Amber liquid to flow earlier at this year’s Great Australian Beer Festival

CHEERS: Harry Duck from Albury Brewhouse, Great Australian Beer Festival co-directors Kieran Blood and Michael Ward and Albury Brew House brewer Banjo Hillier at the festival launch yesterday. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE
CHEERS: Harry Duck from Albury Brewhouse, Great Australian Beer Festival co-directors Kieran Blood and Michael Ward and Albury Brew House brewer Banjo Hillier at the festival launch yesterday. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

The second Albury Great Australian Beer Festival will start earlier than last year in the hope punters will extend their night in town.

Launching the event on Tuesday, co-director Michael Ward said the day would return to QEII Square on Saturday, December 1, with 24 brewers.

“(Last year) we were hit by biblical rains … but we’re pretty certain we’re going to have a nice day,” he said.

“This year we’re going from 1pm to 8pm and that way we disperse people a little bit earlier to have dinner and go out, and we think everyone will benefit more from that than a 10pm close.

“It’s going to be on your calendar as a major event for many years to come.”

Albury Brewhouse will make their debut at the festival and venue manager Banjo Hillier said a number of core brews such as the Hume Pale Ale would be on offer.

“Idealistically we’d have opened just before it came up in December, but with a few construction details we opened up at Easter time,” he said.

“It’s always hard opening up a new function space and not knowing what people are willing to drink, but it's been going really good.”

Of the attendees to the inaugural event, 25 per cent were from outside of the region and a $20,000 in NSW government funding will be used to boost that figure.

Co-director Kieran Blood said nearly 3000 people attended the 2017 event.

“Last year we had 10 producers of beer wine and cider in the region and this year that’s been increased to 15,” he said.

“There’s a good beer movement in Albury and the surrounds.”

Member for Albury Greg Aplin called craft beer the “flavour of the decade” at the launch at Beer Deluxe Albury.

“Within a modest range of where we stand right now you’ll find some of the best craft beer being brewed in Australia,” he said.

“There’s good reason and business sense behind the movement to establish craft breweries away from capital cities.

“There's the clean air, the clean water and there's close proximity to where those ingredients are grown.”

Mr Ward said tickets were on sale from Wednesday.

Member for Albury Greg Aplin at the launch

Member for Albury Greg Aplin at the launch

“We’re also adding a piano and cabaret bar which we trialled in Geelong earlier this year – we’ll have local performer Paul Gibbs and a Sydney troupe,” he said.

“We'll be using a separate space for that, utilising a New York style theme, and we’ll also be utilising St Matthews Church – we'll have to surprise you with what we do in there.”

There will also be live brewing exhibits by a Wodonga brewery, which had the approval of Bridge Road Brewers founder Ben Kraus.

“It’s a great idea Cheeky Peak will have a brewer on site to see what it takes to make a beer,” he said.

“The focus of this festival is to encourage people to taste as many beers they can in a responsible manner and I think that's a really big part of educating the local community and even people coming up to drinking ages about how you go about going out for a drink.”

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