Craft brews, festive vibe

TASTY CHOICES: Festival patrons get to pair food and craft beers or opt to taste ciders and wine.

Craft beer, cider, wine and music lovers in Geelong can expand their cultural horizons and take a daytrip to Ballarat Beer Festival next Saturday.

Festival director Ric Dexter said plans for the event’s eighth year were coming together well, with 43 brewers including some from Bellarine Peninsula.

He said the festival followed the 2018 format, which earned kudos as the Most Popular Regional Craft Beer Festival in Australia, and would continue to deliver a family atmosphere.

“Local wineries are presenting a selection of their wines and wine cocktails. And as a family-friendly event, plenty of non-alcoholic drink options will be available for teens, and water is free,” he said.

“Our crowds are about 55 per cent female and we have lots for the kids to do such as face-painting, the animal farm and entertainment. It’s also a dog-friendly event with free vet checks on offer.

“The main change this year is we have moved location away from the water to a more accessible area in Lake Wendouree’s Northern Gardens, where there’s plenty of trees for shade.

Ric said festival-goers could join a masterclass or simply bring their picnic blankets or chairs to take in over 20,000 square metres of lakeside beer action from 11am to 8pm.

“This year’s festival celebrates the very best of craft beer culture with beer education classes, food and beer pairings, trivia games, bocce battles, where brewers can be challenged to a game, beer yoga classes, the popular brewers’ sack race and plenty more,” he said

“A great line up of bands including a strong 80s and blues line-up will provide the soundtrack to the day filling the grounds with good vibes.”

Live artists include Blues Roulette, Christina Croft, Cass Eager, PJ O’Brien, Frank Sultana, Justin Yap Band, Kelly Auty and Butterfunked.

Festival goers can select from more than 200 craft beers and ciders as well as many award-winning regional wines and a wide range of street food vendors will supply the catering.

Ballarat Beer Festival is an entirely cashless event and participants need to bring a valid credit or debit card as well as ID for proof of age.

Tickets for teens aged 15 to 17 years are $20, while kids 14 and under are free. All children under 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

Bookings are still open to meet the brewers in style at Friday Night’s Degustation Dinner before the festival, where diners enjoy a delicious five-course menu served with matched beers and wines – get ready for a grape vs grain challenge.

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