I often get asked by old backpacker friends of mine who now live in different cities in Australia why I would choose to settle in Brisbane. “What’s so great about it?” they’d question. These people are not in the beer world, so trying to explain the excitement of being part of a burgeoning craft scene with arguably the best brewers in Australia, nay, the world, right on our doorstep would probably fall on deaf ears. I can, however, argue the beautiful weather we have here and the advantages that it entails. In no other capital city in Australia (unless you count Darwin as a city) can you comfortably sit on the river, enjoying great food, drinking top beers, and listening to great live acts, in the dead of winter.
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Five Flavours Festival put on by Riverlife. This was the fifth edition of the festival and my inaugural visit. I’ve actually been meaning to get myself down since its inception, but due to either financial or time commitments elsewhere, I’ve never been able to make it down. If you haven’t heard of Five Flavours before, the concept is pretty simple: 5 different items of food, 5 beers from a featured brewery, and 5 great musical acts. The event starts mid-day and goes through most of the day. General admission will get you into the event, as well as 2 drink tickets and a food ticket, with additional tickets purchasable on site. All this, while sitting and listening to some of the best talent Brisbane has to offer and taking in the stunning view from Kangaroo Point, leads to a truly fantastic afternoon.
The food is billed as “Tapas style”, which I generally take to mean “small serving”, so my intentions were to try a bit of everything. However, due to a much larger portion size then I was anticipating, I managed only one item. The Pulled Pepper Beef Roll was topped wonderfully with caramelised onion and a port gravy that rounded the whole dish off wonderfully. I wasn’t able to try the Spicy Buffalo Wings, Tempura Whiting Fillets, Cajun Spiced Pork skewers, or the ice cream, but from the delighted look of patrons around the venue, I could see that it was thoroughly enjoyed. I suggest that if you plan on catching this event, bring a few friends and share a little bit from each other’s plate.
Fortitude Brewing was heading up the libations for this particular event, with the added bonus of a special presentation by Ged Connors on the brewing process of their popular ‘Anzus IPA’. The beers on offer were the above mentioned Anzus, as well as the Summer Light Beer, the Standard Lager, their Golden Ale, and a special release Belgian White with juniper berries, coriander, and orange peel. I’m a big fan of the line-up from the Mount Tamborine brewery, but find that I enjoy it much more on a hot summers day than on a winters afternoon/evening. The special release also didn’t tick all the boxes for me, but the Anzus hit the spot and was a perfect accompaniment to the food and atmosphere.
The Anzus is actually a beer from Fortitude Brewing’s ‘Noisy Minor’ off-shoot, which produces more adventurous beers, such as the Rogan Josh I had earlier in the year. I would have hoped to see a few more of these on the taps. Perhaps a porter or dark ale to round off the taps replacing one of the others would have fit in with the season a bit better. The selection they had though does appeal to a wider audience, and it might be harder to convince the average punter to try an amazing dark over an amazing lager, so I can see the justification. All in all though, a great representation of what good, Queensland beer can be to a lot of patrons that may not have known otherwise.
Keep an eye out for future Five Flavours events on the RiverLife Facebook page, the 5 Flavours Facebook page, or via the 5 Flavours website. I’ll be sure to make an announcement of the next one as well, as I’ll be making sure I attend, so you can keep checking back in here, also. With such a phenomenal event demonstrating the best of what there is to love about Brisbane, it’s worth making the trip down.
I’d like to thank Josh, Dan, and all the Riverlife and Fortitude crew for the invite and for an amazing afternoon!
** edited to add the 5 Flavours Facebook page link**