Ballarat Beer Festival to be held in January

MOVE over Oktoberfest — Ballarat is about to get its taste of the beer necessities of life.Organisers of the inaugural Ballarat Beer Festival say they plan to make the city a beer lover’s mecca, with the January 21 event to combine boutique and craft beers, local food and live entertainment. Tickets for the event, to be held at the City Oval, will go on sale this week. Festival participants can taste-test new beers, learn about the beer-making process, and sample local food and wine. Behind the plan are local hoteliers Simon Coghlan and Tim Kearney, who have joined forces with festival directors Lyndell Pond and Kate Burrows Mr Coghlan, who runs the Golden City Hotel, is the great-great-grandson of Ballarat Brewing Company founder James Coghlan. “Beer and Ballarat are two things I am very passionate about,” he said.“Australia has some great boutique beers that deserve to be celebrated and Ballarat’s ties to the industry make it the perfect place to put on a festival to do that.” The event will also feature appearances by comedians Charlie Pickering and Danny McGinlay and beer expert Kirrily Waldhorn. Organisers are seeking as many as 30 micro and craft breweries to participate in the event.Ballarat Regional Tourism director George Sossi said his organisation had worked closely with the festival directors for six months. “It is an exciting addition to the Ballarat calendar, especially given the control the organisers are placing on the event. “They are keen to ensure it is not a drink-athon, and that it adds to the variety of events the city already hosts,” Mr Sossi said. Mr Sossi said he expected crowd numbers to grow in following years, with the event providing a point of difference to other summer festivals. University of Ballarat brewing lecturer Peter Aldred said the festival was well placed in the city, which “is home to the most prestigious brewing program in the country”. The university conducts the Australian International Beer Awards in partnership with the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria. “We welcome anything that highlights and promotes quality brewing within our region,” he said.