Warming up in Melbourne During July

Half way through the year already and the Middle of Winter but Melbourne is still going strong. Not only is it the best time of year for oysters but it’s also truffle season (if you’re a bit of truffle novice, here’s a good place to start). The weather is perfect for pub meals by the fire, roasts and red wine, all things I adore.

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This month kicks off with 4th of July festivities showcasing an absolute stunning array of beer, whisky and cocktails, starting from the 2nd and going all through the week, it will be a great chance to try something new over a few hamburger and wings, perfect for this weather, no?

Bastille

Keeping to the red, white and blue theme, July is also Bastille Day on 14th July, a day for all the Francophiles and lovers of French food and wine. Melbourne being the lovely beast that she is, is blessed with some truly magnificent French restaurants who are pulling out all the stops to make the day sparkle with  joie de vie.

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The weekend of the 16th and 17th July is given over to the Australian Drinks Festival. Your ticket gives you access to pop up bars, tastings and masterclasses with some of Australia’s foremost experts on spirits, wines and beers. You can also get tickets which allow you to distill your own gin, have a tipsy afternoon tea

The Food Truck Park are heating things up this Winter with a Bollywood themed food truck festival running from 22nd July-24th July. They will be bringing the colour and glam of Bollywood to Preston with dancers, Indian music and classic bollywood flicks playing all weekend on the big screen.

All this cold weather and heavy food can make you feel a little lethargic and out of shape so why not shake it off at a midwinter dance, 30th July in Brunswick East? Money raised from ticket sales goes towards raising literacy levels in our youth. There will be food and drinks for sale on the night including pies from Boscastle and  beers from Temple Brewing who have kindly sponsored the evening.

If you think that 6 months is far too long to wait until Christmas or maybe your one of those who have always felt that a hot Christmas day just isn’t right? Why not grab some mates and book into one of the many Christmas in July being hosted around town. Check out a few of them here.

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Photo via Bendigo on the Hop

Just putting this here, Bendigo on the Hop is on once again. Yes it is in August (20th August to be exact) but I didn’t want you all to miss out. I made the trek last year and it was so much fun. You can take the Vline up and stay over night, I stayed at The Schaller Studio which is so lovely (bike hire and umbrellas for you to use as you wish as well as free wifi which is as rare as hens teeth in Australian hotels) and made a weekend of it. Bendigo is such a gorgeous place and this event gives you a chance to wander your way around while sampling some fabulous beers. I had such a great time, I am doing it all over again this year.

 

 

June in Melbourne – Whisky, Wine, World Gin Day and Winter

So I am a little late for my June wrap up of happenings and events? Alas I was bought asunder by the shenanigans of Good Beer Week but am now ready to get back on the horse so to speak which is lucky as there are so many things happening this month, most of which are winter friendly.

Negroni

Starting from the 6th June to the 12th June is Negroni Week, a week started back in 2013 as a way for people to enjoy their favourite cocktail but also to give back to the community. Each bar chooses a charity of their choice and donates a dollar for every Negroni sold. Last year they managed to raise over $320,000 for charities around the world. As well as straight out Negronis, 1806 and Nieuw Amsterdam are hosting classes on how to make your own perfect Negroni. Find your nearest bar and their charity on Negroni Week’s online map, drink up and do some good.

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On the 11th of June, we all get together to celebrate World Gin Day, another one of my favourite days of the year. a day where bars and distillers get together to put on gin events for the people of Melbourne and it’s surrounds. Some of my picks of the day and where I am going to try to get myself to are Four Pillars who are serving pulled ‘Four Pillars’ pork rolls by Burn City Smokers as well as releasing their Bloody Shiraz Gin at their Healesville Distillery. The Gin Palace are hosting a Lunch with West Winds Gin and a High Tea with Four Pillars. Craft and Co are Hosting their first World Gin Day event, releasing their first gin to the public. MGC are hooking up with Bad Frankie for a masterclass on Botanical. Bass and Flinders are showing off their gins by the banks of the Yarra at Pilgrim bar.

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If Gin isn’t your thing or if, like me, you’re not adverse to variety, Hawkers Beer are wisely launching their Imperial Stout on the 9th of June. No matter if you drink it, make a casserole with it or bake a cake with it (seriously, chocolate stout cake is the bomb!) stout is the perfect beer for this weather and if Hawkers Stout is anything like their other beers, this one will be a winner. See it launched at The Terminus in Fitzroy North, The Local Taphouse in St Kilda and Carwyn Cellars in Thornbury.

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June is also when Wine is Coming with Game of Rhones hitting Melbourne on the 18th June at Meat Market in North Melbourne. Celebrating the grape varieties from the Rhone Valley, as well as beer, cider and food for you to buy on site. Dress code is casual but don’t be surprised if you glimpse a few Westeros cos players in the crowd.

