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.

Mothers 2

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

All I Want for Christmas is a Decent Coffee



Getting a decent coffee on Christmas Day can be a bit of a chore for those of us without the equipment to make one themselves. Fortunately for us, there are a few fabulous people willing to get up, open shop and make one for us, allowing us to carry on with our day in caffeinated bliss. Christmas Baristas of Melbourne, we salute you!

Where to go for Coffee in Melbourne on the 25th December

(this list will be updated as more come to light)

South of the Yarra

Beavers Tail Social Club (160 Barkly St, St Kilda) – Open 8am-12pm for coffees and nibbles

Bibelot (285-287 Coventry St, South Melbourne) –  Open 8am-1pm for coffees, fresh bread and pastries

Dead Man Espresso  (35 Market Street, South Melbourne) – Open from 8am-2pm  for all your breakfast and coffee needs

Depot de Pain Black Rock (28 Bluff Rd, Black Rock) – Open 7.00am-2.30pm with full service

Drugstore Espresso (194 Toorak Rd, South Yarra) – Open from 7.30am-11.30am for coffee

Fergus (301 Wattletree Rd, Malvern East) – Open from 7am-11am for coffee and pastries

Finders Keepers Cafe (89 Riversdale Rd, Hawthorn) – Open 8am-11am for coffee and pastries

Frank and Ginger (101 Orrong Rd, Caulfield) – Open 7am-11am for coffees

Gardiner and Field (43 Union St, Armadale) – Open 7am-11pm for coffees only

Hobba (428 Malvern Road, Prahran) – Open 7am-11am for coffees and pastries

Mailing Room (206 Canterbury Rd, Canterbury) – Open 7am-11am for coffees and pastries

One Origin Specialty Coffee (83 Glenferrie Rd, Malvern) – Open 8am-1pm for coffees and pastries

Platform Espresso (1529 High St, Glen Iris) – Open 8am-12pm for coffees only

Snowpony (95 Whitehorse Rd, Balwyn) –  Open 8:30am- 11:30am for coffee and small bites only

Sprout Cafe (48 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea) – Open 8am-1pm with full service

St Ali (12-18 Yarra Place, South Melbourne) – Open 7am-6pm with full service

Two Lost Boys (20/2 Maddock St, Windsor) – Open 8am-12pm for coffees only


Arbory (Flinders Walk, Melbourne) – Open from 7.30am – 1am for coffee, drinks, all the things

Depot de Pain at The Blackman (452 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne) – Open 6.30am-2.30pm with full service

Queen St Rescue (189 Queen St Melbourne) – Open from 7.30am-4pm with full service

Sun Moth (28 Niagara Lane, Melbourne) – 12pm till late for all your coffee and craft beer needs.

North of the Yarra

Admiral Cheng Ho (325 Johnston Street, Abbotsford) – Open 7am-10am with all proceeds are going to the charity Sol De Mañana

Ampersand Coffee and Food (863 High St, Thornbury) – Open 7am-11am for coffees and pastries

De Clieu (187 Gertrude St, Fitzroy) – Open 9am-3am with normal menu

Depot de Pain at Rathdowne Village (693 Rathdowne St, Carlton) – Open 7.00am-2.30pm with full service

Everyday Coffee (33 Johnston St, Fitzroy) – Open from 9am-12pm for take away coffee with all profits going to charity

The Long and Short ()314 Victoria St, Brunswick) – Open 8am-2pm for coffee and sweets

Sookie La La (593 High St, Northcote) – Open 8am-12pm for coffees and pastries

Halloween and The Day of the Dead Hit Melbourne

SkullThis time last year, all the thoughts were on racing with barely a hat tip in Halloween’s direction but this year it seems that Melbournes’ bars have done an about turn and have fully embraced their dark side with day of the dead shenanigans galore. From dive bars to tequila joints to chocolate surprises, Melbourne is donning it’s costumes and capes and getting ready to show off it’s spooky self.

Northside Nightterrors

Catfish Bar (30-32 Gertrude St, Fitzroy) – Starting at 7pm in the upstairs bar at The Catfish there will be 3 One off Halloween themed kegs from Dainton, Exit and Kauji! Dressing up is highly encouraged as door prizes will be awarded on the night and the BEST DRESSED will receive a free brew day with Dan Dainton at the soon to be complete Dainton Family Brewery.

Two Row Bar (351 Smith Street, Fitzroy) – Two Row are putting on 5 Halloween inspired taps as well as goodie bags, treats, tricks and prizes for great costumes! The party will kick off at 2pm and spook on through til close… $30 will get you the first 2 beers of your choice and treats to take home! You can get tickets here.

Mr Wow’s Emporium (97b Smith St, Fitzroy) – Day of the Dead rituals celebrating the deaths of ancestors have been observed perhaps for as long as 2,500–3,000 years. Mr Wow’s rituals include drinking Tequila Tromba, eating tasty treats provided by The Voodoo Jerk Truck, paying homage to their favourite dead celebrities with handmade shrine and painting faces to celebrate this deadly holiday.Dress in your best Day of the Dead costume and join them for a night of macabre madness

Foresters Hall (64 Smith St, Collingwood) –  Join Foresters for an old school Monster Mash/Kaiju tap takeover (I’ve meet these guys and they are spooky as all get out). With an additional upstairs haunted house with a spooky band (Ooooohhooo)and prizes for best dressed, you are assured to have a monsters ball.

