We know that looking at the brew and food line up at Crafted Beer & Cider Festival can be overwhelming. Where do you even start? What if you miss tasting THE BEST beer? What if you don’t leave room for donuts? Well, if you just don’t know where to beer-gin to tackle the plethora of flavour combos, then look no further than expert tips from Beer Life Australia’s Darren, as he rounds up his Top 5 Festival Brews & Bites.


The Welder’s Dog ‘Pea Blossom Lemonade’ & Little Havana Ruben Sandwich


The Welder's Dog 'Pea Blossom Lemonade' is the perfect foil to a big Ruben sandwich from Little Havana. For starters, you're going to be working up a thirst when tackling delicious salty brined beef, and at 4.1% ABV their lemonade is a one stop hydration station. Secondly, we all know a Ruben is a one-way ticket to flavour town, you’ve got cheese coming out your ears, kraut all over your face, more corned beef than your Gran could make white sauce for, it's all happening. With a subtle Citra hop aroma, gentle flavours of lemon and lime, a hint of sweetness and a dry finish it’s all you need to keep starching that sanga. Lastly, think about it, Katz's Deli, Ruben sandwich, sipping on a soda…it just makes sense.  

Brick Lane Brewing ‘Red Hoppy Ale’ & QLD Pizza Brothers Diavola Pizza  


Brick Lane’s ‘Red Hoppy Ale’ is perfectly matched with a Diavola pizza by QLD Pizza Bros. Just as you would expect at 5.3% ABV, those fantastic caramel malts will titillate your deserving buds as you devour a tasty woodfired pizza. Trust me when I say it’s a match made in heaven between a ‘Hoppy Red Ale’ and the intensity of their smoked salami!! This brew has a rich, red amber body, driven through caramel malts layered in the brew which are not dark, and not light. It has a green hoppy bite with intense fruit flavours which delivers layers of complexity, interest and a moreish finish.


Black Hops Brewing ‘Pink Mist’ & Gluten Free Donuts


Black Hops’ ‘Pink Mist’ provides a fun combination with a tasty crisp 4.7% ABV beer which will wash down nicely along with a crowd favourite Gluten Free Donut. An AIBA Gold Medal winner 2 years running, ‘Pink Mist’ is Black Hops Brewing’s modern take on the traditional French Saison style beer. Brewed with fresh raspberries, ‘Pink Mist’ is carefully hopped to perfection using New Zealand and Australian hops, and pours with a beautiful pink colour, a tart berry flavour and a dry crisp finish. And why not get your donut injected with some raspberry jam filling just to really ramp up that berry flavour!

 Gage Roads Brewing Co ‘Little Dove New World Pale Ale’ & Smokin’ Grill BBQ’s Brisket Plate


Gage Roads Brewing Co’s ‘Little Dove New World Pale Ale’ at a whopping 6.2% ABV and recently released in cans, is perfectly matched with Smokin’ Grill BBQ’s tasting plates with coleslaw and crisps. The smoky and rich depth behind the brisket and pork, is perfectly balanced to Little Dove’s full-bodied bitterness and tropical hop character. Little Dove is a Champion Australian Beer with a huge aroma of tropical nectar from pineapple to passionfruit to guava. The sweetness from the tropical character is perfectly balanced by robust bitterness.


Ballistic Beer Co ‘Revelation IPA’ & Happy’s Hotbird Bao


Ballistic Beer Co’s ‘Revelation IPA’ is the only way to wash down a feed of Happy’s Hotbird Bao. The ‘Revelation IPA’ is super hoppy with a real ‘in your face flavour’, which when paired with the spice of Happy’s juicy Hotbird, you’ll get an explosion of flavours with every sip & bite. With an all Australian, locally sourced hop bill, this brew really highlights to the world what the Aussies are capable of. At 6.5% ABV, expect to enjoy a balanced yet firm bitter fruit bowl of pineapple, mango & apricot. The perfect pairing to the zingy & succulent Hotbird Bao.