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Whisky is getting it’s fair share of a attention this month with Whisky and Alement announcing a fantastic limited addition Japanese Whisky Masterclass on the 26th June, The Nobel Experiment are celebrating women in whisky with a masterclass hosted by Laura Hay from William Grant and Sons on the 29th June and Boilermarker House not only have a tasting of Speyside whiskies on the 28th June but are celebrating their First Birthday as well with $5 shots of Jameson and boilermaker specials featuring the Newstead Brewing Co. X Boilermaker House Rivet Red Ale (with a public holiday the day after this, oh yeah, I’m there).

For more events including dinners, masterclasses, tastings and more, head to my events calendar as there are some very swish events with pork, pinot and other winter delights with more to come.

My Pick of the Best Free Entry Events During Good Beer Week

Good Beer Week is on again from May 13th – 22nd. And while I always will be a big fan of the ticketed event (check out the events calendar for more of these), there are plenty of things on which will cost you  absolutely zero to get into. You can meet the brewers try some amazing snacks and learn a few things without having to book. To help you shuffle through them all (yes, there are THAT many) I thought I’d run through some of my favourite free to attend events that I am hoping to drop into. Hope to see you there!

Beer gobletWe couldn’t start this list without starting with the first event of the week, The Good Beer Week Opening Party! Held at the Festival Hub which is Beer Deluxe on 13th May, there will be live music, a host of brewers, both local and international as well a special tasting paddle of the Festival Beers.

Colonial Brewing Co have moved into a new place in Port Melbourne and are using Good Beer Week as an excuse to throw a house-warming party. They are opening their doors on the 14th May, putting on some tunes as well as some Spanish cuisine from the Robert Burns Hotel as well as the world-famous $4 pizzas from Lucky Coq & Bimbo Deluxe. There will be heaps of games and activities for everyone as well as live street art from Mitch Walder, can’t wait to see the new place!

My old Local, The Grape and Grain are hosting a bunch of brewers from south of the Yarra on Sunday 15th May. meet the brewers from Bad Shepherd, Dainton, Kaiju, Exit, Riders and Wolf of the Willows and join them to chat about their beers and b the first to taste the fruits of their one off collaboration brew. Quality beers with quality people in one of the best beer shops in town.

The Local Tap House have invited  over New Zealand’s Garage Project for a fun Monday night speakeasy soiree. Boilermakers and beer cocktails will be the star attractions with Garage Project’s co-owner and Head Brewer, Pete Gillespie,  getting among the straining and stirring.

Also on the Monday and also cocktail focused (what can I say? I like to mix my drinks) is the craft beer based industry cocktail competition where with the only rule being the cocktail must contain some form of beer or hops hosted by Monkey King Bar and Dainton Family Brewery and judged by some of the industry’s leading cocktail bartenders and Dan Dainton. This is a great chance to watch some of the finest cocktail slingers in Melbourne fight for a chance to be crowned King or Queen of the Hoptail.

I’m very much looking forward to spending some of my beer week time at Two Row this year, the headquarters for the Pink Boots Brewers. Taps will rotate all week long with different beers made by women from all over Australia and the world There will be an opportunity every day to learn more about beer from the women who work in it with free educational and tasting seminars at 5:30pm.

A Bar Above in Richmond are hosting the team behind some of Australia’s best craft beer brands on their rooftop across Good Beer Week.  They will also have a food and booze special, with your choice of Buffalo wings or pork ribs as well as a schooner or bottle of the host’s finest brew for only $15. Check out their schedule and reserve your spot here.

Dr Morse in Abbotsford is putting on 4 fabulous free entry events starting with Californian Beers on the 15th, a Two Birds/Newstead collaboration launch on the 17th, Italian sours on the 18th and Japanese Beers and BBQ on the 19th. Expand you beer horizons with some limited edition beers served up with some great food.

Abbycollaby is 6 years old now, the traditional collaboration between the Abbotsford breweries, Moondog, CUB & Mountain Goat, raises money for Collingwood Children’s Farm and is launched on the Wednesday of Good Beer Week. Make a night of it by calling into the Royston Hotel on the corner for their Feral Vs Nail 10 tap combat where to of W.A’s finest put it all the line to see who comes out on top. Finish it off with a short walk down the road to see Slow Beer and indulge in some beers, boilermakers and  picklebacks.

One of my favourite parts of Good Beer Week is the chance to learn more about it from some of the industries best. Y & J is on board with this by hosting Beer School, a week of classes, talks and activities around beer. With the help from special guest stars from Australia’s top breweries, they will present a series of hour long sessions looking at the basics of beer. Sample beers while learning what makes them so tasty. Running from 2pm each day from Monday to Thursday, they are free for all.

I could not finish this post without talking about some of the great tap takeovers that will be happening around town. Some will be lasting all week like Exits takeover of Slow Beer with 4 one off releases, An Irish Craft Beer tap takeover at The Fifth Province in St Kilda, an all Northern tap takeover at The Stolberg with the guys from Hawkers, Kooinda, and 3 Ravens  as well as the ever brilliant PoO venues (thats Pint of Origin if your wondering). I always try to drop in to a few of these as it’s where you get to see the progression of a brewery as the chance to see a whole bunch of their beers in one spot tells you a story of where they are and where they are going.

