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Orange brewers among 170 at Beer Festival

Orange brewers among 170 at Beer Festival

I wonder if you’d ever drink a beer made with coffee and real donut mixture, or a cider made with turmeric, horseradish and onion? (It was actually better than it sounds).

Last weekend saw Orange locals Badlands Brewery, Small Acres Cyder and Origin Chocolate go toe to toe with over 170 other breweries and cideries from Australia and New Zealand at the Sydney edition of the GABS Festival. The acronym G.A.B.S. stands for The Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular (as in beer tap) and if you’ve never been along, I doubt you’ve ever seen as many beer taps in one room – well over 200 taps. The Festival is held in Brisbane, Melbourne, Auckland and Sydney and aims to celebrate the plethora of tastes and styles possible in beer and cider. There are food trucks, a number of different seminars and information sessions and a host of other entertainment.

The Dark Side of Orange  (right) in a tasting paddle

The Dark Side of Orange (right) in a tasting paddle

Most of the beer and cider available is specially brewed for the event and tend to really push the envelope as far as what is possible in brewing. You won’t find anything that resembles Great Northern or Corona, and each is named with a pun, reference, or something to capture the weirdness of the product. Personally, I sampled beers such as Aunt Sally’s Slice of Sunshine inspired by Florida key lime tart, Purple Haze which was purple and tasted like a soda and ice-cream ‘spider,’ and Blood of Ra which was deep red and based on ancient Egyptian beers brewed with ancient grains (like spelt) and blood orange.

Our local producers got into the thick of it; Badlands, Small Acres and Origin Chocolate teamed up to create Dark Side of Orange; a chocolate brown ale with cherries. I asked punters what they thought of it and got the following responses: “The cacao nibs are really prominent,” “I’m enjoying the funky sour flavour the cherries bring,” “Wow what a cracker, rich chocolate and cherry!”

Congratulations to Badlands, Small Acres Cyder and Origin Chocolate on brewing a standout beer at a cracking event!

If you are interested in trying some of the quirky beers on offer at GABS, Dan Murphy’s is selling festival mixed 6 packs with Dark Side of Orange included.

Dark Side of Orange is also available at The Lane Cellars

Photos contributed by Rowan Hamilton

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A walk down Summer Street

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