The Australian leg of the GABS beer festival – described as ‘Disneyland for beer lovers’- lived up to its name during its record-breaking 2019 events.
Debuting with its first-ever Brisbane event, GABS Beer Cider & Food Festival then moved to Melbourne and Sydney, attracting 44,500 attendees, a record for each city and overall attendance.
Crowds ranged from passionate craft beer fans to the ‘beer-curious’, revelling in a celebration of craft beer and cider involving an indoor Ferris wheel, circus acts, beer can shaped piñatas, rib-eating competitions, and of course, the now famous festival wide singalong with GABS ‘house band’ The Ale Capones.
Over the course of the beer festival, attendees were able to sample from up to 170 unique ‘Festival Beers & Ciders’ made for exclusive release at GABS, along with hundreds of core range and limited release brews from many of Australia and New Zealand’s leading breweries and cidermakers.
Presented by RateBeer, the People’s Choice Awards offer attendees the opportunity to vote for their favourite Festival Beer, Cider and Food Vendor at each event. Over the years, many now-iconic beers have started their journey at GABS, with previous People’s Choice winners including Big Shed’s ‘Boozy Fruit’ Hazy IPA, Stockade’s decadent maple stout ‘The Mountie’, La Siréne’s ‘Praline’ Belgian Ale, and Yeastie Boys’ flagship tea-leaf IPA ‘Gunnamatta’.
In 2019, the RateBeer People’s Choice Festival Beer was ‘Grape Bubblegum Sour’ from the Gold Coast’s Currumbin Valley Brewing. The 5% ABV Berliner Weisse style beer, which poured a deep purple colour, was inspired by Hubba Bubba’s Groovy Grape-flavoured bubblegum, described as ‘the taste of your chewy childhood’.
Brewery co-founders Luke Ronalds and Peter Wheldon were thrilled with the public response to the beer and the recognition of the award, particularly considering they had only started brewing on their own equipment in October last year. They are currently brewing another batch to be released online via their website.
RateBeer People’s Choice Festival Cider went, for the second year running, to Tasmania’s Devils Brewery with their ‘Grandma’s Apple & Rhubarb Crumble’ made with fresh Tasmanian rhubarb and freeze distilled, continuing on the theme of 2018 winner ‘Grandma’s Jam Cider’.
RateBeer Brand Manager Tiffany Waldron said: “Given that this was the first beer to sell out at GABS Brisbane, and had been a top trending beer on RateBeer throughout the festivals, it comes as no surprise. Massive credit to the guys at Currumbin – up against some awesome, weird and wonderful beers from the top brewers around Australia – and it’s got an overall score of 98 on RateBeer!”
GABS also proudly announced that Yenda’s Ferris Wheel of Beer raised $20,000 for Fight MND. In four years, people riding on the Ferris Wheel have helped raise a total of $65,000 for the charity.
GABS now heads overseas for its final event in Auckland on Saturday, June 29. Tickets to the beer festival are still available at www.gabsfestival.com.
GABS BY THE NUMBERS
- 44,500 attendees across Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney
- Overall attendance beat the previous record by 32%
- Almost 7000 attendees at a sellout Session 1 at GABS Sydney, making this the largest single GABS session in history
- 840 different beers, ciders, wines and spirits on offer across all events
- 312,000 individual tasters poured across all events (2 per second)
- 22 litres of beer and cider served per minute