Happy Good Beer Week all, let me know if I have missed your favourite out and I’ll add it to the list.

Whats on in May

So it’s been a while since I did this but as there is so much happening at the moment, I thought it was time to let you in on some of the cool stuff on this month.

Meat, Fish, Wine are throwing a Pinot Festival and you’re all invited, “Around The World in 80 Pinots in 80 Days” runs for the entire month of May and beyond, showcasing the amazing Pinot wines from Australia as well as a host of old and new world Pinots – Grand Crus from Burgundy, Pinot Noir from Oregon – all sure to delight the palate of the most discerning Pinot drinker. For just $80, you can buy yourself a passport that allows you to try as little or as much pinot as you like over 80 days – or just May 2nd – 31st if you prefer. Check out this link for more details.

Moving on to Tusk Day, the day when Feral Brewery load up a cold truck with fresh Imperial IPA and ship it across to the eastern states from W.A. It is a chance to taste this fine brew as it was intended to be drank…Fresh. This year, Tusk Day falls upon the 3rd May and is being held at 4 venues across Melbourne. The Royston, The Local TaphouseBoilermaker House and Terminus Hotel. Get in quick, there’s just one keg per venue.

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Cinco De Mayo is happening on the 5th May, and to celebrate, Tromba Tequila are matching up with Mesa Verde and Mi Corazon to bring a bit of Mexico to you. There will be plenty of tasty food and plenty of tequila along with music and mucho specials! Check the links for information.

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Also in May is Mother’s Day, the day where Mum’s get to sit back and relax while everyone else runs after them for once. If you’re looking for somewhere to take Mum but are out of ideas, look no further.  Here is a whole page of great places to take your Mum including high teas, lunches and cocktail afternoons.

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Speaking of Mother’s day, I have been dropping some massive hints all over the place for tickets to one of the 270+ Good Beer Week events. Good Beer Week runs from 13th May- 22nd May and it has something for everyone from the beer novice to the hardcore beer nerd and everyone in between. For more details on whats on, check out their guide here as well as in the events calendar for May.Euro v

One of the best things in May, is of course, Eurovision! To those of you who have played along for years before Australia got involved, I salute you (still miss you Terry Wogan). For all the new comers, welcome! If you’re looking for a crowd to share your Eurovision drinking games with (yes, this is a thing) may I suggest the Woolshed or Bella Union for your festivities? Join Woolshed for a night of laughs fun and Eurovision camp, be sure todress to impress in your favourite Euro creation, amazing prizes for best dressed. Where as Bella Union are breaking out the cocktail shakers and firing up the Big-Screen Bellavision Machine for three nights of slightly-delayed-simulcast harmonic wonderment. There’ll be in-house voting slips, classic Eurovision clips and even the occasional special guest live performance

Waitangi Day in Melbourne, 6th February

Australia Day has been and gone, leaving a lot of us feeling bereft without a decent reason to drink until St Pats day in March…Thank goodness for the Kiwis and Waitangi Day are here to help (Full disclosure: I was born in NZ but as I can say 6 without people pointing and laughing it’s ok). As there are so many Kiwis in town not to mention a heap of Aussies who enjoy themselves the odd NZ brew, the fine publicans of Melbourne have got together to make them feel at home by providing entertainment, refreshments and laughs from across the sea.

Section 8 are teaming with the Hangi Boys to put on a day of good tunes, great Maori food and kiwi beers. The menu includes Hangi, Kumara sticks AND raw fish salad. Add to that some entertainment from Electric Wire Hustle’s Mara TK, Float, Jellyfish and the team from local reggae-mashup masters Easy Now Recordings.

The George Hotel in St Kilda is planing on a big one with a New Zealand Beer Tap Takeover including the “Hop Federation” Session IPA, and “8 Wired” -Tropidelic Pale Ale & Kiwi beats pumping throughout, they’ll also have Perci (Kiwi boy) from 9pm playing till the wee hours as well…Choice as!

Kiwi Beer Superstars, Panhead, are back again at The Terminus with another huge Waitangi day event and are carting over 10 of their finest brews, some amazing food and the best nz tunes for a huge day of festivities.

The good folks at the Wharf Hotel are calling all Kiwis to join them for Waitangi Day 2016! With live Kiwi tunes from 1pm and a serve of New Zealand classics such as Steinlager, Tui,  Monteiths & L&P plus Fish and chip platter – $35 and a Kiwi games centre

The Union Club Hotel in Fitzroy are putting on a spread for the homesick Kiwis of the North. Gather your bros for a day on the rooftop soaking in the sun and enjoy the $15 fish and chips, Kiwi flavoured cocktail and shot specials and all NZ playlist all day!

Kia ora Buttercups

Wine tastings, beer nights, cocktail sessions, degustations, festivals and food events happening in and around Melbourne