The Australian Hotel Beer Festival 2010

Posted on October 16, 2010


It is fitting that the first festival review that I do in Australia there is a small spider climbing up the screen of the laptop as I sit outside. No not deadly, but being in a country full of venomous creatures one cannot be too careful. But no it is not the spiders in this country but the lack of sustainable beers that may.

The Australian hotel is located in the ‘tourist’ part of Sydney called ‘the Rocks’. The 6th Annual festival held on the streets outside the venue is where it all happens. The two day event is attended by an estimated 12,000 people and I would feel its a fair estimate as there is a lot of flow through traffic of beer drinkers.We arrived at 1pm but left by 230pm, but there were plenty more arriving.

How Festival Works?

-Like most festival it requires to you to buy a plastic glass for $5 and a book of tokens that cost $10.

– At each brewery you simply hand over your glass and token card. 1 small pour for 1 token


Having only been in the country for 1 week I tasted all these without prior ideas or views to how they would be. Every name except for Blue Tongue and Little Creatures were new to me.

Some of the highlights for us were Balmain Brewing with their hop driven Pale Ale, 4 Pines Brewing Manly, Scharers Little Brewery in Picton with a very nice Bock, Stone & Wood Ale.

Without putting any of the brewers down there still appear to be many boring lagers and pale ales around that are not much different to some of the name brand big beers. The festival was about letting new consumers taste certain beers, but I came away with an understanding the beers are not going to blow the world away, but the brewers are defintely trying to get away from the mainstream beers that we all hate.

One of the highlights of the day was going to Harts Pub on Essex street around the corner. There are about 10 taps of craft beer at any one time, and they were even showing the Major League baseball on all televisions. Harts is an old pub with some outstanding beers on tap, and really good service from the bar staff that have no problems talking about the beer and letting you try them.

The pub not only has character, beers its very warm and inviting after being in so many bars that are like restaurants in Canada and the US. Not that its a bad thing, but it was definitely nice drinking in a bar for a change.

The festival overall was worth going to, as is the Australian Heritage Hotel for their beers on tap, and bottle selection. Hopefully next year more brewers will join the fold and provide more interesting beers and less Lagers and Pilsners that are easily attainable in this city. It was fun seeing the brewers themselves pouring and talking to festival attendees and it was a very well run event security wise and well behaved. I’ll be back next year but hoping for more variety.


Written in honor and memory of one of our beer drinking brothers in Toronto. Tim Mitchell who passed suddenly at the age of 31. Don’t sit on your big expensive beers forever, as aging may mean you never drink them.

Posted in: Festivals