Excitement filled the air as a very crowded McMahon Street in Willoughby came alive with the activity hundreds of craft beer-drinking enthusiasts sampling beers from 15 craft brewers.
McMahon Street was closed to traffic as part of the Willoughby Spring Festival. Stalls of each beer company lined the footpath opposite the hotel, a crowd filled the road, drinking beer and listening to the set of the band.
The sunny spring afternoon made for perfect conditions for a relaxed tasting session, premium Australian and imported beer provided along with some gourmet food options to soak up the beer as required.
Hosted at the iconic North Shore pub; The Willoughby hotel.Established in 1899The Willoughby Hotel has kept its impressive, old-Australian style over the last 115 years. The big hotel is kitted out with a large open font bar and numerous other rooms for relaxed drinking and bistro dining, plus a great wrap-around varandah upstairs which is ideal for people-watching.
However, the action was out on the street today, as crowds moved constantly among the stalls of different companies.
Beer companies such as Cascade, Coopers and Matilda Bay presented selections of their personal produce, but it was the smaller, lesser-known companies that were the most impressive and diversely spread.
Brewers such as Australian Draught, Mountain Goat, Monteiths Cider and Stone Wood kept their selection on ice for the keen tasters to sample.
Very reasonably priced, $25 gave participants 10 tokens and a small cup to taste the beers presented.
A diverse range of ales made up a large portion of the beer varieties, as the brewers probably wished to present their most refreshing beverages on such a warm afternoon.
Lagers, Pilsners and wine and cider were also among the selection but a range of Indian Pale Ales and Golden Ales were the general and most common option.
Milling around in the street, the crowd would either move amongst the many stalls or find a seat on tables provided with hay bails as seats. A rustic theme was sought after by the hotel to better give the feeling of a real Australian Beer Drinking Spectacle.
Whole families were in attendance with a Shrek jumping castle, face painting and mini petting zoo at the opposite end of the street from the main stage. On stage a band provided some relaxing music for the crowd and became the focal point of the event.
As a promotional opportunity for the craft brewers, patrons could have their fill of test glasses as long as their 10 coupons covered it. Beyond that point they could buy full size schooners of any bear they had enjoyed, and could order 6-packs and cases of brews from each company for later home delivery.
A very successful and entertaining event characterised the first sunny Sunday afternoon of spring, the Willoughby Hotel putting on a fantastic affair.
Keep an eye out for this annual event as it is a good time to be had by all involved. Cold ales in the sun along with good music and a selection of foods.
What more could anyone ask for?