Renowned international craft brewers and their leading Australian counterparts will showcase their beers at the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular 2013 (GABS), set for May in Melbourne.
The inaugural GABS event was held in Melbourne last year, with a crowd of close to 11,000 attending. Sixty brewers from across Australia and New Zealand created unique beers with ingredients such as chocolate, chilli, Ethiopian coffee beans, Earl Grey tea, rose petals, watermelon, rum and beetroot.
The organisers, Steve Jeffares and Guy Greenstone of The Local Taphouse, have announced that this year's event has almost doubled in size, with up to 100 exclusive, new release brews to be available.
This year there will see an even stronger Australian contingent with as many as 80 breweries showcasing their own creative brews including Feral Brewing (WA), Mornington Peninsula Brewery (VIC), Bridge Road Brewers (VIC), Murray's Brewery (NSW) and Wig & Pen (ACT).
Kiwi brewers including Yeastie Boys, 8 Wired and Garage Project will also be in attendance, as well as world- renowned craft breweries like Sierra Nevada Brewing Co (USA), Brooklyn Brewery (USA), Thornbridge Brewery (UK), Birra del Borgo (Italy), Mikkeller (Denmark), Camden Town Brewery (UK), Baird Brewery (Japan), Nøgne Ø (Norway) and Moylan's Brewery (USA).
Jeffares said other changes this year will mean much quicker access to beer at busy times and better opportunities to meet brewers.
"This year will see a 'Beer Market' for the first time, where up to 60 breweries and industry related businesses can showcase their products and visitors to the event can meet and talk to some of the brewers behind the beers," he said.
"It also means another way to access a great beer, minimising waiting time at the main shipping container bars, which have also been re-designed."
Greenstone said the hall itself, with a setting for up to four thousand people per session, also offers a new experience this year.
"We'll be transforming the World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building into a grand beer hall again, but with the addition of the bustling Beer Market and food stalls now coming inside there's even better ways of sampling and appreciating all the beers with your partner, friends or family."