Ballarat Beer Festival are transforming Lake Wendouree into a craft beer lover’s paradise.

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Ballarat Beer Festival are transforming Lake Wendouree into a craft beer lover’s paradise.


The countdown is on for summer’s unmissable beer event, Ballarat Beer Festival. Back for its seventh year, the festival is moving to its new location of Lake Wendouree, soon to be transformed into a craft beer lover’s paradise.


“The change in location will make a huge difference to the atmosphere of the festival,” says festival director Richard Dexter. “It’s going to be much more laidback. It’s just going to be delightful to be able to lay in the shade all day, listen to great music and escape the summer’s heat.”


If you’re not from Ballarat, it might seem like a long drive for a beer, but it’s actually a great excuse to get out of town to sample, sip and savour a smorgasbord of craft beer in the sun. This is especially true with Ballarat being the centre of Australian home brewing, with three locally-loved micro-breweries along with a multitude of home brewers and even a university course for home brewing at Federation Uni.


With the aim of creating the ultimate boulevard of beers, the family-friendly festival will showcase 34 of Australia’s leading craft beer brewers, giving the crowds the chance to sample over 150 craft beers and ciders, further fostering the explosion of the Australian craft beer scene.


“Our main intention is to showcase Victoria’s and Australia’s leading craft brewers – independently owned businesses,” Dexter says.


Alongside the festival regulars, there are a number of brewers coming to Ballarat for the first time, including Daylesford Brewing Co, Tumut River Brewing Company, Westside Ale Works, Valhalla Brewing and The Foreigner Brewing Company.


This year will also see a range of new and creative brews on the lineup, such as the Citra Sour beer from Fury and Son Brewing Company.


We know beer isn’t for everyone, so don’t worry if you’re not an esteemed beer lover. Along with an impressive showcase of ciders from many of the brewers, there will be wines from Mitchell Harris Wines, Sangria, Gin and Tonic Slushies, ginger beer and a gluten free beer.


Don’t be fooled, though. The festival isn’t just about drinking (unless you want it to be). Festival-goers can also sharpen their beer knowledge on the day with a range of free education sessions led by Beer Diva and Professor Pilsner. Here, you’ll get the opportunity to meet the local brewers, learn how to take your homebrew from the garage to the ‘Big Time’, take a stroll through the world of weird and wonderful beers, collecting free samples along the way.


The festival will also see the return of the Gallagher’s Friday Night Degustation Dinner, providing guests the chance to mix and mingle with the brewers while enjoying a delicious five-course menu served with perfectly matched beers. Adding to the festival highlights, Ballarat beer lovers will again battle it out for homebrew glory with the Summer Slam Homebrewer’s competition. Here, the winner will be given the opportunity to have their winning brew on tap at Ballarat’s Mallow Hotel – giving them ultimate bragging rights. There will also be blind tastings, beer trivia and the return of the highly popular brewer’s sack race, as well as a range of kid’s activities and a petting zoo to keep everyone entertained.


Mixed in with many of Australia’s finest large, small and emerging independent breweries, you’ll find a dozen food stalls all serving up global culinary delights you can match with your favourite brews. There’ll be everything from Farang Thai BBQ, Round The Way Bagels, The Forge Pizzeria and Just Chips Victoria to Riverina Jerky and Slinky Spudz – just to name a few.


Alongside the brews and the food, it wouldn’t be a festival without the tunes. This year the good vibes will be flowing with the likes of rambunctious rock’n’rollers The VANNS headlining, along with bands including Ballarat’s own Butterfunked, Mast Gully Fellers, Hana and Jessie-Lee April, Centre and the South, Michael Meeking & The Lost Souls and One Night Only, the Blues Brothers Revue.


As one of the most laidback, relaxing festivals anywhere – recognised by the public and brewers alike as the best regional beer festival all in Australia – all you need to do is bring your picnic blanket, chill out and enjoy the brews.