With locally produced brews quickly taking over taps in bars and restaurants along the Gold Coast, there has never been a better time to investigate the Gold Coast's craft beer scene. The Coast is home to some of Australia's most recognised breweries, its own beer festival, new micro-breweries and a DIY brew experience.
Here are our top five reasons why now is the best time to taste your way through the Gold Coast's craft beer scene.
#1: Free the Hops Craft Beer Festival, 15-22 October
Free The Hops is the Gold Coast's inaugural Craft Beer Festival, celebrating the art of beer with eleven days of jam-packed events from 15 – 22 October.
The festival kicks off with the launch of Stone & Wood's highly anticipated 5th annual limited release of the 2016 Mash Collective at Bine Bar and Dining from 6pm on Thursday, 15 October. This year's Mash Collective was created by free surfing legend Asher Pacey, Three Blue Ducks & The Farm co-founder Jeff Bennett and Art Park founder and artist Paul McNeil. With only four kegs being delivered to the Gold Coast, you don't want to miss out.
Then, watch the Gold Coast's Burleigh Brewing Co. go head to head with Manly's 4 Pines Brewing in the Battle of the Beaches. Vote for your favourite beach brew, savour the tasty wings and ribs, and enjoy a refreshing afternoon brew with live music at Surfers Sandbar on Saturday, 17 October.
Check out all the events at: www.freethehops.com.au
#2: It's raw and natural
With several gold medals from the World Beer Championships under their belt, Burleigh Brewing Co. continues to create fresh brews from a selection of the finest, purest natural ingredients. Try Big Head for a flavoursome zero carb beer or Hassle Hop, a tasty American pale ale made from five different types of hops.
Best time to visit: Head along to 'Jam Session' on Fridays and be at the centre of the beer brewing action (literally - the bar is located inside the brewery). Relax with a beer (or two), grab something from the local food trucks and listen to the tunes of emerging local musicians.
#3: Even the Gold Coast's surfing legends can't keep their hands off
Set to open its doors in Currumbin by the end of 2015, Balter Brewery is the newest edition to the Gold Coast's craft beer scene and the brain child of surfing legends Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Bede Burbridge and Josh Kerr.
#4: You will find no shortage of watering holes
From cellar doors, brewery tours to quality craft beer bars, you will find no shortage of watering holes along the Gold Coast. Here are some of our favourite places to taste the local brew:
Bine Bar and Dining: This is the Gold Coast's first Australian craft beer bar and restaurant with eight rotating taps, over 80 different bottled craft beers and a hearty food menu. Check the website for what's currently being poured on the rotating taps. Make sure you try Code Red, a red IPA from the guys at Black Hops Brewing.
Ze Pickle: Combining killer burgers, quality craft beers and tip top tunes. You can't beat the laid-back atmosphere at this Burleigh hang out.
Fortitude Brewing and Noisy Minor Brewing Co.: With an open beer garden, live music and a cheese factory all under the one roof, this is the perfect spot for a relaxed afternoon in the Gold Coast Hinterland.
House of Brews: This taphouse in the heart of Surfers Paradise offers you the choice of 32 local and international craft beers plus a menu full of traditional American BBQ goodness. Get your hands dirty with the sticky BBQ ribs, buffalo wings, and a range of burgers (try the signature Red Neck burger!).
#5: You can design your own brew
Have you been wondering what your own beer creation would taste like? A number of smaller venues like Aardvark & Arrow and the Gold Coast Brewery specialise in making beer from pre-prepared ingredients to simplify the brewing process. And the best part? They allow you to assist in the brewing process. For a full DIY experience, visit The Pickled Pig Brewery in Tweed Heads, a microbrewery offering you to get a hands-on approach with the use of their commercial grade facilities, ingredients and expertise to brew your own beer. You can even create your own label and of course the experts are more than happy to help, especially with a few exclusive tastings of their brew.
About the Gold Coast: Australia's Gold Coast is a diverse city, offering action-packed days and fun-filled nights enjoyed by more than 11 million visitors each year. The 57 kilometres of sand and surf, 100,000 hectares of Heritage-listed rainforest, award winning dining, active pursuits and an ever-evolving events calendar and more than 300 days of sunshine annually confirm the Gold Coast as a year-round destination of choice.