Canberra Craft Beer and Cider Festival 2014

9 Apr

The Canberra Craft Beer and Cider Festival is one of our ‘must-dos’. Sunshine, a great venue and, of course, beer all make for a great afternoon out… but the festival still has a few issues to get on top of.

When you attend something two (or more!) years in a row, it’s hard not to compare with previous years. Last year, for $25 we got 10 tokens and the option to buy more. For the same price this year, we get five. Hm.

On arrival at the Mercure Inn (old Olims), we present our tickets (or buy them, as the case may be), get our wristbands and head inside the courtyard where we’re presented with our few tokens… and the opportunity to buy a few more. While the few tickets included in the entry price probably annoy most people, I can see the reasoning – surely there’s a percentage of people who find 10 tickets too much, and plenty find it too little and are going to buy more anyway. The process ensures the latter are forced to consider early whether they want to purchase more tickets, and there are positives and negatives in that.

The looong and slow moving line to pick up (and purchase) tickets

The looong and slow moving line to pick up (and purchase) tickets

What does still bother me is that it’s a two stage entry process; the second line is looong, and the picking up and purchasing of tickets is a bit muddled and amateurish. But, we get there.

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The festival’s also not as crowded as I remember from last year – in terms of stallholders and attendance. Attendance picks up during the afternoon. Something the Mercure does well is provide plenty of seating areas, and we snag a table early. There’s also a decent area with water and ice available, and some offerings of food – all responsible elements.

Plenty of water, ice and cups

Plenty of water, ice and cups

The price of the food is cheeky, but hey, we’re a captive market. A kransky roll is $12.50 (you read that right), while a small bucket of chips and calamari is a little more reasonable at $5.50.

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Calamari and chips

Great atmosphere - and beer

Great atmosphere – and beer

My favourite part of the day was a live band, playing plenty of popular ‘beer drinking songs’ – I only wish they started earlier and could have played constantly. It helped affirm a great atmosphere.

Helloooo people

Helloooo people

Okay, okay – what about the beer? Firstly, the half-pours are back. When you’re paying $1 for a glass of a few mils, I think it’s reasonable to expect a little more generosity. Some brewers are obliging – The Rocks Brewing Company gives us the first full pour we get on the day but sadly the Governor beer is watery and bland.

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Beer, beer and more beer

Beer, beer and more beer

The stand out breweries for me are the Australian brewery with its amber and Belgian ales, and Quiet Deeds, which nails it with its IPA (and I’m normally not a fan), Kolsch and pale ale – and keeps me coming back (actually not hard given there aren’t too many breweries). Sydney Brewery’s Glamarama summer ale also keeps things interesting – light and refreshing but not lacking on flavour.

Good work, Quiet Deeds

Good work, Quiet Deeds

We watch this beer tower grow throughout the day with interest!

We watch this beer tower grow throughout the day with interest!

Like last year, it’s a fun day in a great location, but there remain a few things to iron out for 2015 – not least getting a few more breweries along.

Date: Saturday, 29 March 2014

Where: Mercure Inn, Braddon

Cost: $25 for entry and five tickets; $1 for each extra ticket

Worthwhile factor: Worthwhile

Want more? There are plenty of beer events on in Canberra, but for this specific one, keep an eye on their website.

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3 Responses to “Canberra Craft Beer and Cider Festival 2014”

  1. lizzygoodthings March 9, 2015 at 11:02 am #

    Hhmmmmm, sounds interesting… we have a young family member (in his 20s) visiting from the UK around this time…. this could be a good event to take him to!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Coming Up in 2014 #4 | In The Taratory - July 2, 2014

    […] Canberra’s excellent Craft Beer and Cider Festival […]

  2. Pot Belly, Belconnen | In The Taratory - June 7, 2015

    […] couches around the fire. I only recognise some of the beers on tap from having been along to the Canberra Craft Beer and Cider Festival and the Beer Day Out. Pints are between $8 and $11. And the name’s changed. It’s now […]

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