Best brews at Gippsland Beer Fest

Great times: Latrobe City Council Deputy Mayor Tracie Lund and her partner Simon Lund enjoyed the festivities.

ZAIDA GLIBANOVIC

By ZAIDA GLIBANOVIC

THE weather turned it on for the first-ever Gippsland Beer Fest.
Hundreds flocked to Tinamba Hotel on Sunday, November 26, to enjoy local brews and tunes.
The event, organised by Gippsland Beer, was ready to go in under two months – creating a brand and event that promotes local breweries throughout the Gippsland region.
Their mission is to help create a vibrant beer scene and bring together the community with a new experience and hand-crafted local beer.
You could say their mission was a massive success, as the community turned up to celebrate their local brewing scene.
Brad Bailey, one of the event organisers, was elated that the sun came to join them on the day.
“Gippsland Beer was mostly created to facilitate this (event),” he said.
“Most of this is to help the breweries. They do it all on their own; they handle their social media, so we just wanted to support them.”
With so much local talent in the industry, Gerard Phelan and Simon Johnson, alongside Brad and Mitch Bailey, wanted to find a way to facilitate the growth of these home-grown brews.
With a dream to make the beer houses from Phillip Island to Orbost household names and push their product onto the market, the group thought of no other way to promote these unique blends than to have a big old festival.
“I believe about 500 to 600 tickets sold before the day,” Brad Bailey said. With plenty of walk-ins during the day and purchasing tickets at the door, the Tinamba-Seaton Road was chock-a-block.
Groove Cartel Band performed throughout the day, with solo sets, duo sets and group sets keeping the crowd entertained.
Local hand-made brews came from Burra Brewing in Korumburra, Warragul’s Bandolier Brewing, Traralgon’s Good Land Brewing, Cowes’ Ocean Reach Brewing, Maffra’s Maffco, Five Aces Brewing Co from Neerim South, Foster’s Gurneys Cider, Lakes Entrances Red Bluff Brewers, Yarragon Ale House, Sailors Grave Brewing from Orbost and Bruthen’s Bullant Brewery.
Gippsland Beer Fest covered you on all bases, with food vendors from Wheelie Good Pizzas, Doin’ Dumplings, Maffco, Tinamba Hotel and Gippsland Barbecue.
If beer wasn’t your drink of choice, luckily, the Amba Bar at Tinamba Hotel provided festivalgoers with all sorts of cocktails, wines and beverages. Beer drinkers enjoyed the atmosphere, with many from the crowd stating how lovely the event was.
Upon arrival, guests were given a Gippsland Beer Fest schooner glass which they could reuse all day and take home.
Festivalgoers could have arrived in style, with a few Raymond Island natives flying over on the helicopter to get among the Beer Fest action.
David Visser from Lakes Entrance Helicopters partnered with organisers to provide chopper rides during the Beer Fest.
Having previously worked with Tinamba Hotel, he also provided flights to the hotel for lunch and the Gippsland Food and Wine Festival.
“We talked about coming out last minute but we didn’t advertise, but it’s been really successful, and we’ve had a great day,” he said.
Unsure of the weather, the helicopter rides were in doubt, but as the sun shone down on the festival on Sunday, Mr Visser said the show had to go on.
“We’ve done a few flights, and it’s just a different way to see the area; we go up to Glenmaggie Weir, which is really nice to see from the air – just a 10-minute flight.
“Next year, we’ll do a bit more and come back again.”
If helicopters weren’t cool enough, The Gippsland Beer Fest were excited to introduce a custom misting bar from Irrigear Tinamba. The misting bar was aesthetically pleasing and refreshing, spraying water vapour onto guests to cool off under the hot Sunday sun. Offering a unique experience, the misting bar was an exciting addition to the festival on the warm day.
Good Land Brewing Co.’s Jesse Krekelberg said, “Everyone’s pretty wrapped about the weather”.
“Business is always good; the locals really get around us at these sorts of things,” he said.
Since opening its doors in 2021, Good Land Brewing in Traralgon has found tremendous success locally, with the Latrobe Valley community rallying behind them.
In its two years of operation, the Traralgon brewery has made award-winning brews and has taken their specialty flavours to national competitions.
Maffco Brewery and Distillery had a busy day as many flocked to taste the new local sensation.
The unique beer flavours and food from local produce were a massive hit among the crowd.
Gippsland Beer isn’t done promoting local businesses. On the festival day, Gippsland Beer launched the great Gippsland Beer Trail. From Orbost to Phillip Island, the trail is a first of its kind to include every brewery in Gippsland.
A chance to win a weekend trip along the Gippsland Beer Trail in 2024 alongside the team at Gippsland Beer was up for grabs at the Sunday festival.
Not only did the Gippsland Beer Fest help support local brewers, but it also donated three dollars of every ticket sale back to the local community. Organisations such as the Tinamba Community Hall, CFA Fire Brigade and the Heyfield’s Lions Club will receive donations.
Off the back of this year’s huge success, there is no doubt the blokes at Gippsland Beer will go bigger and better for next year’s Gippsland Beer Fest.

Highflying: Michael Leech from Morwell and Anita Mesenberg from Heyfield had a bird’s-eye view of the region thanks to Lakes Entrance Helicopters.
Maker of beer: Good Land Brewing Co.’s Jesse Krekelberg. Photographs: Zaida Glibanovic (unless otherwise specified)
Jam-packed: Tinamba was a hive of activity as people came from all over to enjoy the good weather and beers on tap.
Ideas man: Guests could stay cool under the sun with the custom-built misting bar. Photograph supplied
Debut: The first Gippsland Beer Fest was a huge success thanks to the work of the staff, brewers and organisers.
Photograph: Tania Johnson



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