Thousands attend the third Ballarat Beer Festival

A SEA of golden sombreros made their way onto Ballarat City Oval on Saturday.

Some had straw hats, others were wearing their bright yellow lanyard drink holders, but all were in search of one thing – beer. 

Welcome to the Ballarat Beer Festival for 2014, where the food is fresh and the craft beers are cold. 

From 11am the rivers of gold began to flow from the 31 micro brewers located on the outskirts of the oval. 

Thousands of locals, Melbournites and even a few international guests made the most of the third annual event. 

Ballarat Beer Festival co-director Simon Coghlan said about 6500 people attended. 

“Its pretty much on par with last year, but we grew the attendance locally and it was a fantastic day,” Mr Coghlan said. 

Mr Coghlan said the event was running close to capacity, but could potentially squeeze in an additional 1500 people before upgrading venues. 

“We could have another 1500 on it, 8000 is the capacity for the space,” he said. 

Mr Coghlan said crowd numbers were affected by V-Line buses replacing train services during the day. 

“They were factors out of our control, but we really felt we lost some of our metro market,” he said. 

Ballarat Police Sgt Maree Purdon said three people were locked up for being drunk in a public place. 

“Other than that, we had no reports of unruly behaviour from the beer festival,” Sgt Purdon said. 

Melbourne visitor and husband-to-be Daryl Tinworth spent the first leg of his buck’s party at the event. 

“We came from Melbourne by bus, we’ve already had about four beers,” he said. 

“We’re planning on lots of beer consumption today and then heading back into the city.” 

With only two weeks until the wedding, his mates Jarryd Bowden and Luke Deery had plenty in store for Daryl. 

“There’s about 24 of us boys down here today, we’ll show him a good time,” Jarryd said. 

Ballarat’s Kate Vanderploeg had never been to the Beer Festival before and decided to make a day of it.

“We live just around the corner and we’ve never been,” Kate said. 

“So we brought the family along and made a day of it.” 

Expert beer information sessions were held in the Eureka Marquee throughout the afternoon, with discussions from beer educator Pete Mitcham, Dr Charles (Chuck) Hahn and chef Stefano De Pieri.