Carwyn Cellars (877 High St, Thornbury) – 5 different tacos, 6 amazing Day of the Dead/ Taco/ Chilli inspired beers on tap, Mexican inspired drink specials, inc. jugs of Paloma, a Mexican Food Market presented by El Cielo, inc. free food tastings across their range and free tastings across a range of 15 Mexican craft beers & a range of Mezcals, you should be scared stiff to miss this one!

The Brunswick Hotel (140 Sydney Rd, Brunswick) – Come to the Carn-evil and bear witness to 14 live and untamed bands summoned from the darkest corners of deepest Melbourne to perform over two stages! If that isnt getting you monsters drooling we have two devilishly good DJs on both stages for you to shake your bones and rattle your chains too. Old man gully beef burgers will be serving up mouth-watering burgers from 5pm-late (may or may not contain traces of old men)  Prizes will be given to the best costumes the carnies see, so think heart attack and work your way up!

City Critters

Nieuw Amsterdam (106-112 Hardware St, Melbourne) – Celebrate the most tantalising and horrific night of the year by traveling down the rabbit hole and experiencing Alice in Amsterdam. Dress to your heart’s desire. Drink specials, late night food menu till 2am, DJ’s and cocktails till 5am. No cover. Best dressed can win a voucher to te value of $100.

Fed Square (Flinders St/Swanston St, Melbourne) – Join Melbourne’s Mexican community at Fed Square for the world-known tradition of Day of the Dead. Day of the Dead is a beautiful cultural tradition that celebrates life and remembers loved ones who have passed away. Head to The Square from 11am – 5pm to meet one-on-one with the Mexican artist who creates ephemeral ground tapestries and be part of the creative process. From 5pm – 8pm, bring your friends and family to enjoy the main event – a colourful celebration with music, dance, activities and plenty of selfie opportunities!

Asian Beer Cafe (Level 3, Melbourne Central) – The Asian Beer Cafe are throwing a Halloween Costume Party that’s going to be bigger and better than ever before! There will huge prize giveaways all night long, and entry is free! Don’t forget to dress to impress!

Vamos (1/37 Little Bourke St Melbourne) – Vamos is celebrating its first anniversary on Oct. 31st, come and celebrate this very special night, full of invited guests and surprises! Bands and flamenco dancing are to be part of the event, as well as a Dj expert in Latin American music playing some gems in vinyl Live Latin American music and flamenco dancer and it’s HALLOWEEN so dress up and join the fun. Expect some surprises! It’s going to be an amazing evening! Tickets are $30 a head and you can get them online here.

South of the Yarra Screams

Collection Bar (328 Bridge St, Richmond) – Another Halloween is upon us and all the over indulgent pumpkins have been itching to get out. This year The Collection are turning things up a notch with a $100 tab going to the best dressed!  The All Hallows’ punch will be flowing all night along with other drink specials and a late night burger menu to keep the stomach lined.

Ormond Hall (557 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne) – Put your sanity to the test and dare to be admitted to The Asylum, Melbourne’s most thrilling Halloween event. For the first time since its closure in 1895, Melbournians are now able to walk the halls of one of Australia’s oldest insane asylums. The history of The Asylum is enough to sicken the stiffest of nerves. Renowned for being run by sociopathic matrons and sadistic neuro-surgeons; very few patients treated in these wards ever left with a cure of their psychosis. Sanity was not the mission. Hysteria was the goal.Tickets are $25 and you can book them online here.

Halloween Outdoor Cinema (St Kilda Primary School, 2B Brighton Road  St Kilda) – St Kilda Primary School will be transformed into an outdoor cinema showing, The Minion Movie, Hotel Transylvania, The Original Rocky Horror Show and Inside Out. There will be a range of Halloween based activities to get the kids involved along with mobile food trucks , vendors and entertainment. Entry is gold coin donation

Cadbury Treat Street Party (Maitland St, Glen Iris) – Glen Iris will be at the heart of Melbourne’s Halloween  celebrations this year as Cadbury prepares to free the joy on the spookiest day of the year by turning one lucky suburban street into an enchanting Cadbury Treat Street for the community to enjoy.  Maitland Street in Glen Iris will be transformed into a magical Halloween-themed destination, which will become one of Melbourne’s biggest and most joyful Halloween street parties. Residents and visitors to the Cadbury Treat Street will celebrate as a community at a street party hosted by Cadbury, featuring non-stop entertainment, party games, a community BBQ and thousands of Cadbury treats to be given away to bring the festivities to life. Melburnians are invited to head to Maitland St in Glen Iris from 4.30pm-6.30pm on Saturday 31 October to visit the Cadbury Treat Street.

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