The city of Melbourne is renowned for our alcohol-abundant culture, which makes the festival Good Beer Week so efficacious. This festival has cemented Melbourne as the beeriest city in Australia as it is a celebration of craft beer in all its deliciousness. However, it is not exclusive to Melbourne as the idea has now overflowed across Australia, inspiring Beer Weeks in Queensland, New South Wales, Canberra, Adelaide, and Tasmania. Good Beer Week involves partying and eating and drinking and dancing and everything else that's good in the world, all in the name of beer. More than that though, it's recognition of the love and hard work that Australian breweries implement in their beer making.
I was lucky enough to be invited to the Matilda Bay Brewery in Port Melbourne to celebrate both Good Beer Week and the brewery's 30th anniversary. Matilda Bay began in 1984 as Australia's first craft brewery and appropriately, this party commemorated that year with fluoro stockings, mullets, and classic 80s hits. Nostalgically appropriate finger-food floated frequently around the venue, such as vol-au-vent, barbequed shrimp, and Redbacks crowned with lemon. The food complemented the diverse range of Matilda Bay's beers: Fat Yak, I.G.P. Cloudy (Itchy Green Pants), Dogbolter, Bohemian Pilsner, Ruby Tuesday, Alpha Pale Ale, and the high-alcohol-percentaged Abbey Collaby (I managed to quickly jot these down before my memory became too hazy, thanks Abbey Collaby). The brewery restructured itself for this special event with two enlarged sections that catered for our partying needs: a dance floor and a bar. However, my favourite feature of the night was the novelty arcade table – a marriage between retro and modernity, a perfect embodiment of the night's theme.
This brewery in Port Melbourne fits approximately 180 people and has a wonderfully rustic warehouse vibe. When it isn't functioning as an 80s nostalgia event, Matilda Bay Brewery is a bar, a restaurant, and holds tours. I can't think of a better way to celebrate Good Beer Week than in amongst 30 years of the beer mastery at Matilda Bay Brewery.