April 17, 2014 by 250 Beers
I was a little apprehensive when I first heard about Beerfest being held at Eatons Hill Hotel. Sure, I was glowing with joy that something larger than a mere tap take-over was going to happen in my hood – the outer northern suburbs of Brisbane – but I feared that I might drown in varieties of XXXX.
My worst nightmares were quashed after venue manager, Keith Noyes, kindly sent me the list of participating breweries and distributors a few weeks prior. To further ease my fears, he took time out of one of his busy days to show me around the enormous structure that is Eatons Hill Hotel. He came across as a very dedicated bloke that was keen to make things happen. He made sure that I understood that Beerfest was all about the better beer and cider. Any remaining, niggling doubts were firmly put to bed when I arrived an hour after the gates opened to Beerfest last Saturday.
Having parted with a gold coin donation to get in – four two-dollar coins if you must know – it was blatantly obvious that proceedings were already rather busy. As I queued to exchange cash for some beer tokens, I was reliably informed by staff that most beer tents were serving small and large servings that would range from five to eight dollars. It’s always pleasing to encounter knowledgable staff. Whether they’d ever heard of Bacchus Brewing, Fortitude Brewing or Holgate is another matter. I doubt they had but who cares. We were in suburbia and this little beer festival was in full swing.
With at least ninety per cent of tables and chairs already taken, I decided to take a walk around the horse-shoe shaped arena of tents in a clockwise direction. I stopped at the first offering; Stone & Wood’s caravan, Bonnie. I’ve seen a fair bit of ol’ Bon in recent weeks. I’ve leant on her chest-height bar at no less than three events within the past month. I had a quick chat with Hugh and Flynn from Stone & Wood who were a little astounded as to how busy it was. I reckon they thought they were in for a cushy Saturday afternoon. Wrong!
After a quick Pacific Ale, the next stop – and first actual tent – was Bacchus. Ross and Josh Kenrick had eight different beers on tap and could have easily tapped a ninth to pour pure Kenrick perspiration. Hang on. No. Perhaps I shouldn’t have suggested that. Everyone knows that Bacchus are capable of brewing the weird and the wonderful. I’m not convinced that a schooner of sweat-infused ale is for me.
I was on a time-limit due to some evening plans ahead so, after a quick rauchbier from Ross called Smokin’ Mountie (5.4%), I was on my way again. I was keen to navigate my way through as many tents and beers as my limited visit would permit. I also had a shit-load of beer tokens to spend in a short space of time!
After a Bete Noir (5.9%) and a quick chat with Ged and Dan in the Fortitude Brewing tent, I was on the move again.
Thankfully, the bout of rain from the arse-end of tropical cyclone Ita didn’t hit Brisbane until after Beerfest so we all stayed dry. There was a huge marquee in the centre of the arena that wouldn’t have coped with the 2,000+ crowd.
Over the course of the following hour or so, I took in liquid refreshment from the like of: Bridge Road Brewers, Holgate Brewhouse, Green Beacon, Cavalier Brewing, The Australian Brewery (plus more from Bacchus).
As you can probably tell, Keith was dead right – it was all about the better beer. I pray to the beery Gods that Beerfest happens again next year. Craft beer arrived with a Boom! in a small northern Brisbane suburb and I really enjoyed it.
More than 480 bags of ice were used to chill the beer and cider prompting Eatons Hill Hotel to resort to their own in-house ice machines. Most if not all stalls returned ‘home’ with empty kegs which proves just how well the event was received. Furthermore, the food vendors also ran dry by close of play around 9pm. The masses chomped their way through tacos, German sausages, chicken wings and wood-fired pizzas.
A confirmed donation of $5,000 has been made to Cystic Fibrosis Queensland which was a direct result of the gold coin donation entrance ‘fee’.
Good work Keith and the team at Eatons Hill Hotel!
Until next year…