The spectacular SpecTAPular is back, now with more Shane Warne
What if we were to tell you just past high noon tomorrow, you could casually saunter up to Shane Warne and ask him to pull you a pint? What if we said you could chase that sampler with a paddle of beer ice creams? You'd call us fantasy-filled fools. But it's happening, friends.
Tomorrow marks the beginning of the third annual Great Australasian Beer Spectapular – a three-day festival to finish Good Beer Week off with esoteric beer drinking, beard stroking and rib eating – and this year, arm wrestling.
The country's best brewers have gathered again at the Royal Exhibition Centre to flaunt their best and freakiest brews. They'll be pouring out over 250 beers, around 120 of which were created especially. With no limits on ingredients – from peanut butter and toasted coconut to figs and strawberry jelly – you’ll be sure to find something you like and hate. Which we love.
Warnie's presence is just one of the programming boons for 2014. He's ringing the bell to open the festival at noon and then promoting his first collaborative beer – 99 Not Out pale ale – at the Moa Brewery stand. This year, they've upped the ante in every way. There's a silent disco, giant jenga and table tennis. The Coopers crew will be running a beer school. On the food front, they've brought on board Huxtaburger for bun sustenance, Fancy Hanks for the barbecue and expert fromagerie Milk the Cow for beer-friendly dairy packs. That beer ice cream promise was no lie either. A new liquid nitrogen-fuelled confectioner, Cryo Cremes, is serving five kinds of brew-based frozen treats.
So when to go? There are five sessions in total. History has shown that things get a little looser as the weekend progresses, so if you're just keen for a laff, head in on Sunday when it's all about silly hats and finishing off the kegs – there are also plans for Ben from Bridge Road brewers to take on everyone at arm wrestling. For brew nerds, most of the special events like the tastings of rare beers and brewer panel discussions are happening on Saturday. If you want to tackle the festival like a genius, download the GABS app, which lists all the happenings and lets you rate the best brews.
If you haven't overloaded on hops and malt, GABS is here to finish the job. Get moving.