Great Australian Beer Festival
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Great Australian Beer Festival

Beer has long been a mechanism to bring people together, to serve as the glue of sorts to bind even the most unlikely acquaintances. This effect came into play when David Neitz, ex-captain and football player at Melbourne, met Barney Matthews, Michael Jontef and Julie Hancock.

“We all essentially got to know each other through drinking beer with friends. Then we started drinking beer with each other and from there we had a few discussions around doing beer and slowly that broad discussion turned into action,” he says of the groups decision to create Brewmanity.

The idea that blossomed within the group soon took shape, and Brewmanity was founded in October of last year: a beer brand that looks at making delicious beverages with a little extra something in it for those in need.

“We sort of launched it with a fundraising event called Brewmanity Hour – which did fantastic for us. We ended up raising over 40,000 for the Cure for MND Foundation, which is a great start, and so far we’ve poured over 20,000 days of fresh drinking water for communities in need,” David says with an optimism in his voice for the future.

“So we’re ticking the boxes of what we want to do in that perspective and the beer is getting into people’s hands and they seem to be enjoying it, so it’s all ticking along very well.”

With each pot purchased a glass of clean water is poured overseas to countries in need, thanks to the Big1 global initiative. As for MND, David’s awareness and urge to help in any way he could arose from the relationship with his former coach Neale Daniher who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2013.

“[It comes in part from] understanding what he’s going through and the time he’s dedicated to the MND foundation in finding a cure and helping people that are suffering from MND. He’s been through a hell of a lot of work on that, so we’re also keen on helping what he’s doing,” David says.

Brewmanity do things differently, and it has quickly become a quarterstone of what the company is all about – that and making top quality beer. Something that you can both support and enjoy at the Great Australian Beer Festival.

And where there’s beer, fun comes along with it in bucket loads. For GABF, that fun comes in the form of the second annual keg rolling competition, the only competition of its kind that’s held on an actual racetrack. Brewers from around the country compete for the title, and David Neitz is one such man looking to roll that tin barrel across the finish line.

“My fitness isn’t what it once was, so it’ll be interesting to see if I can get to the finish line in one piece,” he laughs, referring to his days playing football for over a decade.

“I’ve had a lot of experience rolling kegs around but I’m not sure whether it’s going to put me in good stead or not for this race.”

Regardless of whether he crosses the line first or last, there’s no doubt there’ll be a cold one waiting for him at the finish line. And once he’s finished that glass, there’ll be close to 200 others to try.

Each year the festival sees thousands of beer lovers and brewers make the pilgrimage from across the country to the Geelong Racecourse to take pleasure in over 200 Australian and international brews, learn more about beer itself at seminars and masterclasses, dine in on some of the finest food trucks from the region and be entertained by live music across two stages as well as visual art displays and cabaret.

A few of the musicians performing on the day will be; Woodlock, the Settlement, Revolution, Izzy Losi and the Auracles, Imogen Brough, The New Savages, Jack the Fox, Ukes D’Jour, Josh Cashman, Dave Simony and more.

Along with thousands of fellow attendees, and in between each Brewmanity beer poured, David will be reveling in the moments where he gets to throw back a few with friends. After all, that’s how the Brewmanity journey began.

“I think it’s about enjoying each others company and having a smile and a laugh and generally enjoying life. That’s what it’s all about,” he says of the Great Australian Beer Festival.

If you’d like to purchase tickets or find out more, visit the website on http://www.gabfgeelong.com.au/.

Written by Amanda Sherring

When & Where: Great Australian Beer Festival @ Geelong Racecourse, Geelong – February 6

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