Festival brews up interest
LOVERS of craft beers and home brewing, music and great local food can expect more of the same next year.
Organisers of the Big River Brew Fest, held in the backyard of Yamba cafe Irons and Craig on Saturday, were thrilled at the success of the inaugural event.
Cafe proprietors Antony Perring and David Barnier estimated around 200 people had come throughout the morning and afternoon of the low key festival.
They were treated to craft beers from Byron Bay brewers Stone and Wood, a barbecue featuring locally made pork sauasages, fresh seafood, Irons and Craig's coffees and a selection of music from several local singers and bands.
Stone and Wood's contribution of staff and their specially converted 1950s caravan/mobile bar serving two of their best-selling brews: Pacific Ale and Garden Ale was a huge hit.
Mr Perring said the obvious enjoyment by the crowd on Saturday made it almost certain brew fest would return in 2015.
"You can't let something like this go," he said. "We want to get some more events on the calendar, so when something like this is greeted so favourably, you have to go again."
His thoughts were echoed by Stone and Wood brewer Tom O'Reilly, who said the turnout showed there was a growing niche in the beer market for craft brewed beers and locally grown foods.
"There's definitely a change in the way Australians are drinking their beers now," he said.
"We are seeing the emergence of more session beers where people like to try different beers. They talk about them and try them with different foods."
Mr O'Reilly, fellow brewer Zachary Wright and product distribution office Flynn Hannan judged a selection of home brewed beers and ginger beers.
The winners of each section received a pack of goodies from festival sponsors Stone and Wood and Coopers.
- Best Lager: Bede Madden Maddy's Beer
- Best Ale: Todd Walsh Lobster Pots Double Hopped IPA
- Best Name: Colin Gunn Longboard Lager
- Best Label Design: Max and Sean King Sean's Ginger Beer
- Best Overall Brew: Todd Walsh Lobster Pots Double Hopped IPA