Counting down to beer drinking festival time

The crew at Mountain Culutre Co in Katoomba celebrate their back-to-back win in the GABS Hottest 100 Beers popular vote.

One of the country’s biggest beer festivals, the annual Great Australian Beer Spectacular (GABS) continues to highlight the diversity that is in the craft beer market.

The GABS, held In Melbourne from 17-19 May, in Sydney from 31 May to 1 June and in Brisbane at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre 14-15 June, brings together Australia’s leading craft brewers with some very interesting offerings.

Each year, brewers participating are required to produce a brew unique to GABS – one which isn’t readily available.

Attendees are encouraged to vote for their favourite.

To coincide with this, the GABS organisers also conduct a craft beer poll and the 2023 result saw 436 of Australia’s best craft brewers offering up a range of beers – 1877 to be exact which were voted up on.

Mountain Culture Beer Co, based in the Blue Mountains achieved the rare honour of winning GABS Hottest 100 title for the second year running with its Status Quo Pale Ale.

Using a blend of hops, Status Quo has a hazy appearance and is liken to a Hazy IPA both ion body and flavour. At 5.2 per cent it is definitely a full strength brew which offers up plenty of flavour.

Two previous champions took the second and third positions on the podium with Gold Coast’s Balter XPA taking Silver and third, Canberra’s BentSpoke Crankshaft IPA came in just ahead of Sunshine Coast’s Your Mates Larry, to take out the Bronze.

The top 100, which can be found on the GABS website, features beers from 63 different breweries with nearly a third of them new additions to the list.

If you are in the market for new craft brews, this list is a great place to start and many of the beers are either available through large and small commercial outlets or can be order directly from the breweries.

If you are already into craft brews, why not see how many you have sampled – I did and found that I still have a long way to go.

You can check out the full results and download your own poster to see all the positional moves.

And don’t forget to keep the dates of the GABS handy. If you haven’t been before, these festivals are well worth the effort.

Apart from sampling some amazing beers, they present a great opportunity to meet with the brewers themselves, discuss how they have come across their products and learn a few tips.

The GABS events also include food well matched to go with brews, alternative drinks for those who aren’t dedicated beer lovers and plenty of entertainment.

There are usually two sessions and morning one and an evening one so you can choose which suits you best but don’t go thinking you can do both. That’s a big ask that even the most ardent beer drinking would be flat out surviving.

For more on the Great Australian Beer Spectacular and the GABS Hottest 100, visit

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