Sydney’s north shore tends to be a bit of an outpost when it comes to good beer, unless you’re willing to tramp across to the Manly peninsula where breweries are thriving. So it’s a fantastic feeling when events such as The Willoughby Craft Beer Fair, which I attended today, are on. It was also a reminder that the beer festival season was beginning in earnest, with a variety scheduled around our fair land over the next few months.
The street was closed, with brewery tents lined up along the one side, and food tents on the other. The brewery selection wasn’t massive compared to other beer festivals, certainly lacking the representation of some of the more popular Sydney breweries, perhaps owing to the fact that there was another festival on the previous day (and perhaps the mental barrier for the inner west breweries of having to get “over the bridge”. And perhaps they were hungover). But the good beer was flowing nonetheless, with a number tickling my fancy – Mountain Goat’s Seven Seeds, Modus Operandi’s ever-reliable Former Tenant, and Yenda’s Chocolate Vanilla Stout my pick of the bunch. The sun was shining, there was various live music performances, and, being their fourth year, the beer festival machine was fairly slick and it ran well, all of which added up to it being a fantastic day and well run event.
And it was a fantastic way to kick off the festival season – beers in the sunshine are a great thing at the best of times. But with the simple words “it’s only just the start of Spring”, I was reminded by my house mate of the promise of the next few months ahead. For this is beer season in Australia. Winter, whilst great with all its big, dark beers seems to have passed (though I expect a couple more cold days and nights to us of what has been), and we can launch head long into the summer with a great sense of expectation. Because Australia’s climate is made for good, cold beers in the warm weather, and with a predicted El Nino event in waiting, it looks like being a great beer drinking season, if not so much for our farmers.