My friends and I returned to Ballarat today for the Beer Festival. It was another stunning day for it: sunny, mild, not too hot. Much like last year I took an earlier train to walk around Ballarat a little. Not much to report here: very little has changed. But I never see Ballarat so it’s good to walk around a little. My friends were on the train behind mine and I caught up with them when I boarded at Ballarat. We then made our way to Wendouree park for the festival.

We were given a plastic pot when we entered and brewers typically offered either a tasting size, a half pot, or a full pot of a particular drink. Half pots are usually the best value for money: you get a decent amount to enjoy but you pace yourself and avoid reaching your limit before you tasted everything you wanted to. I made that mistake last year: buying too many full-sized pot servings. I went half pots this year.

I also made the mistake of not making notes of the beers I tried last year. I made sure to record them this year. Given the occasion, I decided to go for drinks that I wouldn’t normally go for. In other words: lots of sours today. I’m not a sour drinker and I think I eventually reached my enjoyment limit of them today. But that’s fine: I guess it’s good finding my limits this way.

Here’s a quick rundown of the drinks I tried:

  • Fox Friday “Feeling Peachy” Fruited Sour: This was less sour and more on the bitter sweet side. The peach flavour came through strong, which took the edge off and made it quite refreshing. Made for a nice starter.
  • Dollar Bill “Australian Wild Ale”: This was a regular ale and a little more bitter than I was expecting (although that could’ve been because of the peach sour). It felt like a heavy sort of ale. Maybe a little too heavy for me. Not sure it’ll be something I go for again.
  • Mountain Culture “MS DOS” West Coast IPA: Nothing too remarkable about this. Just an IPA. But a decent IPA. Will definitely have again.
  • Wild Life Citrus Sour: I can’t quite remember the make up of this sour. I think it was lemon and blood-orange. Definitely something and blood-orange, as the blood-orange taste really came through. I didn’t think much of this but that’s probably because I reached my limit for sours at this point. This brewery was also advertising a “pineapple sour,” which would’ve been amazing, but sadly they weren’t pouring it when we arrived. Might have affected how I thought about the blood-orange drink: feeling that it was playing second fiddle to the pineapple one.
  • Prancing Pony “10 Year” Beer: This was one my friend got but he offered me a taste of it. It was a pilsner IPA but more on the pilsner side. It’s probably one I can see myself drinking if it wasn’t for it’s alcoholic content. It was quite high: 7.5%, or 3 standard drinks in a 500 ml can. That’s just a little too high for me. The can was quite something though.
  • Molly Rose “Strawberry Sublime”: This was a low alcholoic strawberry and lime gose. A bit of a mix of sweet and sour. It was nice, but it really wasn’t doing it for me, and frankly I’m not really sure why I went for it at this point in the day.

The event was back in Wendouree park, and was pretty much like last year. Which is good: they did a good job last year.

But there were a few small changes this year. For one, more tables were placed under the trees, which was a good move. There were more tables in the sun last year, which never had anyone on it for long as people preferred the ones in the shade. I think there were fewer brewers this year too. It might have been because of the layout change but it felt a little smaller this year, and some brewers from last year didn’t make an appearance.

Also, no finska this year.

But all in all, it was a good day. Good excuse to get on a regional train out to the country for a change.