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Bitter and Twisted International Boutique Beer Festival

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by Annette Ramsland (subscribe)
A freelance writer living with my family in glorious Newcastle. I love up-cycling, re-cycling and if I'm desperate, bi-cycling.
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Spend an awesome weekend behind bars
There's nothing like putting a bit of the weird and wonderful back into our lives and here in the Hunter we are pretty darn good at it. The Bitter and Twisted Boutique Beer Festival at Maitland Gaol is a case in point with the chance to mellow out in front of some live music while you sip some new beers or wine. Not to mention that there will be a bounty of international cuisine options at everyone's budget. The day will be a time to tantalise your taste buds and chelax ... all within the safety of razor wire.

The fun of this Festival is that organisers like to err on the side of interesting and opt for some left of centre, family friendly entertainment and good times. Kids under 14 are free, kids 15-17 need to purchase a youth ticket but all are very welcome as the two days are like a relaxed day in the... well... gaol. Sunday is family day with face painting, kids activities and entertainment. Just note that children need to be accompanied by an adult at all times and are not permitted into the VIP area, the Beer and Food Matching Lunch or Bavarian Beer Breakfast area.

Bitter and Twisted Beer Festival
Become a beer taster for real

Tasting the bevvy of boutique beers available is quite simple with tokens for $1 (sold in $5 lots) which are available for use throughout the day. 1 token gets you a 100ml taste. Wine is available for tasting too if the amber liquid is not to your liking. Although if you ever fancied getting a liking to the stuff, this is your opportunity with a heady lineup of beer contenders to try.

Bitter and Twisted Beer Festival
Last year went off - great lineup this year

The music this year sets a high bar (pardon the pun) for food and beverage festivals. Saturday artists include Lanie Lane bringing some rockabilly magic, Quarry Mountain Dead Rats proving yet again there's not enough washboards in contemporary music these days, Bakoomba (afro-beats... can you ever have enough?), Richard Perso (didgerdoo legend) and De'May (Newcastle indie folk rising star) will all delight the ear drums as the taste buds get tickled. Sunday brings another awesome lineup with The Preatures - so cool, so funky, Amy Vee will be so amazing to relax and drink beer to. Twin Beasts will liven things up (in an awesome way) and so will Sticky Fingers - a definite highlight of the festival.

Tickets for the whole festival range from $25 for Basic Entry to $135 for VIP tickets on Saturday.

If you are going to enjoy a few beers or wine, perhaps catching the train to East Maitland is a good idea. The train station is 200m from the Gaol.
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Why? It's a great day out filled with food, wine and boutique beers to try
When: 10am-6pm Saturday, 10am-4pm Sunday
Where: Maitland Gaol
Cost: Different tickets available from $25-$135 with food & beverage inclusions
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