I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
World Class Tasting Experience
One of the best beer and cider festivals in the world the GABS Beer, Cider and Food Fest is returning to Melbourne from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th May at the Royal Exhibition Building.
Just like some of Melbourne's trendier watering holes the GABS Fest will feature 'container bars'.
Run over 5 sessions, 2 on Friday & Saturday and 1 on Sunday, the event will showcase more than 170 craft beers.
Using the Festivals Official Guide or the GABS App, visitors will be able to determine which of the beers best suits their palate using 'traffic light indicators' denoting Easier Drinking, Stepping Up or Adventurous.
You'll then create a tasting paddle with five 85ml samples. A paddle costs $11.50 or the individual 85ml tasters can be purchased separately for $2.50 each.
When you know what you want, write down on the paddle with the chalk provided the numbers corresponding to your choice of beer and/or cider and take it to one of the container bars where a bartender will pour it for you.
You can have your Souvenir Festival Glass filled with 285ml of beer or cider from just $6.
This years GABS Fest will be a cashless event with PayPal or PayPass transactions making life so much simpler.
There'll be plenty of free water on hand to ensure guests remain hydrated and there'll be soft drinks available from a number of Festival Street Food vendors. You might also like to head to the Milawa Cheese & Prosecco Bar, which will also serve a range of great Brown Brothers wines.
GABS Beer, Cider and Food Fest is a cashless event. They've even done away with tokens and wristbands to introduce PayWave readers at every container bar, brewery stand, food vendor and merchandise stall. No more topping up currency or claiming rewards after the event – just be sure to bring your PayWave or PayPass card or appropriate devices.
There'll be live entertainment and a host of other events to complement the huge range of beer and cider on show.
Single-session tickets cost $40 each, concessions for groups of 5 to 9 people cost $35 each and for groups of 10 $30 each. A Season Pass allowing access to all 5 sessions costs $95.
All tickets include a souvenir GABS Festival Glass, a 64-page Official Guide, free entry to the Ariston Food & Drink Experience and Brick Lane Brewing Co Craft College sessions, Silent Disco, Holey Moley Golf Club, live entertainment and exclusive access to 170 Festival Beers & Ciders.
Five sessions at the GABS Beer, Cider and Food Fest will feature more than 170 craft beers and some great street food.
Limited tickets MAY be available at the door if not sold out earlier, but it is recommended you get in early to avoid disappointment.
Session times are Session 1 Friday 11.30 AM to 4.30 PM, Session 2 Friday 6.30 PM to 11.30 PM, Session 3 Saturday 11.30 AM to 4.30 PM, Session 4 Saturday 6.30 PM to 11.30 PM and Session 5, Silly Hat Sunday, from 11.30 AM to 4.30 PM.
The full program is way too detailed to present in full here, so head to the website www.gabsfestival.com for full details, terms & conditions and to buy your tickets online.
The GABS Beer, Cider and Food Fest is a world-class event and something not to be missed.
And remember, drink responsibility and leave the car at home. The Festival website has comprehensive details of the full range of public transport options servicing the event.
Make sure you make it to the GABS Beer, Cider and Food Fest at the Royal Exhibition Building from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th May.