About Me

Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
In 2012 I moved back to my home town of Ballarat in Victoria, Australia. Join me as I re-discover Ballarat, one of Victoria's largest inland cities, famous for the Goldfields. You may be a resident, tourist or new comer to Ballarat. I hope to provide you with useful information about Ballarat as I re-discover my home town. I will also provide information on places which are a short drive from Ballarat. So residents and visitors come and discover Ballarat with me.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Liquid Gold - Ballarat Beer Festival 19th January 2013

Okay, I have a question for you.

What is a person with Coeliac Disease (me) who cannot drink beer (which contains gluten) doing at the Ballarat Beer Festival?

Drinking Gluten Free Beer of course!

It was such a please to be invited and given two free tickets by Jedo to review the Ballarat Beer Festival for you all.

Ballarat gave us blue skies and hot weather for this year's festival. Attended by an estimated 10,000 people according to media reports, this sure was one hot ticket on Ballarat's summer calendar.

Accompanied by my husband Nick (Chief Beer Taster), my two children and friend Serena, our first stop at the festival was the Kids Zone! There was a ticketing system in place for face painting by Breeze Play & Parties, as it was very popular with the kiddies. My son Sean wanted a 'Python' painted on his face (as you do!) and the lady painted a green snake beautifully. He loved it!

 Eating Paella.

As it was almost lunchtime, the hunger kicked in.  There was a large array of tents filled with food of many different varieties.  I was impressed by the choice and credit the festival for their selection of vendors.  For lunch I enjoyed Paella from Simply Spanish.  It was amazing, full of yummy flavour and the service was very friendly.  Plus it was gluten free.

Next Stop!  The Rebellion Brewery is home to Ballarat's very own gluten free O'Brien Beer.  At the festival I met up with John O'Brien, Managing Director of O'Brien Beer.  He gave me the opportunity to try three of their gluten free beers on tap at the festival.

O'Brien Pale Ale -  A fruity sweet beer.  A light refreshment perfect for summer.  My favourite!

O'Brien Light Lager - An Australian style lager, drier and not as sweet as the Pale Ale, with a perfectly balanced bitterness.

O'Brien Brown Ale - Dark in colour and more complex in body, it is a great accompaniment to warm, hearty, winter foods.

The company also produces a barley based beer which is not gluten free named 'The RAT'.  The RAT Bitter Ale is a hark back to the last century where Ballarat Bitter (aka Ballarat Bertie) was the favoured local drop. The RAT Bitter Ale is in the same style as the Ballarat Bitter that has not been regularly produced for more than two decades.

The Rebellion Brewery is now open at 47 Mair Street East, Ballarat.  View the brewing process and enjoy a beer, gluten free or traditional barley based ('The RAT').  Open from 10am (Monday to Friday) and from 11am on weekends and public holidays.

For more information on gluten free beer visit - www.obrienbeer.com.au or their Facebook Page

For more information about the Rebellion Brewery Ballarat or visit their Facebook Page here

 Tasting a drop of O'Brien Beer

The team from O'Brien Beer busy at work.

Over the course of the day, various bands played at the Ballarat Beer Festival including headline act 'The Beards' - local Ballarat Bands 'Gold Fields' and 'Tessa and the Typecast' and other music sensations including the 'The Pierce Brothers', 'Royal Jelly Dixieland Band' and the 'Sweethearts'.

 Gold Fields

A favourite part of the day for the family was a visit to the Animal Farm by Fun Farm 2 U   A mobile petting farm, they had piglets, goats, lambs, sheep, rabbits, guinea pigs, ducklings and the like.  Did I mention all of the activities in the Kids Zone were included with your entry ticket?  So no extra payments there! The Ballarat Beer Festival I felt was very family friendly, so don't miss out next year.  Bring the kids along!

 Face Painting followed by Animal Farm
Patting the animals

The crowds gather under the sunny skies

What better way to finish a hot day at the Ballarat Beer Festival than to have a nice Vanilla ice cream from Timboon Fine Ice Cream.  Yummo!  Yes it was gluten free.

So what were my highlights of the Ballarat Beer Festival?  
- Tasting for the very first time, gluten free beer.  I have heard about it and now I had the chance. 
- Watching my son Sean have fun in the kids zone
- Eating yummy food
- The atmosphere.  It was friendly and happy.  I also loved how some people dressed up in the spirit of the festival.  I even saw one groom to be (buck) wearing a pink tutu.  
- Overall, it was a great day out.  The only negative was that burning sun.  Bring your sunscreen next year people, and a hat! 

Thank-you to John O'Brien for assisting me with this blog post and to JP Bolton - Public Relations (www.jppr.com.au) for giving me permission to use the Ballarat Beer Festival Logo.

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