origins and making of beer from the University of Ballarat. With a tradition of offering brewing courses in a town whose history is intertwined with beer production, they are well poised to inform you of the science behind your drinks.
Children are welcome to attend the festival and there's a plethora of entertainment for the kids available, including a jumping castle, face painting and a magic show. Balloonists and stilt walkers will also be wandering around the oval.
An adult ticket to the festival costs $35, or pay $47.50 to get five tasting vouchers and your own tasting glass. A family ticket of two adults and two children is $90. Admission for children twelve years and over is $15, and kids under twelve get in free. Of course, you can't let your littlies run wild amongst all that alcohol, as those under eighteen are required to be supervised at all times. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketek.
The Ballarat Beer Festival is set to be an annual event, with 2012 being the inaugral year, so there's something to look forward to if you miss it this year.