The past weekend saw beer geeks, foodies, bloggers, and…well, just regular people, descend on Albion Park Raceway in Brisbane to enjoy some tasty beers, cool tunes, delicious food, and *sigh* cider, at the Beer InCider Experience. I only made it down for the Saturday session, and it was by all accounts a fantastic event. My opinion may be a little biased though, based on my love of drinking tasty well made beers in the sunshine while snacking on amazing food truck treats – a welcome combination that I feel is lacking in the Brisbane beer scene.
The festival itself was clearly geared towards the beer newbie, with many of the breweries presenting nothing more than their ‘core’ range of beers. I still managed to geek out a few times, like when the MC announced of the tapping Riverside Brewings ‘Othellos Curse’ Black IPA, or when I got to sample the extraordinarily funkayyyyy collaboration between Croft Brewing and Newstead Brewing, ‘Van Gogh’s Ear Lobe’. But what brought the biggest smile to my face throughout the day was seeing people discover beer for the first time, furiously deciphering their personal beer menus to try and figure out what they’d had, what they were going to try next, and how beer can have these amazing array of flavours! More than a few ‘beer epiphanies’ occurred over the weekend, which is a great thing.
There’s only one issue with having such a successful event in it’s first year – you have to make it bigger and better for the next year. So here are a few brilliant suggestions to help the crew out for the 2015 shindig.
- Picnic Blankets: sitting on the grass while enjoying a tasty beer in the sun is one of life’s pleasures. But grass can be dirty and, at times, a little wet. Those in the know brought picnic blankets with them, as the social media campaign had suggested to do. However, there were just as many people sitting directly on the dubious grass, looking longingly at those with blankets and wishing they had one to call their own. An official ‘Beer InCider picnic blanket’ stand would do a roaring trade if they sold/hired picnic blankets to these unfortunate folk (myself included)
- Picnic Baskets: self explanatory. Where there are picnic blankets, picnic baskets shouldn’t be far behind. You could even have people walking around selling them, so that you didn’t need to move to get your delightful cheeses, cured meats and fruit. Genius.
- Beer: What? Beer?? I know, there was plenty of quality beer to be found on the day. But there weren’t all that many brews that got the true craft beer geeks salivating. What if every brewery there, or even just the local crews, brewed a unique beer for the festival? Then we’d have our own little ‘Australasian Beer SpecTapular’ of sorts, allowing me and my kind to stand there quaffing over some barrel-aged-triple-hopped-something-or-other while also gaining a few unique Untappd check ins.
- Beer 101: There were the lunches with Mr Beer himself, Matt Kirkegaard, and that was a great touch. But what if there was also some more casual mini ‘Beer 101’ classes as well? These could be free, and have one of the brewers/reps/bloggers? talking beer basics for the uninitiated, to give them a few more moments of enlightenment as they delve deeper into the world of good beer.
- Burlesque: This is less of a suggestion and more of a gripe, I guess. The burlesque dancers that I saw performing were very talented and entertaining, no denying that. But there was something a little odd about drinking a beer on the grass in the daytime sun while watching a woman dance topless in a peacock outfit. Instead, my call would be to chilled out acoustic tunes throughout the day, followed by a sunset burlesque extravaganza as the night takes over! Then have the ladies perform throughout the evening. Night time is sexy time after all 😉
- EDM: Instead of finishing the day at 10pm, let that be the time that the ‘Beer InCider XPerience‘ kicks off – a mini EDM music festival! Craft beer and trap music, now there’s a combination! It could work!! Seriously!!!
So those are my suggestions on how to make an already awesome event slightly awesome-er. A huge congratulations goes out to Marty and his team for creating such a great festival. On behalf of Brisbane, we thank you for giving us beer in the sun, and can’t wait to do it all again next year!